Qatar wealth fund buys St. Regis New York from Marriott for $310m

The St Regis New York. Photo: Marriott website

Marriott International Inc. has sold the St. Regis New York for $310 million to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, offloading a historic property that served as the launching point for an indispensable cocktail and global luxury brand.

The purchase gives Qatar Investment Authority another trophy asset to add to an expanding portfolio across the globe. The fund has been boosting its investments in the U.S., including stakes in retail properties in Manhattan. In April, it announced an investment in the shops at the base of the St. Regis.

The hotel, located on East 55th Street near Fifth Avenue, was opened by John Jacob Astor IV in 1904. The 18-story Beaux-Arts building contains more than 200 guest rooms and the King Cole Bar, a watering hole where the Bloody Mary is said to have been invented.

Room rates on Thursday night ranged from $779 to more than $4,000 for a suite, according to Marriott’s website.

Marriott will continue to operate the hotel under a long-term contract with QIA, according to a filing.

Marriott, the world’s largest lodging company, doesn’t own many hotels, preferring to earn fees for licensing brands and managing properties for real estate partners. Globally, there are more than 7,000 hotels in the Marriott system, 14 of which are owned by the company.

Marriott acquired the Manhattan hotel when it bought Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016, a $13.6 billion transaction that reshaped the global hospitality industry. By then, the St. Regis name had been repurposed as a luxury hotel brand with outposts in places like Shenzhen, China and Bora Bora, in French Polynesia.

The Bethesda, Maryland-based company recently disclosed its $206 million acquisition of the W New York Union Square, a move intended to jump-start the update of a beloved but faded brand. Marriott also agreed to pay $130 million for Elegant Hotels Group Plc to aid its new push into all-inclusive resorts.

Those moves fueled conjecture that Marriott would sell real estate assets to balance its portfolio following the recent acquisitions. In an Oct. 18 note, Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst Michael Bellisario speculated that Marriott could be close to selling Sheraton hotels in Phoenix or Mexico City.

JLL Hotels & Hospitality advised Marriott on the St. Regis transaction.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.