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European Hotel Transactions 2003 – Belgium, Netherlands&Scandinavia – Country Analysis by Philippa Bock&Bernard Forster


Historically, the Belgian hotel investment market has been relatively illiquid, due to an oversupply of hotels and relatively weak trading performance. Despite Brussels’ favourable position as the capital of the EU, the hotel market has deteriorated year-on-year since its peak in 2000. Brussels attracts relatively low levels of leisure demand and, as such, has not been able to compensate for the depressed corporate and meeting markets during the economic slowdown.

Single Asset Transactions in Belgium 1999-03

Investor activity peaked in 2001, with five hotels exchanging hands; however, due to the relatively weak performance of the market in recent years, investors have remained cautious. In 2003, Pandox, the Swedish hotel investment company, purchased the 356-room Crowne Plaza Hotel for approximately €32 million from NH Hoteles. Due to the forthcoming enlargement of the EU, and the economic recovery of the Eurozone, the Brussels market is likely to recover, with an increase in investor activity anticipated.

Single Asset Hotel Transactions in Belgium – Average Price per Room Sold 1999-03

The Netherlands

Due to the relatively small size of the Dutch hotel market, the investment market in the Netherlands has largely focused on Amsterdam. In 2003, the city witnessed the sale of the 182-room Sofitel Grand Hotel to Accor for an undisclosed sum. Meanwhile, Pierre et Vacances has completed the sale of the 600-lodge Centre Parcs – Eemhof to the Dutch property company Zeeland Investments Beheer for approximately €90 million.

Three hotels transacted in 2002 following a year of non-activity in 2001, although this includes the Canal Crown Hotel to the operator Carlton Hotel Collection, which is below our threshold of €7.5 million. The two other transactions in Amsterdam comprised the sale of the 243-room Radisson SAS by Nordisk Renting, a Swedish property investor, to a UK property company, Capital Income Trust Consortium, for €40 million (€165,000 per room) and the 26-room Blakes Hotel for €18.5 million to the private hotel operator the Stein Group.

Single Asset Transactions in The Netherlands 1999-03

In terms of portfolio activity, Golden Tulip announced its participation in the shareholding of a new company called EuroTulip Hospitality Management, in which it holds a 20% stake. The transaction involved the takeover of the lease agreements of the six former Euroease hotels, comprising 557 rooms, all of which are located in regional cities within the Netherlands.

Single Asset Hotel Transactions in The Netherlands – Average Price per Room Sold 1999-03


The Scandinavian market has been particularly challenging in 2002 and 2003. The region is dominated predominantly by a few major corporate companies, such as Nokia and Ericsson, many of which have undertaken significant corporate cutbacks as a result of the depressed economy and continued uncertainty in the region. Nevertheless, despite the difficult trading conditions and the limited number of international visitors to the region, there has been a steady exchange of single asset hotels throughout 2002 and 2003.

Single Asset Transactions in Scandinavia 1998-03

HVS has recorded five hotels transacting in 2003, with all investment activity limited to Sweden, at a total investment value of €151 million. HVS, together with DTZ, acted as agents for the sale of the 242-room Scandic Hotel Opalen in Gothenburg, which was acquired by a Swedish property company, Lansberg Forvaltning AB, and partner Hospitium AB for approximately €16.5 million. The hotel was sold with a lease agreement in place to Hilton.

Other transactions included the 184-room Quality Hotel 11 in Gothenburg, by Choice Hotels Scandinavia, who consequently sold the hotel on to a consortium of investors, led by the Norwegian company Anker Holding, for approximately €31 million; the Nordic Light and Nordic Sea hotels were acquired by a Norwegian insurance company for approximately €63 million and Pandox, the Swedish hotel investment company, acquired the 196-room Scandic Hotel Swania for approximately €10 million.

Single Asset Hotel Transactions in Scandinavia – Average Price per Room Sold 1998-03

Although no portfolio activity can match that of the Hilton acquisition of Scandic in 2001, there have been various activities at the operational level worthy of mention. Firstly, Rezidor SAS Hospitality announced the introduction of its mid-market Park Inn brand with the addition of 14 hotels in Sweden, through signing a franchise agreement with Software Hotels. Certain Radisson SAS properties have also been rebranded to the Park Inn brand, including the former Radisson SAS Globetrotter hotel in Copenhagen. Meanwhile, Ramada International Hotels & Resorts, a division of Marriott International, is understood to have signed a master franchise agreement with Sweden hotels AB of Stockholm, which will result in the conversion of 60 Swedish Hotels into Ramada International properties. This is likely to have a positive impact on the presence and brand awareness of the US-based operator in Scandinavia.

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