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Staying small

August 11, 2007 10:01 by

JJW Hotels & Resorts is part of an international group with a gross asset value of $1.7 billion whose business interests are in acquisition, development and operation of hotels and resorts in prime locations throughout Europe and the Middle East. So says the company’s website; a general enough overview, the detail of the strategy is perhaps now becoming clearer.

The company has just paid around $140m for the UK’s Eton Collection, giving it five upmarket boutique hotels across London, Leeds and Edinburgh. As JJW already owns The Scotsman hotel in Edinburgh and 42 The Calls in Leeds, another two premier city center hotels, it would appear the company is going for the small-and-exclusive sector of the market.

Brandchannel says boutique hotels should adhere to three rules:

Rule 1: A boutique hotel doesn’t feel big. Rule 2: A boutique hotel doesn’t feel part of a chain. Rule 3: A boutique hotel doesn’t feel traditional.

Add JJW’s boutique purchases to its already established luxury division (run under the JJW Luxury Collection name and including the Grand Hotel Wien in Vienna and The Berners Hotel, London) and you have a hotel group that doesn’t appear to be a hotel group.

The company’s origins are in resort development, owning the Pinheiros Altos golf and residential resort in Portugal. Plans for this luxury resort include the addition of a world class 27 hole championship golf course.

While there could be scope to replicate this kind of resort in the Middle East, the region, though enjoying a hotel building boom, lacks a strong network of city center boutique properties. There are various types of Jumeirah or Hilton (beach or city), but precious view upmarket 20-room properties.

With its experience in this sector this could be an in for JJW. The company already operates two 40-room, deluxe cruisers on the Nile. Expect land operations across the Middle East shortly.

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