Al Faisal Holding Company, one of Qatar’s largest conglomerates, said on Wednesday it was behind the purchase of a top London hotel.
Through its subsidiary Al Rayan Tourism & Investment Company (ARTIC), it said it has exchanged contracts with Northern Irish developer McAleer & Rushe to acquire the W London Hotel, Leicester Square for close to £200m ($313m).
Launched in January, the Starwood-operated 192-bedroom hotel is on the corner of Leicester Square, the internationally famous and highly popular pedestrianised square of London’s West End.
In addition to the hotel, the ten-storey, 90ft glazed building houses one of the most exclusive branded apartment schemes in London, featuring 11 luxury duplex branded W Residencies. The development is also home to Mars’ 35,000 sq ft M&M’s World store, the first in Europe.
A wholly-owned Al Faisal Holding Company subsidiary, ARTIC is engaged in real estate development, acquisition and leasing with a primary focus on the hospitality sector and hospitality-related services both in Qatar and overseas.
The acquisition of the W in London brings its current hotel portfolio to 11 properties located across Qatar, Egypt and London, comprising seven fully operational hotels and four under development.
Commenting on the announcement, Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, chairman of Al Faisal Holding Company, said: “We are delighted to have acquired this iconic landmark London development.
"Given its one-of-a-kind architectural quality, attractive setting and the strength of the international covenants of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Mars Retail Group, the addition of the W Hotel to the portfolio reflects our clear investment focus on high quality assets in prime locations as we continue to grow the business both locally and internationally.”
McAleer & Rushe said on Tuesday it had signed a deal to sell the property but did not name the Qatar company involved.
McAleer & Rushe acquired the former site of the Swiss Centre in 2004 from British Land Co for £47m.
The deal marks the latest in a series of investments in British assets by Qatari buyers. The Gulf state’s wealth fund counts luxury London department store Harrods and stakes in Barclays, retailer J Sainsbury’s and the London Stock Exchange among its investments.
Qatari Diar, Qatar Investment Authority’s property arm, in August announced it had won a bid to buy London’s Olympic Village in a £557m in a joint deal with the UK developer Delancey.