Three grandsons of the late hotelier Gerrit van der Valk have struck out on their own, launching a new budget hotel chain using their Gr8 Investment vehicle to operate them, the NRC reported on Monday.
The grandsons are cousins Martien Heinrichs, 31, and Bas, 36, and Bob, 31, Van den Nieuwenhuyzen. They bought seven hotels in November through the acquisition of Autogrill Nederland and expect to be operating about 20 medium-priced hotels along Holland’s motorways in the longer run.
No name, but new concept
The hotel chain has no name as yet, but there will be a Van der Valk connection. It is expected to take more than two years to get the concept operational.
Heinrichs will be general manager of the existing hotels which have a total of 566 rooms and a payroll of 250. The hotels will be rated 3-star and a room will cost between €60 and €70 a night. This is in contrast to the Van der Valk-branded hotels which are rated 4-star and charge about €100 a night for a room.
Heinrichs explains that their concept has no swimming pool or a large dining room with a fully-staffed kitchen. Check-in will be automated, although a hostess will be on duty to help guests.
The grandsons’ investment company Gr8 Investments paid €22.7m for Autogrill Nederland in early November. In addition to the seven hotels, the company owned 18 AC restaurants, five Burger King restaurants and two Starbucks outlets.
The 18 AC restaurants have been sold on to the Jumbo supermarket chain and they will work closely with the enhanced hotel group in the future. This is also all in the family: Jumbo boss Frits van Eerd is married to Marttien Heinrich’s sister, the NRC said.
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