IHG Acquires 13 Upscale Hotels In The UK (To Become Kimptons & InterContinentals)

Filed Under: Hotels, IHG Rewards

Several weeks ago IHG announced that they were acquiring a 51% stake in Regent Hotels, and now they’ve announced a further acquisition of properties.

InterContinental Hotels Group has entered into a conditional agreement with Foncière des Régions to rebrand and operate 13 of their hotels in the UK. With this acquisition, IHG will have over 2,000 additional hotel rooms in the UK.

This deal includes the following 13 hotels, 12 of which are already in operation, and one of which is in the pipeline:

  • The Principal London
  • The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square
  • The Principal Edinburgh George Street
  • The Principal Met Hotel (Leeds)
  • The Principal York
  • De Vere Oxford Thames
  • The Grand Birmingham (pipeline)
  • The Principal Manchester
  • The Principal Blythswood Square (Glasgow)
  • The Principal Grand Central (Glasgow)
  • The Principal St David’s (Cardiff)
  • The Principal Oxford Spires
  • De Vere Wotton House

IHG says they plan to brand these properties in one of three ways — as InterContinentals, as Kimptons, or as a new independent hotel brand (more on that below). It’s great to see more InterContinentals coming to the UK, and also to see the first Kimpton in the UK, and only the second Kimpton in Europe (after Amsterdam).

As part of this announcement, IHG has also revealed that they’re introducing a new upscale hotel brand, which will be launched later this year. They plan to brand some of the new hotel additions as this. Here’s how IHG describes this new brand:

The brand, principally focused on conversion opportunities, will capitalise on the significant opportunity IHG has identified to offer consumers an informal but differentiated experience in the upscale segment, whilst offering owners a strong return on investment.  These hotels will provide high-quality representation for the brand in IHG’s largest market within the Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA) region, where it will initially be launched.

It sounds like IHG will be launching an independent hotel brand, like Tribute Portfolio for Starwood, Curio Collection for Hilton, Autograph Collection for Marriott, etc.

The press release suggests that these hotels may only be rebranded in 1-2 years time, so don’t necessarily expect that we’ll be able to redeem points at them anytime soon.

This is an exciting addition to the IHG portfolio. The way I see it, IHG has long lagged in the upscale market, since their biggest strength is with limited service properties. Seeing them introduce more upscale properties — especially those with some charm — is a positive development.

Are you excited at the prospect of staying at any of these hotels once rebranded?

  1. I travel to Edinburgh twice a year so this is an exciting development. I’ve tested every chain property so it’s nice to see new ones.

  2. some of these hotels have literally just opened (Principal London, Manchester, Edi) so this must be a nightmare for the brand/marketing teams! Coming from a marketing manager…

  3. @ Ben — Awesome! So glad to see some grand, old upscale ICs coming to new locations. Yay!

  4. Another good acquisition. Maybe they’ll go for Eurostars Hotels next; some really nice ones in that group, especially in Spain, Italy and Portugal.

  5. Great news. I was just thinking yesterday how IHG needs more upscale hotels the likes of the Luxury Collection and this will just do it.

  6. I just returned from the Kimpton Amsterdam. I was very disappointed in my stay as an IHG Gold.

  7. The Principal London was until recently the Russell Hotel. I had booked there twice and both times ended up switching reservations to other London properties for various reasons, but always wanted to stay here at some point. Its a beautiful Victorian building, and with it joining the IHG family, I will take advantage of my IHG points to finally stay here.

  8. @Barry You dodged a bullet there, despite the beautiful building the Russell was a dump, barely even cleaned since the 60s. I’m glad someone has taken it on because, as you say, it’s a beautiful building.

  9. The Russell / Principal also has some of the tiniest bedrooms I have ever seen – even the one bed in the smallest room looked narrower than a standard *single* bed. Breathtakingly claustrophobic, but not correspondingly cheap.

    London prices. Pffft.

  10. Interesting development. Some of these hotels were part of a small local Thames Valley brand, Four Pillars Hotels, which was purchased by Starwood Capital (once associated with Starwood but now separate) and merged into Principal a couple of years ago.

    Surprised that the De Vere Cotswold Water Park Hotel hasn’t been snapped up by IHG as part of the deal. Would have been perfect for a Crowne Plaza resort (like the Marlow one in Buckinghamshire) and could have proved popular with tourists visiting the Cotswolds from the US.

    Interestingly Starwood Capital have also sold off other hotels recently in the Four Pillars Group. For example the hotel in Abingdon is currently being rebranded as a Hilton Garden Inn by its new owners.

  11. I’m wondering what exactly is the difference between what you call “upscale” and “limited service” properties. Would you consider the Holiday inn brand limited service? What more do you need if you have a nice room with a nice bed and a good breakfast? Is it the building? The restaurant? The pool? The gym that’s always empty? Admittedly the higher I ever went was a Crown Plaza but I always have trouble justifying anything more expensive.

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