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«Mandarin Oriental, soon six hotels in Italy. Focus Sicily and Sardinia»

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«Mandarin Oriental, soon six hotels in Italy.  Focus Sicily and Sardinia»

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The one that Mandarin Oriental will open in Cortina in the coming months in view of the 2026 Olympics will be the first structure in the high mountains, but also the first of a new series of inaugurations that sees Italy at the center of the strategy of the Hong Kong hospitality giant which belongs to the Jardine Matheson Group. In fact, research in our country continues unabated. At the moment the group boasts 36 luxury hotels in 24 countries around the world, with the aim of growing in the coming years especially in Europe.

The Mandarin Oriental hotel reality has put a double strategy of openings in the city and in holiday locations on track for our country to attack a market that still has a lot of potential. There are currently two existing structures, the one in Milan, opened in 2015 in some historic buildings owned by the Statuto group between via Andegari and via Monte di Pietà, and the one on Lake Como, in what was once the Casta Diva hotel in Blevio, completely revisited in 2020.

«Our idea is to double or even triple the number of structures we have today in Italy – says Christoph Mares, global Chief Operating Officer of the brand. Mares, 56 years old, German by birth, boasts 25 years of experience in the world of luxury hospitality. Since 2000 at Mandarin Oriental, he has held senior positions in hotels in London, Paris and Munich. A hiatus in 2008 led him to senior management roles at Emaar Hospitality Group before returning to Mandarin.

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«I travel 20 days a month – he tells Il Sole 24 Ore exclusively – to increase the group’s portfolio, especially in Europe and the Middle East. And for Italy, two announcements will arrive shortly». According to rumors, not confirmed by the owner, one should be the one relating to Rome. Here Merope Asset Management bought the Villini del Rione Sallustiano from Colony Capital for one hundred million euros, which could be the next Italian MO. Ten villas in a centuries-old park, which the company is redeveloping with investments of 80 million euros. «Rome is a destination where we want to be – he explains -. It is certainly a priority, but we are also looking carefully at Florence and Tuscany in general, without forgetting the Costa Smeralda and Sicily. Mares finds the two islands very lively as markets. Do you find there is too much competition? “No, I’d say no,” she says. The idea is to create new structures or enhance the existing one.

In addition to Italy, the focus extends to Spain, Portugal and France. The improvement in performance in 2022 is due to strong occupancy and prices in Europe, the Middle East and Africa: the RevPAR (revenue generated per available room) in these areas rose by 45% on 2021 (564 US dollars), as well as the ‘Adr.

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