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Mon 29 Dec 2008 04:30 PM

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Claridge's owner eyes Dubai in expansion bid

Property tycoon looks for investors to grow hotel group with world-famous names.

The owner of Claridge's in London wants to bring his luxury hotel empire to Dubai, it has emerged.

Property tycoon Derek Quinlan is looking for investors who will bankroll an international expansion of the Maybourne Hotel Group, which includes the world famous Claridge's in Mayfair and The Berkeley in Knightsbridge, London.

The company would use the funds to launch hotels in key "gateway cities" such as Dubai, Paris and New York under the Maybourne name, The Times in the UK reported.

Dubai is already home to the world's only seven star hotel, the Burj Al Arab. The first ever Armani hotel is expected to open in the first quarter of next year.

Claridge's connections with royalty have led to it sometimes being referred to as an extension to Buckingham Palace.

Well-known guests have included U2, Mariah Carey and Brad Pitt. Its main restaurant is run by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

Quinlan bought Maybourne, then called the Savoy Group, in 2004 for £750 million ($1.1 billion) .

In 2005 he sold the Savoy, one of London's most prestigious hotels, for £230 million ($338 million) to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

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