Alias “work in progress” as expansion continues


Hotel group LHM has unveiled widening pre-tax losses as it continues its ambitious expansion programme to triple the size of its Alias hotels chain.Pre-tax losses for the year to the end of December were £1.5m, compared with £751,000 at the same point last year. But turnover for the year was £10.9m, against £6.5m last time around.

Chairman Nicholas Dickinson stressed last year had been very much a “work in progress” as LHM looked to expand the Alias brand and disposed of its interest in the family-oriented Luxury Family Hotels group, which has been spun off as a stand-alone operation.LHM intends to expand from five to 15 hotels over the next five years. During the year it opened the 71-bedroom Alias Hotel Seattle on Brighton Marina.

It is in varying stages of negotiation on sites in Bristol, Plymouth, Cardiff, Poole and Southampton and is looking at a further seven or eight locations.Of its existing Alias hotels, the 48-bedroom Kandinsky in Cheltenham reported rises in occupancy from 79% to 81%, in average room rate from £71 to £76, and in rooms yield from £56 to £62.

The 46-bedroom Barcelona in Exeter reported occupancy up from 80% to 83%, room rate up from £65 to £75. and rooms yield improving to £62 from £52.Occupancy at the 61-room Rossetti in Manchester was up from 47% to 59%, average room rate rose from £73 to £87 and rooms yield was up from £34 to £51.

Although there were obviously no comparisons with the year before, the Seattle reported occupancy of 65%, average room rate of £86 and rooms yield of £56. The group is set to open its fifth hotel, the 70-bedroom St Louis in Liverpool, early next year and is in advanced talks to buy a 64-bedroom new-build hotel in London.

The expansion programme and extra operating costs meant that the administration bill shot up, to £2.8m compared with £350,000 the year before, while the interest on bank borrowings also rose sharply, to £7.7m.

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