x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Al Habtoor Group buys Hilton London Wembley hotel

Hilton London Wembley overlooks the English national football stadium in the 85-acre Wembley Park, which is undergoing a makeover with new retail, residential, offices and entertainment facilities.

Hilton London Wembley overlooks the Wembley Stadium, above. Hufton and Crow / Corbis
Hilton London Wembley overlooks the Wembley Stadium, above. Hufton and Crow / Corbis

Al Habtoor Group has bought the Hilton London Wembley hotel as the Dubai family-owned conglomerate lines up a Dh2 billion war chest for overseas purchases this year.

The group acquired Hilton London Wembley to ramp up its international hospitality portfolio to six properties, said Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, the chairman of Al Habtoor Group. “I have been looking at the London market for some time,” he said.

The company declined to disclose the value of the deal.

The UK hotel sector has long been the most sought after by Middle Eastern investors. In the past couple of years, it drew £2.72 billion (Dh14.24bn) of the Middle East’s outbound investment, according to a report from the real estate consultancy CBRE. Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund bought central London’s Claridge’s, the Berkeley and the Connaught hotels last year.

Italy and France were the next most popular destinations for hotel transactions for investors from the region.

About 260,000 tourists from the UAE visited the UK in the first nine months of last year, up 32 per cent, compared to the same period the previous year, according to the UK’s tourism agency Visit Britain. Spending by UAE travellers was up 3 per cent to touch £437 million.

Hilton London Wembley overlooks the English national football stadium in the 85-acre Wembley Park, which is undergoing a makeover with new retail, residential, offices and entertainment facilities. Relatively close to Heathrow Airport and the city centre, the 361-room hotel features a ballroom and can host up to 700 people.

Singer Rihanna is expected to pay £10,000 for an entire floor of the hotel during her stay around her June concert at the stadium, according to UK media reports.

The Dubai group also owns Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand Hotel and Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace in Lebanon, the President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in the US, the five-star InterContinental Hotel Bud­apest and five-star Elizabeth Park Hotel, Budapest.

In Dubai, it owns the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa, the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah beside The St Regis Dubai in Al Habtoor Complex on Shaikh Zayed Road.

Two more in the complex W Dubai – Al Habtoor City, and The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City – are to open this year.

The group is also developing The Al Habtoor Polo Resort with a St Regis property in Dubailand and a new Metropolitan Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road.

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