Rocco Forte Hotels has announced its latest new property of the year following the signing of an agreement to acquire Grand Hotel Villa Igiea, in Palermo, Sicily.
This acquisition is a further step in the most ambitious expansion programme in the group’s history, with five new luxury properties due to open within the next two years bringing the Rocco Forte Hotels collection from 11 to 16 properties.
Four of the new properties will be located in Italy and one in China.
The Italy openings include the Hotel de la Ville, Rome, opening in May 2019; Masseria Torre Maizza, Puglia, opening in May 2019; Rocco Forte House, Rome, opening in September 2019; and Grand Hotel Villa Igiea, Palermo, Sicily, opening in 2020.
In China, the group will be opening the Westbund Hotel in Shanghai in 2019.
Over the last 22 years, Rocco Forte and his family have built and nurtured a group of prestigious, iconic hotels, all of which rank regularly at the top of the world’s leading hospitality awards.
With 11 existing hotels in Belgium, Russia, the UK, Germany, Italy and the Middle East, the group’s expansion plans are the first stage of a longer-term strategy to extend its network of hotels across Europe and key destinations around the world.
The expansion programme, the biggest since the group was founded by Forte in 1996, builds on record financial results for the year ended in April, with revenues exceeding £200 million.
The group’s winning strategy and positive results have attracted a number of strong international financial partners keen to support the ongoing development of the brand.
Rocco Forte Hotels’ core partner Cassa Depositi Prestiti of Italy acquired a 23 per cent shareholding for £60 million in 2015 and is a strong supporter of Italian development.
Lloyds’ Bank of Scotland has solidly supported Rocco Forte Hotels for 21 years and has recently agreed a new ten-year debt facility for £158 million.
Forte commented on the announcement: “It’s the confidence in our brand that is driving the ambitious expansion plans that we are announcing today.
“It is the first stage in a long-term strategy to have a base in key cultural centres and European capital cities.
“We are interested in opening hotels in the best locations and are meticulous in ensuring that each has a distinct style and personality.”