by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | December 16, 2014
InterContinental Hotels Group has agreed to acquire Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants for $430 million in cash. The purchase of the Kimpton portfolio - which includes 62 hotels in 28 major U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco - makes IHG the market leader in the boutique segment. In announcing the deal, IHG said Kimpton was "highly complimentary" with IHG's Hotel Indigo and EVEN Hotels brands, and said it intended to grow the Kimpton brand within the U.S. and to launch it globally. "Kimpton is a well-established and highly successful business that has built an industry-leading position in the U.S.," said Richard Solomons, chief executive officer of IGH. "Adding Kimpton to our portfolio of preferred brands creates the world's largest boutique hotel business."

IHG's acquisition of Kimpton is timed perfectly to current market conditions. The boutique hotel segment has been the fastest-growing in the hotel sector for the past four years, and RevPAR growth for boutique properties in the U.S. has consistently outperformed all others in the industry. IHG said it will capitalize on its experience of building preferred brands to enhance Kimpton's growth globally, and said it will concentrate on expanding Kimpton in Europe and Asia, where there is a strong demand for boutique brands. In return, says IGH, Kimpton's strong track record in design, food and beverage, and operational excellence will add value across IHG's current brand portfolio.

In other IHG news, the company has signed two properties in Europe. Beginning Jan. 1, the former 197-room Four Seasons Hotel Dublin in Ireland will be rebranded the InterContinental Dubin. The hotel features two restaurants, a full-service spa and 15,000 square feet of meeting space. In addition, IHG will open the 105-room InterContinental Baku in Azerbaijan, a new-build featuring a restaurant, a club lounge, a spa and meeting space, by year-end 2016. This week, IHG also has signed a partnership with Norland College, a world-renowned nannies' establishment, to provide guidance on babysitting and staff recruitment for its InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand. The new collaboration will support the brand's Planet Trekkers program, which offers tailored dining and interactive activities for guests traveling with children between the ages of 4 and 12.