• 1-800-123-789
  • info@webriti.com

Category ArchiveHotels

Selina Targets LA as Key to US Expansion

Selina, a hybrid hospitality and lifestyle company that has made a name for itself in Latin America, is eyeing California as the next major region where it wants to set up shop.

Billing itself as one part WeWork, one part Burning Man, the platform buys existing hotel properties and, in addition to the usual amenities, like housekeeping and food and beverage services, offers wellness and classes, from foreign language instruction to surfing and lessons (depending on the locale) geared toward, the “digital nomad, family on vacation, adventurous backpacker, or surfer looking for paradise.”

co selina3 Selina Targets LA as Key to US Expansion
Selina bills itself as one-part WeWork. Courtesy of Selina.

“There shouldn’t be a differentiation between one-star, three-star and five-star offerings. Someone coming with a backpack could stay and afford it … [and] somebody that wants to travel for $200 and $300 a night can stay as well and everybody is going to be dressed the same and interact in the common area,” Steven O’Hayon, the head of business development at Selina, told Commercial Observer in an exclusive interview outlining the company’s West Coast plans. “That was the initial vision of the whole model we were building. The goal was to eliminate all the language that a traditional hotel uses and create a product for an entire generation of people that doesn’t really matter what social class they come from, but how they see the world and how they want to live their life.”

For a company focused on such a Kumbaya vision of travel and leisure, its business development plans are extremely Type A. Founded in 2015, Selina currently operates 22 properties in Latin America and the Caribbean and plans on opening around 15 additional ones in the next year. Current locations Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Mexico and range from the urban setting of Mexico City to the rainforests of Costa Rica. Each Selina property has between 150 and 500 beds, with nightly prices ranging from $100 to $500.

By 2020, Selina hopes to have over 54,000 operating beds across the world and has set its sights on the U.S. and Europe for ongoing expansion efforts.

coselinasteven Selina Targets LA as Key to US Expansion
“There shouldn’t be a differentiation between one-star, three-star and five-star offerings,” says Steve O’Hayon. Courtesy of Selina.

Selina will open its first U.S. property at the historic Tower Hotel in Little Havana in Miami this September. As the Miami Herald reported last week, it will be the area’s first boutique hotel. The Barlington Group, which owns several properties in the neighborhood, partnered with Selina in order to redevelop the property to appeal to the public’s growing desire for experiential travel as well as social connection—not of the digital kind—by becoming part of the Selina “tribe.”

The variations within Los Angeles and the Golden State are a major draw for Selina, which is headquartered in Manhattan. Currently scouting locations in hipster-haven Silverlake, quirky Venice, urbane West Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles, Selina is aiming to open four or five locations in the metropolitan area. Further down the road? Expansion into diverse regions the state is known for, from the deserts of Joshua Tree to winegrowing regions up the coast.

“We see California as being the most supportive market for us in the U.S.,” O’Hayon said. In the next five years, its goal is to have “8,000 to 10,000 beds in the state.”

“L.A. has become our base for that, so we are initially scouting locations in L.A. to build up a strong presence and conjoining everything together,” he said. “We can have a surf experience in Venice, and a really cool creative experience in L.A. and then in San Francisco something different.”

Source: commercial

As Regulators Close in, Anbang Claims It Will Retain International Holdings

Anbang Insurance Group, the Chinese insurance holding company that owns the Waldorf Astoria, Essex House and a dozen other U.S. hotels, said today that it will stand by its international investments even after the Chinese government seized control of the company last week.

“We will continue to be committed to our overseas subsidiaries’ business and investment, and will provide necessary support to their healthy development,” a spokesman for the company said, as per Reuters.

The government’s takeover prompted speculation that Anbang—one of China’s largest insurance companies—would be forced to sell some of its international assets, billions of dollars of which it purchased on a buying spree that has spanned three continents over the last five years. And The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the Chinese government is already entertaining buyers’ offers for parts of Anbang’s portfolio.

It wasn’t immediately clear how Anbang would be able to retain its investments.

After Anbang’s chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was detained in China in June 2017 on suspicion of economic crimes (and indicted last week), the government asked Anbang to sell off overseas assets and to bring the proceeds back home. At the time, Anbang said it had “no plans to sell its overseas assets at the moment” and that it had “ample cash and abundant ability to pay back” its obligations.

The government agency that will control Anbang until at least February 2019, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, is in the midst of a broader crackdown on offshore investments. Last month, China’s official news outlet reported that CIRC will “put a brake on” insurers’ overseas spending on “real estate, hotels, cinemas and entertainment” beginning on April 1. (That decree appears to fall short of an outright ban, however: investment in casinos, by contrast, will be fully prohibited.)

The government news report, from the government-run media company Xinhua, tied risky overseas spending unrelated to the core insurance business to Chinese insurers’ rising premiums, saying that such spending does not “serve the real economy.”

As of last Friday, Anbang’s three-year, $2 billion gut renovation with AECOM Tishman, including a project to turn some rooms into condominiums, appeared to proceed uninterrupted. Blackstone sold the Waldorf to Anbang in 2014 for just shy of $2 billion, but Bloomberg reported this month that the private-equity giant has been talking to the Chinese insurer about buying back the famed hotel. A source familiar with the company told Commercial Observer today that such a move would be highly unlikely.

In addition to its American real estate holdings, Anbang owns high-profile real estate in Canadian cities, as well as European and Korean insurance firms.

Wu, who is married to a granddaughter of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, became a billionaire running Anbang since its founding in 2004. His legal trouble throws the insurer’s international holdings into particular uncertainty, because media reports describe him as the sole mastermind behind the Waldorf and Essex House acquisitions, as well as Anbang’s failed $13 billion bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016.

And it is an especially bad time to be arrested for public crimes in China. A law enacted last week expands the Communist Party’s abilities to detain those it suspects of abusing power even as it continues to investigate their alleged crimes.

“This recent change reflects, among other considerations, the party’s paranoid fear of serious weakening by corruption and its deep commitment to control over Chinese society,” Mercy Kuo, the president of the Washington State China Relations Council, wrote in a column in The Diplomat, a website devoted to Asian foreign affairs.

A representative for Blackstone declined to comment, as did a spokesman for AECOM. No one from Anbang was immediately reachable due to the time difference.


Source: commercial

Hell’s Kitchen Doubletree Sells for $106M

A real estate investment trust based in Singapore has picked up the Doubletree Hotel at 341 West 36th Street for $106 million, according to records filed with the city today. The sale closed on Aug. 16.

The buyer is Ascott Residence Trust, a division of CapitaLand Limited, one of Asia’s largest real estate companies, according to the company’s website. The property is a 25-story, 224-key hotel between Eighth and Ninth Avenues that was constructed in 2007.

Ascott has also taken out a $65.4 million mortgage from Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, public records show, along with a promissory note for $7.48 million.

Magna Hospitality, the seller, purchased the 81,000-square-foot hotel in 2012 for $82.5 million, according to New York City Department of Finance filings. Neither the buyer nor the seller immediately responded to requests for comment.

Ascott also owns two other Manhattan hotels—the Element Times Square West at 311 West 39th Street (also between Eighth and Ninth Avenues) and the Sheraton Tribeca New York at 370 Canal Street.

Source: commercial

Deutsche Bank Provides $36M Acquisition Loan on $55M Royalton Hotel Buy

Source: commercial