5 European projects that offer a glimpse into the future of hotel real estate

Hotels, food and beverage, office space, co-working, residential, healthcare, retail, wellbeing and logistics are all rewriting how we see mixed-use development projects in Europe. Development projects may be far fewer across the continent but what many of the latest major schemes share is an aim to fulfil a wide range of visitor needs and to adapt to new lifestyle requirements.

This is hardly surprising given that bringing several different uses to one site offers a number of advantages. For the investor, risk and exposure to asset class cycles is reduced, while for developers and tenants an audience is, literally, built in. Residents need services, retailers and restaurants need footfall and, of course, hoteliers are looking for additional reasons to populate their rooms and facilities.

As a result, Europe’s major development projects are coming to market pointing at a new direction for the hotel sector, with more new space integrated within larger schemes.

The mega-project: Hamburg

One of the largest is Westfield’s Hamburg-Uberseequartier, a mixed-use urban district with flexible offices with views over HafenCity and the harbour. The scheme includes modern apartments with direct access to the waterfront, three hotels, and a 200-store shopping centre. The largest city-centre project in Europe, it encompasses a 10-screen cinema, beauty and wellness centres, international and local restaurants, bars and cafes.

“At around 2,500,000 sq m of development, HafenCity is one of the largest urban mixed-use projects in Europe, opening in late 2024,” property advisor P-Three co-founder Thomas Rose says. “The wider HafenCity masterplan is incredibly innovative and demands creativity from developers seeking to create architectural structures of international quality, with the focal point being the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall, which opens in 2027. “

In terms of its hotel offer, URW has worked with Accor and real estate developer B&L Group to develop three hotels on the site, Accor’s Pullman, Novotel and Ibis Styles brands, which will offer a cumulative total of 830 rooms.

In the development’s southern section, Pullman will operate 250 rooms in a building designed by French architect Christian de Portzamparc. Behind the Pullman will be a 170-room Novotel property, while opposite, in the complex’s central area, the 400-room economy brand Ibis Styles has rooms spread across two buildings.

This combination of three different hotel brands and a total of 830 rooms makes the Hamburg one of Accor’s largest current hotel projects, with the combination designed to serve different target groups at the same location.

“The three hotels are of vital importance in our strategic planning to establish the Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier as a mixed-use destination with national appeal,” says Andreas Hohlmann, Managing Director of URW Germany. “They underline our desire to create new standards in the areas of hospitality, quality of life and urban atmosphere.”

Repurposing: London Olympia

Another example is Olympia London, essentially a redevelopment but on a grand scale which will see the exhibition venue — established for over 135 years — become a multi-use entertainment and commercial centre.

Developer Yoo Capital is pushing forward an ambitious, culture-led expansion of the asset. Designed by SPPARC and Heatherwick Studio, the masterplan includes Hyatt delivering a luxury lifestyle hotel with 204 rooms, alongside a CitizenM hotel with 146 rooms.

Hyatt’s second Regency property in London, the 196-room Hyatt Regency London Olympia will be directly connected to the convention centre and is scheduled to open in 2024. Facilities will include a restaurant and lobby lounge with bar and market area, as well as four meeting rooms.

A 4,400-capacity live music venue built on top of the existing Olympia West exhibition hall will be run by AEG Presents, while Trafalgar Entertainment will run a 1,575-seat theatre — the largest new permanent theatre of its kind to open in London since 1976. Visitors will also be able to choose from 20+ cafes, bars and restaurants in a sky garden with views across London and 2.4 acres of pedestrianised public space.

Urban regeneration: Bordeaux

Increasingly, development also aims to solve city centre regeneration. For French/Polish developer Apsys, that has come with some sustainability caveats as the city of Bordeaux insisted on modifications for what is now the renamed and rejigged €500 million Canopia scheme, which will connect the station to the river Garonne, according to Apsys president Maurice Bansay.

He anticipates the scheme will be completed by 2026, with a focus on sustainability which will see 7,300 sq m of planting and a "fully vegetated street-park" with "plant buildings that will punctuate the different architectures" according to architect Edouard François.

Around 6,000 sq m of the project has been dedicated to residential use, with 35% of this social housing, while the commercial element will occupy 45,000 sq m including 16 medium-sized stores and 100 smaller units, a leisure area of ​​10,000 sq m and F&B plus, says Bansay, "a 9,000 sq m hotel programme with two new generation concepts, including green roofs animated by these two hotels, and finally workspaces, spread over 6,000 sq m in three buildings".

Masterplanning: Milan

Another urban regeneration began last year when Hines and Accor announced plans for a hotel at MilanoSesto, Italy, through an agreement with real estate fund Unione 0.

Unione 0, managed by Prelios SGR and invested in by Hines and Cale Street, has entered into a binding agreement with Accor for a hotel which will be developed on the site at MilanoSesto on a 25-year lease through the hotel group’s partner, Amapa.

Hines is a strategic advisor and development manager on the 13-year MilanoSesto project, while Prelios serves as the manager of the real estate fund and asset and project manager of the entire initiative. The 301-key hotel will operate under two brands — 204 rooms will be managed by Novotel, while 97 serviced apartments will be managed by Adagio and will be used as a medium-long stay accommodation. The hotel is being designed by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel.

Unione 0, which spans 250,000 sq m, is currently under construction and the buildings will include office space spanning 48,000 sq m, student accommodation for 700 people, 285-unit affordable residential apartments and 480 residential apartments.

Multi-purpose: Edinburgh

The much-anticipated W Edinburgh hotel is due to open at the St James Quarter, Edinburgh by the end of the year. Part of the Marriot chain, W currently has 480 luxury hotels in 68 countries. The new hotel coming to the Scottish capital is one of only four W’s opening this year, with the other three in Prague, Budapest and Milan.

The St James Quarter was developed by Nuveen Real Estate. Although nominally a redevelopment of the existing shopping precinct at the end of Princes Street, in reality the project is an extensive repurposing of the space to include new stores, F&B, a gym, cinema, residential, public realm space and the hotel.

The Edinburgh W will provide 244 rooms, 42 suites and one presidential suite.It will have a rooftop terrace which will accommodate 600 people, offering views across the city, as well as a lounge for up to 200 people to enjoy live music. The hotel will also include a private Brazilian bar, offering private tastings with guest chefs. Plans for the hotel also boast five meeting rooms, a gym, a spa and its own recording studio.