Harrods Hotel Chain Planned for Kuala Lumpur, London, New York, Paris
A new chain of luxury hotels branded after the famed London department store Harrods reportedly will open with properties in Malaysia, New York and Paris. Qatar Holding LLC, the investment arm of Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund, plans to build the London luxury retailer that it bought two years ago into a global luxury hotel brand.
According to press reports, Qatar Holdings has already decided to build Harrods hotels in London, Kuala Lumpur and Sardinia, Italy. The Doha-based fund signed an agreement with Malaysian partners to build a hotel in Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Bintang shopping district for a reported $634 million.
Qatar Holding paid $2.3 billion for Harrods in 2010, including its landmark store in London’s Knightsbridge district. The fund will establish a hotel-management company to seek out projects around the world. It reportedly prefers to build on sites that it already owns, such as London’s Chelsea Barracks site or Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda.
This past April Qatar Holding agreed to buy luxury hotel owner Smeralda Holding from Colony Capital LLC. The purchase included four hotels in Costa Smeralda on the Italian island of Sardinia, as well as a golf course, marina and undeveloped land. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. continues to manage those properties. Whether Starwood has a role in the new Harrods chain remains to be seen. The planned Harrods hotel in Kuala Lumpur will have about 300 rooms and will be the group’s first property in Asia. The company also plans to open in China.
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