Activism confirms the sector's confidence in a recovery that focuses mainly on luxury, quality food, and unique experiences.
There is life beyond Covid for the hospitality sector. The great ferment of new openings, renovations and acquisitions shows how much the industry believes in restarting, with a particular focus on luxury and other niches of quality travel.
Among the most significant acquisitions is The Dedica Anthology. The current investor has sold the former Boscolo Hotels, Värde Partners, to Covivio Hotels, which in turn is part of the real estate investment colossal Covivio, founded from the merger between the Italian Beni Stabili and the French Foncière des Régions, and which boasts Luxottica patron Leonardo Del Vecchio as a major shareholder. NH Hoteles will be entrusted with the commercial development of the chain, which includes eight hotels with a total of 1,115 rooms: two in Venice (Grand Hotel Dei Dogi and Hotel Bellini), two in Budapest (New York Palace and New York Residence), one in Prague (Charles IV), one in Rome (Palazzo Naiadi, formerly Hotel Exedra), one in Florence (Palazzo Gaddi) and one in Nice (Plaza Nice).
On the other hand, when it comes to restoring historic buildings of great artistic value, the scoop of the year is probably the project for the new Gran Meliá in Piazza Cordusio in Milan, in the palazzo delle Generali designed by Luca Beltrami, one of the greatest architects of fin de siècle Milan, which dominates the elegant ellipse with its Lion of St. Mark and dome. Owned by a fund managed by Generali Real Estate Sgr, thanks to the redevelopment the building will achieve LEED Gold certification, thus becoming more sustainable and more beautiful and welcoming: the hotel will be active from 2023 with 70 luxury rooms and top-level catering services.
Also in Milan, the renovated Four Seasons, redesigned by Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola, will reopen this spring. The renovation will affect the common areas, restaurants and bars, rooms and suites and all the meeting rooms. The work will be carried out in different phases throughout 2021 and completed by the end of the year. The first phase to be completed by spring will include a new lobby and lounge, a new restaurant and a new bar. The interior garden will be brought back to life by landscape architect and agronomist Flavio Pollano, curator of the Italian Pavilion landscape component at the Dubai Expo.
But the news does not stop with the Lombardy metropolis. The enchanting Giardini del Fuenti complex is being resurrected in all the extraordinary beauty of an oasis on the Amalfi Coast according to a project that will be completed in 2023. The charming multi-level structure, nestled between the coast’s hairpin bends, focuses on wedding food of the highest quality, set against a backdrop of unrivalled scenery and atmosphere.
As we have seen, the fervour animating Italian hospitality is also due to the commitment of institutional investors, including Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, which has launched the new National Tourism Fund: the Fund, which already has several assets in its portfolio and is moving to create an Italian luxury hospitality hub, can count on two billion in investments that are part of CDP's broader strategy to support the tourism system with training initiatives, thanks to the 'Italian School of Hospitality'; innovation and digitalisation, activating the Venture Capital lever by focusing on innovative start-ups and SMEs.
What trends are driving new openings and renovations? Structures designed to be multidisciplinary and multifunctional, and strongly linked and interconnected with the place where they are located and ready to create a unique experience for their guests.