Italy welcomes US$2.8 billion investment to refresh existing hotel stock

Naples, Italy. Image © Danilo D'Agostino / Unsplash
The mature Italian hotel market is still motoring along nicely, with most high end projects either converting or refurbishing existing properties.

According to the latest THP data, there are currently at least 109 premium developments underway, comprising 15,288 keys.

Investment magnet

The popular European tourist destination is presently attracting nearly US$2 billion in investment to keep high end hotel options fresh.

The vast majority are works to existing sites, with 40 refurbishments (37% of the pipeline), 35 conversions (32%) and two extensions, as compared to 32 newbuildings – equivalent to 29% of upcoming projects.

Eternal exemplar

Italy’s capital Rome remains the hotel hotspot, with 21 developments underway in the Eternal City. The bustling fashion hub of Milan lines up second, on 11 sites, while the astounding floating city of Venice makes the podium with eight projects.

In terms of star ratings, the proportion of luxury to upscale sites is fairly even. 48% of the high end pipeline (52 projects) is five star properties, while the other 52% (57 projects) is four star quality.

Immediate openings

Opening dates are predominantly fairly immediate, with 33% of developments (36 sites) due to complete by the end of this year, and another 30% (33 projects) heading for delivery in 2024.

At the moment, 16 projects are slated to finish in 2025 and a further four in 2026. The remaining 20 hotel developments have yet to be assigned a delivery date.

Brand plans

Topping high end Italian hotel prospects in the major group stakes is Marriott International, with at least 11 projects on the slate. Close behind is Accor on at least eight, and Hilton Worldwide on at least six.

For individual brands, independent name The Social Hub, which rebranded from The Student Hotel last year, heads our list on four hotels. In joint runners-up spot on three sites apiece are Marriott’s W Hotels and Edition Hotels, Rosewood Hotel Group’s Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Accor’s Orient Express Hotels and Canadian-headquartered Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.

Ones to watch

Significant developments underway include The Langham, Venice, which finally broke ground earlier this year following multiple delays. A 133-key hotel will result from the restoration of the 16th century Casino Mocenigo and the redevelopment of 20th century industrial glass factory buildings on the Venetian island of Murano.

Langham Hospitality Group’s new heritage landmark will include a restaurant with alfresco and indoor seating together with a rooftop bar, plus a central private courtyard. Delivery is now scheduled for 2026.

Elsewhere, in Florence a former school is being converted into Collegio alla Querce Auberge Resorts Collection. Standing in 15,500 sq m of gardens set on a rolling hill on the northside of Florence’s historic city centre, the hotel will feature 82 luxury keys, a restaurant, a bar and a cigar lounge and multiple event spaces. Completion is slated for Q1 2024.