Yesterday, Hotel Management met up with Bill Walshe, the new (as of July) CEO at Viceroy Hotel Group, who talked about some upcoming developments for the brand.
While the bulk of the 16 hotels spread across the Viceroy and Urban Retreats brands are focused largely in the Americas and the Caribbean, the company is expanding its borders, Walshe said. A year ago, the company rebranded the former Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi as the Yas Viceroy, Viceroy’s first international property outside of the Caribbean or Mexico. The hotel got a new lobby, and will get plenty of exposure next month when the 2012 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix races right under the building.
The next big openings will be in Turkey, with the Viceroy Istanbul slated to open in late 2013 and the Viceroy Bodrum (pictured) scheduled for 2014 or possibly 2015. The former will have 10 buildings spread across 16 acres of land for 58 guest accommodations. The latter is in what Walshe calls a “hip, cool” destination that is getting the “upscale South-of-France crowd.” (Walsh noted that a W Hotel has already opened in Bodrum.)
Viceroy is also looking west from its current Europe and Middle Eastern holdings, and Walshe said that the company is examining opportunities in major markets like London, Paris Milan and Barcelona as well as some smaller emerging markets. “Europe is a market for expansion with many barriers,” he said. “We’re looking for the back door.”