Kemmons Wilson Hospitality Partners, Valor Hospitality, Acquire D.C.’s Kimpton Rouge Hotel

USA, Washington, D.C. October 29, 2019

Kemmons Wilson Hospitality Partners (KWHP) today officially announced that they have acquired the Kimpton Rouge Hotel in Washington, D.C. Valor Hospitality (Valor), which owns, operates, asset manages and consults on over 60+ hotels worldwide, is co-investing and will oversee a complete rebrand and renovation of the property and will be adding a new restaurant and rooftop bar within the next 18 months.

KWHP, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kemmons Wilson Companies, is the hospitality investment arm of the Kemmons Wilson family, which founded Holiday Inn Hotels in 1952. After 65 years of leadership in the hospitality space, KWHP formed a strategic partnership with Valor in 2017 to invest in unique hotel properties.

"This acquisition is a great example of how our partnership with Valor works," said McLean Wilson, managing partner at KWHP. "It's exactly the type of investment that both KWHP and Valor seek: a boutique, lifestyle-focused property that offers our guests something special, whether you're looking for a top-class cocktail or a view of the White House."

Valor and KWHP plan to change the name of the 137-room boutique lifestyle hotel (located at 1315 16th St. NW, between Dupont Circle and Logan Circle), although it will still operate within the Kimpton portfolio. The new restaurant, which is not yet named, will include a rooftop bar with both interior and exterior spaces — allowing guests to enjoy the rooftop year-round.

"We have a strong relationship with IHG, and we're very excited about working with Kimpton as one of the first-ever management companies to operate one of its franchise properties," said Steve Cesinger, global co-founder and chief investment officer at Valor. "Kimpton has always performed well in the D.C. market, and we think that, with our vision, expertise and experience, we can be the hotel of choice for the nation's capital."

Valor and KWHP are also bringing in a new general manager, Raeshawna Scott. Scott is an 18-year veteran of the hotel operations industry and comes to the Kimpton Rouge from a previous role at Kimpton Topaz in Washington, D.C., where she served as general manager for four years.

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Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.