IN ITS QUEST TO DOMINATE THE EXPERIENCE ECONOMY IN U.S. MARKET
London-based Queensgate Investments finalizes $400 million purchase of Freehand Hotels from a seller consortium including The Yucaipa Companies and Sydell Group, drastically expanding Generator’s millennial-friendly portfolio to 18 properties in top cities across North America and Europe
Generator, whose design-driven affordable luxury has disrupted the hospitality industry across Europe since 2011, will now operate all four Freehand Hotels and their respective food and beverage outlets after purchasing the brand for $400 million this week. The acquisition led by London-based firm Queensgate Investments, which owns Generator, merges the original upscale hostel trailblazers and reaffirms Generator as a global pioneer in the hospitality industry. With Generator’s storied success in Europe and Freehand’s expertise in the U.S. market, this new merger marks a momentous milestone in the brand’s history and future.
Following the brand’s acquisition transition, Generator will operate a total of 18 properties Worldwide, including Freehand’s New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami hotels. The Company’s original portfolio, including Generator Miami and the upcoming Generator Washington, D.C., will not undergo any operational or branding changes, but with four Freehand properties functioning in parallel, the acquisition will present valuable opportunities to strengthen Generator’s presence in North America and leverage Freehand’s experience, expertise, and market knowledge. Similarly, while Generator has no plans to make any immediate changes to Freehand’s operations, the company will look to implement successful practices that have made Generator an incredibly strong performer in the industry.
Both Generator and Freehand have been able to capitalize on the sensibilities of the travelling millennial by promoting local authenticity, innovative food and beverage offerings, and social interaction, capturing the essence of the hospitality industry’s experience economy.
“One of Generator’s key principles is to constantly provide the best and most innovative experience to the modern traveler, wherever they go. With Freehand’s strong brand identity and overwhelmingly positive reputation in the U.S., the addition of their hotels to the Generator portfolio is a natural fit for us. Not only is this acquisition of great strategic importance to our Company, it will also allow both brands to reach new audiences and serve guests in new and unique ways,” said Alastair Thomann, Chief Executive Officer of Generator.
In 2018, London-based Generator made a splash in the U.S. hospitality scene with the launch of its inaugural North American property in Florida’s bustling Miami Beach. Since its inception in Europe in 2011, Generator has grown into an award-winning brand, earning popularity with design-driven properties in major European hubs such as Amsterdam, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Berlin, and Paris. With its adrenalizing blend of high design, affordable price points, and magnetic social environments, the brand quickly established itself as the “cool kid” of affordable accommodations in Europe.
In 2012, New York-based Freehand Hotels opened its first property in Miami to similar fanfare from North American travelers for its unprecedented design-led shared accommodation, affordability, and inventive cocktail programming at the Broken Shaker. In subsequent years, the brand matured with the openings of three more hotels in Los Angeles, Chicago, and most recently, New York. Reminiscent of Generator’s legacy in Europe, the brand is known for its exceptional ability to combine the social culture of a hostel with private rooms and suites, award-winning food and beverage, and a community-driven atmosphere.
Next in Generator’s strategic plan to expand its North American presence is the upcoming Washington, D.C. property, opening in 2020. Situated in the heart of the city between Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, Generator Washington, D.C. will boast the brand’s signature elements: ultra-comfortable private rooms and luxury suites, brilliantly designed shared accommodations, trendy F&B outlets and interactive programming, all at affordable price points in one of the hippest neighborhoods in the nation’s capital.