April 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline

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Int’l. Chains Eye U.S.Sofitel in Chicago Sofitel in Chicago Overseas hotel chains are steadily increasing their presence in the United States, targeting international travelers and meetings business in a number of major cities.

In June, Sofitel, the luxury division of Paris-based Accor, will add two new hotels to its U.S. portfolio: the 415-room Sofitel Water Tower in Chicago and the 237-room Sofitel Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. Last year, the brand opened properties in New York City and Philadelphia.

The chain has purchased land in Dallas and San Francisco and is looking to build in New Orleans and Boston.

In April 2001, Singapore-based Raffles International Hotels & Resorts snapped up Swissôtel and its five properties in the United States. “We want to grow the Swissôtel brand in North America, and also Raffles, which is not as well known as it is in Asia and Europe,” said Jennie Chua, president and CEO of Raffles.

Bermuda-based Mandarin Oriental Hotels plans to open in New York City and Washington, D.C., in 2003 and 2004, respectively. The chain also would like to be in Chicago and Los Angeles, said Wolfgang Hultner, CEO.

Last month, London-based Le Méridien announced plans to build its first U.S. Art + Tech property in Minneapolis. “It will introduce the United States to a dramatically different hotel product,” said Jurgen Bartels, Le Méridien’s CEO.


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