Brunei told to sell Beverly Hills hotel amid boycott

Brunei told to sell Beverly Hills hotel amid boycott
By admin


Beverly Hills is demanding the Sultan of Brunei sell a hotel in the celebrity-rich US city, after he introduced a penal code incorporating Islamic sharia law, officials say.

Stars including Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, British comedian Stephen Fry and Sharon Osbourne, and business tycoon Richard Branson have also called for a boycott of the chain which owns the Beverly Hills Hotel.

But the head of the Dorchester Collection chain said that would be wrong-headed, and only harm hotel staff.

"The actions you take have to be seriously considered because they will effect the livelihoods of these people," Christopher Cowdray told Beverly Hills city legislators at a council meeting on Tuesday night.

Brunei's all-powerful Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced last week that he would push ahead with implementing sharia, despite criticism at home and internationally.

An initial phase officially came into effect on Thursday, with a second phase including more stringent penalties, including the severing of limbs for theft and robbery, to begin later in the year.

Late next year, punishments such as death by stoning for offences including sodomy and adultery will be introduced.

The Beverly Hills City Council passed a resolution on Tuesday "condemning the government of Brunei for a series of laws that impose extremely harsh penalties, including death by stoning for homosexuality and adultery.

"This resolution is calling for the (Brunei) government to change their laws or to divest themselves of the Beverly Hills Hotel to separate the fact that our iconic hotel is under their ownership," added Mayor Lili Bosse.

Bolkiah owns the historic Beverly Hills Hotel as well as the Bel-Air Hotel in Los Angeles through his company Dorchester Collection, which also has branches in London, Paris, Milan and Rome.

The city council said they will send the resolution to the State Department asking Washington to "take appropriate action to condemn the Brunei government's policies".

The US has "relayed our concerns privately to the government of Brunei", State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday, but it will not follow a growing boycott of the Sultan's luxury hotel chain.

Beverly Hills' mayor called the new laws "shocking, inhumane".

"They must be met with a strong statement of support for human rights of the people of Brunei," she said.

The Dorchester Collection is reportedly owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, a sovereign wealth fund under the oil-rich sultanate's Ministry of Finance.

The sultan's support for sharia law has sparked rare domestic criticism of the fabulously wealthy ruler on the Muslim-majority country's active social media, and international condemnation including from the UN's human rights office.

But the sultan has defended the implementation of the law, meant to shore up Islam and guard the Southeast Asian country against outside influences.

Latest News

  • Aviation

Solomon Airlines fills Air Vanuatu gap with flights from Port Vila to Auckland

Solomon Islands’ national carrier will commence direct flights between Port Vila and Auckland from 27 May, using Solomon Airlines aircraft to continue air services linking Vanuatu and New Zealand. Solomon Islands officials together with the Vanuatu Government has worked closely with relevant New Zealand authorities to continue interim flights servicing Auckland from Port Vila. This included […]

  • Aviation

Board Air Canada in Sydney’s CBD via a sleek Light Rail

Visitors flocking to Vivid Sydney will glide through the CBD in the newest addition to the Air Canada fleet – a sleek Light Rail tram wrapped in the airline’s unique livery. The Air Canada-themed tram is part of a new marketing campaign designed to put Air Canada in lights during the Vivid Sydney festival (25 […]

  • Cruise
  • News

Carnival Splendor to the rescue of Aussies and Kiwis left stranded in Vanuatu

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Splendor has come to the aid of a group left stranded in Vanuatu, following the collapse of Air Vanuatu. The group, eight Australians and one New Zealander, were visiting the island of Santo when Air Vanuatu cancelled all flights, leaving them without a way home. Carnival Cruise Line responded by offering […]

  • Hotels

QT Singapore set to open in heritage Eastern Extension Telegraph building

Bookings open today for QT Singapore, in the historic former Eastern Extension Telegraph building along Robinson Road, the first property from QT Hotels & Resorts to open outside Australian and New Zealand. Previously Accor’s So Singapore, then the Hotel Telegraph, QT Singapore will officially launch on September 16 and will feature 134 rooms, ranging in […]

  • Hotels
  • News

Minor Hotels’ Anantara group reimagines the brand as its portfolio surpasses 50 properties

Anantara Hotels & Resorts is marking a significant milestone with a reimagined brand identity as recent openings across Europe, Middle East and Asia have propelled the brand portfolio beyond 50 properties. Part of the Minor Hotels group, the Anantara visual refresh takes an elegant, pared-back approach that enables each hotel’s unique character to shine – […]