Hotel de Rome – Rocco Forte

A dinner event at this year’s ITB was situated at Berlin’s Hotel de Rome, the newest ultra-luxury hotel in the Prussian city. Fashioned from the former world headquarters of Dresdner Bank at a cost of nearly $100m, it opened late last year. A geographically confused moniker apart, it exudes an almost imperial air but with very contemporary room furnishings. The newest member of Sir Rocco Forte’s chain of luxury hotels exemplifies the successful rehabilitation of a well known marquee that was tarred in the mid-90s during the hostile takeover by Granada PLC of Trusthouse Forte PLC, a hotel chain that included limited service and 5 star hotels.

Today’s Times of London features an interview with Sir Rocco. A couple of takeaways from the interview that are relevant to today’s overwrought and, some might argue, overpaid hotel deals – Granada, which publicly ridiculed Rocco Forte during the takeover process ended up selling the hotels for less a few years later. Secondly, what endured was hoteliering as evidenced by Roccofortehotels by Sir Rocco and not deal making (which probably made more than a few bucks for the investment bankers and did nothing for the underlying assets). That hotels are neither mere real estate or deals bears repeating, often.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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