Isrotel is opening its first hotel in Greece

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The activity of Brown Hotels in Greece is entering the maturation phase with agreements and collaborations that can bring greater returns and capital gains for the chain that has linked its name to Omonia and beyond

With the Dayan business family from Israel as an ally and with a first agreement with the staff of Brown Hotels for its first hotel in the Athens neighbourhood of Omonia, the Isrotel chain from Tel Aviv is entering the Greek market.

With 24 hotels in its portfolio, the company is now attempting its first step outside of the Israeli market starting this spring in Greece as part of its expansion outside the borders, focusing, in the first phase, on Greece and Cyprus.

Isrotel announced at the beginning of February in Tel Aviv its intention to expand into the Greek market through its new international brand "Aluma Resorts & Hotels", a move also made in partnership with the Dayan family.

The name of the Dayans had come to the fore and was widely heard in Greece in 2021 when it claimed in the competition of the Fund for the Utilization of the Private Property of the State through Vivion Investments, the much-discussed property of the former American Base of Gourna in Crete (which finally ended up in REDS of the ELLAKTOR group).

Investment funds connected to the family, with significant investments also in real estate through the Dayan Family Office, have progressed in recent years "quietly" in the acquisition of real estate in Greece, including hotels operated under the management of Brown Hotels.

Given that Brown's activity in Greece is now entering the maturation phase with agreements and partnerships that may bring greater returns and goodwill for the chain founded back in 2010 by Leon Avigad and Nitzan Perry - hence the recent franchise agreement with Hilton for the two hotels in Agios Theodoros and Chania - Brown is now taking a new step:

This time, with Isrotel, according to New Money, which is already operating under the management of Brown Hotels or is going to operate in the next period in the centre of Athens in the vicinity of Omonia and will pass under the umbrella of Isrotel.

For its part, Isrotel has recently progressed in staffing the Aluma Hotels team since, according to the official announcements made at the beginning of this month in Tel Aviv, very soon, even in March, it will operate under the new management of Aluma Resorts & Hotels, the "SKYLARK" hotel as it is renamed, four stars in Omonia with a capacity of 199 rooms.

Later, in April, it will be followed by the 4-star hotel "ANISE" in the Psirri area with 63 rooms initially and the prospect of an additional capacity of 105 rooms in total, followed by the hotel "ADIA" with a capacity of 218 rooms until the end of the year.

The expansion plan in the Greek market is priced by Isrotel in the first phase at 70 million euros from Athens for the three hotels in 2024 in the centre of the capital, while it will follow based on the official announcements from Israel and one more hotel in Thessaloniki.

Isrotel's future plans for new tourism investments include Crete and Cyprus, depending on the opportunities that will be presented, as well as other European markets, such as Portugal and Italy.

The listed chain, founded by David Lewis in 1980, is one of the largest hotel chains in Israel, with a presence in luxury hotels as well. It has 24 large units in Israel, where it continues and expands even today, while it now considers that the time has come to expand to foreign markets to achieve a greater spread of risk and to position itself outside of Israel, having a loyal audience of Israeli travellers who will follow it to its next stops.

The expansion in Greece is a reasonable development for the company, more so since there is already a familiarity among the public with its new hotels in the capital.

From Brown's point of view, the group still gives a vote of confidence to Greece, but now it seems in practice it has moved to a more mature phase in terms of its activities in the Greek market:

It is characteristic that Mr Leon Avigad, co-founder of the company, stated at the Prodexpo North conference in Thessaloniki last Tuesday that he is "freezing" the investment for the creation of the 5-star preserved "Vienna" in the city centre due to the time-consuming procedures and approvals which its retrofitting entails, with the possibility of utilising it in a different way now open.

Among the alternatives being considered is its rental, possibly also as an educational unit. However, the group's staff have not abandoned the other investment in Thessaloniki, for the utilisation of the former tobacco warehouse "Sakka-Michailidis" intended for a 4-star boutique unit in approximately two years from today, following an investment of over 20 million euros, while Chalkidiki is also on their radar for new investments.

Stefania Souki is a columnist for New Money.

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