• Kennedie to launch new brand

Hans Kennedie, former CEO of Golden Tulip Hospitality, is to launch a new hotel brand, Spirit Inn & Suites, with the first hotel due to open in 2011 in Zaandam, near Amsterdam.

Kennedie, who became an independent senior adviser to Starwood Capital after its acquisition of the Golden Tulip and Tulip Inn brands, is now president and CEO of Swiss International Hospitality Commons, which is launching the brand through its Heal & Partners services and management company.

Further expansion of Spirit Inn & Suites is planned for the coming year in the Netherlands, Britain, Germany and Switzerland.

The Spirit Inns will be associated with Swiss International Hotels, the hotel marketing and reservations consortium which is also part of Swiss International Hospitality Commons, which was created in June through the combination of the two groups.

The move is a new foray for Swiss International Hotels, which was founded in 1980 as a representation company for hotels in Europe, in the Middle East and in North America, currently standing at 48 members.

Although the group markets hotels in the luxury sector, this is its first move into the mid-market and its first brand. For Kennedie, this is more familiar ground after Golden Tulip and Tulip Inn. 

Kennedie said: "From many sides we heard the remark that it was time for new brand in the mid-market segment. A product where the guest is truly at home, where the guest will move about freely, ordering what and when he or she wants it. That's exactly what we have combined in the mix of Spirit Inn."

The idea of guests in a home-from-home calls to mind the extended stay sector and Spirit Inns will include 20 apartments for longer stays, in addition to 82 standard rooms.

The first hotel will be owned and developed by Trinca, which acquired the building in 2009, and is reported to have originally planned to open a hotel with Golden Tulip Hospitality on the site, MD Arend-Klaas Kramer commenting that they had known Kennedie and his team for a couple of years.

Meanwhile, Kennedie is this month due to appear in a Swiss court alongside Starwood Capital. An owner of hotel in Bulgaria is in dispute over a Golden Tulip contract signed prior to the brand passing into Starwood Capital's hands.

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