The hypermarkets operator Lulu Group International has paid £110 million (Dh626.6m) for Great Scotland Yard in London as the company expands into hotel development.
It plans to turn the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Police (between 1829 and 1890) into a luxury hotel.
The deal includes an adjoining listed Victorian town house that would be designed as an entertainment suite for the hotel.
Lulu in April emerged as the front runner to acquire the Edwardian property in Whitehall.
“The future growth markets for us in the hospitality sector includes Britain, Middle East, India and South East Asia,” said a Lulu spokesman. “Since we are now firmly established in the retail sector, we want to diversify into the hospitality sector as these two are complementary.”
Lulu expects to open hypermarkets in Malaysia and Indonesia towards year-end.
It currently runs 117 retail outlets in the Middle East and India.
The 233-room hotel at Great Scotland Yard is expected to open in the first quarter of 2017. Lulu bought the property from the London-based property developer Galliard Homes.
Although the property will retain its Edwardian brick-and-stone facade, it will undergo a £50m interior refurbishment. Construction work is about 30 per cent complete, while the interior work is expected to start in March.
The hotel will employ 250 full-time staff.
“The entire insides of the building have been ripped out, and Galliard Homes has dug down two levels underground to create a vast basement complex under the building,” said Don O’Sullivan, the managing director of Galliard Construction.
“The building is also being extended to the rear and increased by several floors. This is a huge redevelopment project.”
The Frankfurt-based Steigenberger Hotel Group will manage the seven-storey hotel with two basement levels. It will also manage Lulu’s first hotel in Dubai’s Business Bay, which is expected to open in October.
In London, the 92,000 square feet five-star hotel will occupy a space where police had conducted investigations into the serial killings attributed to Jack the Ripper. The hotel would mark Steigenberger’s entry into London’s hospitality market.
The property is near 10 Downing Street and Trafalgar Square.
The London-based Malmaison & Hotel du Vin group was in the race to buy the property for £200m last September before the talks broke down, according to UK media reports. Galliard Homes said the talks broke down after the Malmaison hotel group changed ownership but denied that the value being negotiated was £200m.
Frasers Hospitality UK Holdings acquired the group in June.
Lulu Group International owns four hotels in India and one in Muscat. Its Grand Hyatt hotel in Kochi, India, is expected to open next year. When the Indian billionaire M A Yusuff Ali, the group’s founder and managing director, opens the London hotel in 2017, Lulu would join a niche but lucrative and competitive luxury hotel market. Currently, luxury hotels provide 14,900 of 129,000 rooms in the British capital, or 12 per cent of the total room count, according to a report from HVS Consulting & Valuation Services last year.
Among them are the 85-room Bulgari Hotel, which opened in 2012 in Knightsbridge, and the 202-room Shangri-La, which opened last year in Southwark.
With a number of new openings in the luxury segment scheduled to enter the market, the segment’s performance could come under pressure, said the report. “Investment appetite for luxury hotels remains strong with investors staying focused long-term, owing to high acquisition and/or development costs,” it said.
Joint Treasure International, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm, bought the 237-room Marriott Grosvenor Square for £125m last year.
Source: www.thenational.ae - July 27, 2015
The Hotel Show has been very important to Intermetal as we have been participating for the past 15years and we have found there are key decision makers here. We’re happy to be part of the growth especially with the Expo 2020 & the Qatar 2022 World Cup and feel that this event is the perfect venue to present our furniture.
I’m so happy to be at The Hotel Show and I feel that people are interested in our products because it’s a very high end finish and we are looking forward to showcasing more of our products.
This has been an excellent show for us and we had good feedback from the customers. It has given us the right boost and right target clients. We are also involved in a couple of sponsorships like the banners and “You are here boards”. The Hotel Show team has been very helpful.
We have exhibited for the past 4 years and we think the market is promising that’s why we are here to exhibit our services.
In the hotel show, we usually meet hotel investors, hotel operators and developers. In the past 6years we’ve met a high caliber of people, the quality of customers we meet here is very high and we are very pleased with this.
This is a great show for us as we’ve had lots of appointments and lots of success at the show. We came across the whole main hospitality operators in Dubai and Middle East areas and we are in process with several projects.
It has been a very nice event, a very good experience that we are enjoying. We have met so many hotels and clients that we were never able to meet before. So this gave us chance to interact, build awareness around our products and what we are here for.