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Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts Adds Five New Hotels in
North America; Plans Unveiled for the New Riverbank
Park Plaza in London, London's Largest New-build
Hotel in 30 Years
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Franchise Incentives Helping to Drive Development
NEW YORK, N.Y. (November 10, 2003) -- Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts today announced the planned addition of five new properties in the United States and Canada by the end of 2003. The new properties bring the total number of Park Plaza hotels to 39 locations worldwide in 12 countries, with 11 in North America. The new hotels will triple the guestroom count in North America for Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts for 2003, from just over 1,000 at the start of the year to nearly 3,000 at the end of 2003.

The increased development pace is credited to Carlson's third quarter buyout of Park from its joint venture partner, as well as a recent brand positioning project that is helping more clearly define Park Plaza in order to better meet and exceed customer expectations.

Park Plaza is also offering incentives for a limited time to franchisees interested in helping grow the brand into a position of prominence in the North American market.

"We are offering a no-risk opportunity to franchisees who have a property that aligns with the new brand positioning for Park Plaza," explained Sam Winterbottom, executive vice president of development for Carlson Hotels Worldwide. "Because we are confident that we will deliver the core value propositions for Park Plaza--satisfying not only the customer but the franchisee as well--we are offering franchisees the opportunity to leave the system with no penalties, after a reasonable testing period, if we are unable to meet their expectations as a hotel brand," Winterbottom added.

New Hotels Reflect New Park Plaza Brand Positioning

Under the new brand positioning, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts is defined in the mid-scale segment of the full-service hotel category and is to be known for its great value and customer-focused service culture. These hotels are generally 150 rooms or larger and located in downtown, suburban and airport commercial locations. The shift to the new positioning and value proposition is already evident with the brand expansion.

One of the latest additions to the Park Plaza system is the 274-room Park Plaza Hotel Buffalo Airport (New York), a conversion from Carlson's Radisson brand.
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"The new brand positioning made it clear that some hotels, such as this one in Buffalo, would have a more appropriate market fit by changing to a different Carlson hotel brand," said Bjørn Gullaksen, executive vice president and brand leader for Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts. "Park Plaza's customer-focused service and value proposition is well suited to this property, so we anticipate continued success in meeting customer expectations and franchisee satisfaction by moving the hotel to the Park Plaza brand." Park Plaza Hotel Buffalo Airport is 
Park Plaza Hotel Buffalo Airport 
(formerly Radisson Hotel Buffalo Airport)
4243 Genesee Street
Buffalo, New York
rated 3 Diamonds by AAA and 3 Stars by Mobil.

Park Plaza Toronto Airport (Ontario). The 425-room Park Plaza Toronto Airport, the brand's second hotel in Canada, is located just five miles from Toronto's Pearson International Airport. The hotel has an indoor atrium featuring a pool, sauna, whirlpools, sundeck and fitness room. Before joining the Park Plaza brand, the hotel will undergo a CND $4.5 million renovation (USD $3.4 million). 

Additional hotels in North America expected to join before the end of 2003 include properties in Colorado, New York and Texas. Earlier this year, Park Plaza added the Park Plaza Las Vegas Lady Luck Casino Hotel, a 789-room casino hotel located downtown directly across from the Fremont Street Experience. The hotel offers four restaurants, 24-hour room service, concierge services, heated outdoor pool and gift shop.

Riverbank Park Plaza in London

Also, Park Plaza Hotels Europe unveiled plans for the new Riverbank Park Plaza in London, which is set to be the largest new-build hotel to open in the city in 30 years. Scheduled to open in spring 2005, the deluxe hotel will have 396 guest rooms and 66 suites and will become the flagship London property for the Park Plaza brand. Conference facilities will cater for up to 800 guests for a reception and 780 theatre-style. The jewel in the crown is the 450-person capacity Thames Room, with floor-to-ceiling windows, will provide an unrivalled setting overlooking the river Thames and several of London¿s most impressive landmarks.

The building has been designed by world famous International architects, Renton Howard Wood Levin (RHWL Architects) – best known for creating County Hall & the Saatchi Gallery, British Airways Headquarters and London Coliseum – and the hotel is set to become an exciting new addition to the London skyline. Plans reveal a truly stunning, huge multi-storied atrium lobby and concept restaurant and bar that will surpass anything comparable in London.

Boris Ivesha, President of Park Plaza Hotels Europe, is confident the group’s development plans will reap substantial rewards:

“Riverbank Park Plaza represents the latest and largest of our development projects but it should not be seen in isolation. Our recent opening and the launch of our franchise offer are a signal of our commitment to growing the Park Plaza brand throughout Europe. We are seeking to become a significant player in the 4-star market offering both business and leisure travellers exceptional facilities.

The location and design of our properties, combined with excellent service and facilities offered by each hotel has proved to be popular with the market. In the few years that we have been operating in the UK we have established a strong brand presence. Our heritage in Europe and our relationship with Carlson Hospitality are advantages that we will continue to exploit as we develop the Park Plaza brand in the coming years.”

Scheduled to open in Spring 2005, the 4-star deluxe hotel will have 396 luxury guest rooms and 66 suites and will become the flagship London property for the Park Plaza brand joining the group’s existing Victoria Park Plaza and the Sherlock Holmes Hotel.  

The individually designed guest rooms will include bespoke furniture, air conditioning, two separate telephone lines, plasma television screens, wireless Internet connection and safes for laptop computers. All rooms will have UK, EU and US sockets provided negating the need for any cumbersome adapters.

The Riverbank Park Plaza development is the latest stage of Park Plaza’s 4-star deluxe hotel expansion plan in the UK market. The group’s investors have spent over £300 million in the last 3 years opening the 299-room Victoria Park Plaza (near Buckingham Palace) and the boutique style 119-room Sherlock Holmes Hotel on Baker Street in 2001. Park Plaza Nottingham was opened in 2002 with 178 rooms and stunning interiors.

The 187-room design-led Park Plaza Leeds opened earlier this year and the brand will continue its UK roll out with the completion of Park Plaza Cardiff and Riverbank Park Plaza in 2005.

In addition to the UK hotel expansion, the brand is further extending its presence in Europe through the launch of one of the very few 4-star franchise offers. The first of the group’s franchise properties, the 150-room Park Plaza Trier, opened earlier this year and Hans Keller, Vice President Franchising, expects many more properties to be operating under the Park Plaza banner by the end of 2004.

“It gives us great pleasure to join with our partner, Park Plaza Hotels Europe, to be part of this historic hospitality milestone” said Bjørn Gullaksen, executive vice president of full-service hotels and brand leader for Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts.  “London is an important market for business and leisure travellers and we are confident that this hotel will be an important addition to the Park Plaza brand as we expand around the world.”

Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, part of Carlson Hotels Worldwide, works closely with global partners to build the brand internationally. Carlson Hotels Asia Pacific has the rights to expand the Park Plaza brand in the South Pacific and Asia. Park Plaza Hotels Europe owns, operates and franchises Park Plaza hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Sarovar Park Plaza Hotels operates the extensive network of Park Plaza hotels and resorts across India. AFM Hospitality Corporation is the master franchisor for Park Plaza across Canada.


 
Contact:

Kristi Arndt
Corporate Public Relations
Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts
Tel: 763-212-5626
Fax: 763-212-3400
E-mail: karndt@carlson.com

Julia Stone
+44 (0) 20 7034 4800 
jstone@parkplazahotels.co.uk

www.parkplaza.com


 
Also See: Park Plaza Leeds Opens Following USD $31.5 million Refurbishment of the Former 21-story Royal Exchange House Office Building / Sept 2003
Royal Equator Reflags the 524 room Best Western Carlton Place Toronto Airport to Park Plaza Toronto Airport / September 2003
Park Plaza Hotels Europe Adds First Franchise Hotel, the Park Plaza Trier; Appoints Hans J. Keller to Lead Franchise Operation / June 2003


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