The owners of the Ritz hotel in London have reportedly hinted they would part with the iconic hotel for no less than $1.4 billion.
The hotel, which was built in 1906 by Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz, has played host to the likes of Prince Charles and Charlie Chaplin and was even used as a meeting place by Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle during World War Two.
Since 1995, it has been owned by David and Fredrick Barclay, the famously private brothers who own London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. A source close to the brothers told Reuters they had recently received a number of unsolicited offers for the hotel.
Reuters reported the hotels latest accounts confirmed it “is not and has not been marketed for sale”, but the source said the fact the hotel has been publically valued at more than 800 million pounds ($1.4 billion AUD) was a big hint from the brothers.
The hotel’s turnover was reported to sit at 47 million pounds ($86.5 million AUD) in 2018 with an operating profit of 15 million pounds ($28.6 million AUD), but the real value of the property lies in its prime location in the heart of Picadilly, near Buckingham Palace combined with its prestige.
“However, given it will be classed as a ‘trophy asset’, buyers might not be put off by a financial performance that doesn’t reflect the sale price,” Independent real estate expert Paul Olliff told Reuters.
“Whether it’s an inflated price or not, this should not be seen as an indication of the buoyant hotel market in the UK in a wider context, primarily because the Ritz is almost a ‘one-off.’”
Olliff said the hotel would attract global attention if it were to go on the market, with 10 or so ultra-rich individuals likely to want a piece of the action.