Grosvenor House put on the market for £600m
Grosvenor House, one of London's most iconic hotels, is on the market for up to £600m.
The 95-year lease of the five-star, 494-bedroom hotel is being marketed by CB Richard Ellis. It is the largest single hotel asset to ever come on to the European, Middle East or Asian market.
The hotel is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), but Marriott has an agreement to operate the property as a JW Marriott Hotel for 24 years.
"We are expecting global and widespread interest in the property, which was the first hotel to open on Park Lane," said a spokesman for CB Richard Ellis.
Initial interest is expected to come from major institutions or high net worth individuals. The weakness of sterling and the way the London hotel market has held up during the recession is likely to create considerable interest from prospective overseas buyers.
"This is a major London asset and there has always been interested buyers for such properties in the past," said hotel industry consultant Melvin Gold. "Despite more difficult economic times, I would expect that still to be the situation today, although the field may be more limited than a few years ago."
Reports have suggested interior design and development management company Candy & Candy is interested in making a bid for Grosvenor House and the adjacent serviced apartment block, with a view to creating a giant luxury residential scheme.
However, with Marriott holding a long-term lease on the property, it is unlikely that Grosvenor House will exit the hotel market.
RBS has invested more than £130m in the refurbishment of all the bedrooms and public spaces at Grosvenor House, which includes 4,000sq feet of banqueting space.
Earlier, the hotel revealed its plans to close Bord'eaux, its 160-seat all-day French brasserie, and replace it with a JW Steak restaurant.
Chef-patron Ollie Couillard left Bord'eaux last week and said the restaurant would close sometime this month.
"Ollie played an important role within Bord'eaux and was a gracious and very charismatic chef who everybody at the hotel adored," a spokesperson for Grosvenor House said. "His French style of cooking would overly complicate the simplicity of JW Steak and he is pursuing new opportunities. Everybody parted on good terms."
Nigel Boschetti joined Grosvenor House on Monday, from the Lancaster London, as the hotel's new executive head chef and will oversee the opening of the new restaurant.
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By Janet Harmer
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