InterConti reveals school hotel plans

InterContinental has signed a letter of understanding with Empresas Bern to open the Holiday Inn Hotel and School Panama Canal at the City of Knowledge in Panama.The hotel and school, which in its initial phase will have 110 rooms, will be the first educational institution for InterContinental Hotels Group Latin America.

The City of Knowledge, where the hotel and school will be located, is an international complex for education, research, and innovation. There, students can find opportunities to help transform innovative ideas into tangible realities. The city’s mission is to harmonize education, human spirit and promote personal growth and business opportunities. The Holiday Inn Hotel and School Panama Canal will help the city with its mission by becoming a major educational innovation for the hotel industry in Latin America. The idea originated earlier this year by Empresas Bern and with Jorge Arosemena, Director of the City of Knowledge, in conjunction with InterContinental Hotels Group Latin America.

“I am thrilled that so many years of working together with Empresas Bern have brought us to where we are today,” says Alvaro Diago, Area President of InterContinental Hotels Group Latin America. “This is a truly novel idea for us and I’m confident that it will make a major contribution to the hotel industry in Panama and throughout Latin America.”

The Holiday Inn Hotel and School Panama Canal at City of Knowledge will completely transform hotel education and the landscape within the hospitality industry, so that it reflects the needs of future travelers as well as the evolving Holiday Inn brand’s main practice and stringent standards.

IHG has also been a major supporter of the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management at the University of Memphis, and has created a scholarship fund for women and minority students, as well as established an InterContinental Hotels Group Chair of Excellence for the Wilson School. The gift also allows the group to honor the memory of Holiday Inn founder and industry pioneer Kemmons Wilson, who opened the first Holiday Inn hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1952.


The Holiday Inn Hotel and School Panama Canal at the City of Knowledge will feature state-of-the-art learning spaces for the school’s hospitality program, such as a lecture hall, several classrooms, group study/meeting rooms, a computer center and an auditorium for large classroom lectures. The school will be set near the Panama Canal where students can enjoy the dramatic views of the Canal, the beautiful countryside and rainforest. Additionally, the existing homes located on the premises will be renovated and some will be used for extended stay purposes and others for student housing.

The hotel and school is slated for completion around mid 2008. The school will provide management-level instruction in the full range of hospitality disciplines for the next generation of leaders of the hospitality industry.

This alliance will be the fourth for IHG and Empresas Bern, which developed, and also owns, the most recently opened InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa, and two mixed-use complexes that include the Miramar InterContinental Panama and the Crowne Plaza Panama, in Panama City. This will also be the third IHG brand (of which respected hotel brands include InterContinental(R) Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express(R), Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites and Hotel Indigo) and the fourth IHG property in Panama.

“IHG is a prestigious global company—its standards and all of its brands lend unparalleled global recognition,” says Herman Bern, Owner of Empresas Bern. “Also, my company, Empresas Bern, has extensive experience in the hospitality industry and has been involved in a variety of developments in Panama, and when two companies like that are working together on a project, the sky is the limit.”

“Herman (Bern) has always been a man of great visions,” adds Diago. “And I feel that this is the most pioneering venture that Empresas Bern has been involved in to date.”

“We are confident that the hotel and school will earn international acclaim,” concludes Jorge Arosemena, Director of the City of Knowledge.

InterContinental has also been nominated this year for a


World Travel Award as World’s Leading Hotel Brand.