It was the second time the Austrian group had taken over management of one of the resort’s Selected Hotels just beyond Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe on the other side of the Boulevard Circulaire. But unlike the Dream Castle Hotel, which had been developed and managed with care from the start by Mövenpick, InterContinental’s Holiday Inn always seemed something of a missed opportunity.
Given a grand stature, bold interior design and a fun theme when developed in collaboration with DLP-I (Disneyland Paris Imagineering) and the Val d’Europe design team, the subsequent management left a little to be desired, with little focus on the themed touches and just average service. Its lobby, notably, filled with enough coin-operated machines to keep a small school happy.
The first phase of investment in the hotel from the partnership of Warimpex, UBM and Vienna International has now been completed, celebrated with a special event at the hotel last night. In total, €4 million has been spent enlarging and improving the restaurant, improving the bar and lobby, refurbishing guest rooms, completely rebuilding the pool and wellness area, rebranding everything to the new image and enhancing the existing circus themes.
“It is our aim to further strengthen the position as a family hotel at the destination and to attract new guests,” argues Rudolf Tucek, CEO of Vienna International Hotelmanagement AG. “Especially in the last twelve months, the destination of Disneyland Paris has shown that people continue to invest in a family holiday despite the economically challenging times.
However, Tucek points out a strong change in their source markets: “This year up to 320 per cent more guests came from Austria, an additional 80 per cent from the Czech Republic, 75 per cent from France and 60 per cent from Switzerland. By comparison, we saw a decline of up to 50 per cent from the UK, which could be offset thanks to the growth from the other countries.”
And how is the hotel performing financially? UBM CEO Karl Bier stated: “Both the Magic Circus as well as the neighbouring Dream Castle Hotel, which began operations in 2003, are outstanding investments. Even during the economic crisis, the two hotels have been in the black.
“For the real estate market, the worst should be over by now and we are looking optimistically towards the future: the economic research institutes forecast a recovery of the economy, the banks are providing sufficient liquidity, and investment pressure can be recognised once more among institutional investors. These are all signs that we have passed the low point.”
Even better, the group intend to invest another €4 million next year with the construction of a brand new conference pavilion at the hotel, the foundations and structural requirements of which have already been put in place during the current works. The hotel is being taken slightly upmarket, properly fulfilling in “feel” its 4-star status, with the new focus now firmly on families and conferences, perhaps then putting it in competition with Disney’s Newport Bay Club.
Images © Vienna International.