x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Qatar checks in at W Leicester Square

The W hotel in London has been sold to a Qatari investor for about £200 million.

The W hotel, which opened in February, is being sold by the Northern Ireland-based developer McAleer & Rushe. Simon Dawson / Bloomberg News
The W hotel, which opened in February, is being sold by the Northern Ireland-based developer McAleer & Rushe. Simon Dawson / Bloomberg News

The W hotel in Leicester Square, one of London's most high-profile recent openings, will be sold to an unnamed Qatari-based investor for close to £200 million (Dh1.1 billion).

The luxury 192-room property that opened in February is being sold by McAleer & Rushe, a developer based in Northern Ireland.

The W London hotel, said to have already become a popular hangout for celebrities, is located on the corner of Leicester Square and Wardour Street, on the site of the former Swiss Centre.

Jones Lang LaSalle, which advised on the sale along with Steerforth Partners, said the purchase price reflected a net initial yield of almost 4 per cent. In addition to the hotel, managed by Starwood, the building also houses 11 luxury two and three-bedroom penthouse residences and a 35,000 square foot M&M's World sweet shop.

"The W hotel received a lot of interest from international investors and is the latest evidence that the market for prime central London property remains very robust," said Robert Millar, the investment partner at Steerforth Partners.

Qatari investors have poured a substantial amount of funding into London's property market.

London's Olympic Village was sold in a US$903m (Dh3.31bn) deal last month to Qatari Diar and the British developer Delancey.

Qatari Diar paid £959m for the Chelsea Barracks site in London in 2008, at the time the largest amount paid for property in the city.

The Shard, the tallest tower in the UK, is majority owned by Qatari investors including Qatar National Bank. Qatar Holding last year bought the London department store Harrods.

"London remains the focus for global capital and this sale reinforces the international appeal of London for real estate investors, recognising the long-term strength of the London hotel market," said Jon Hubbard, the managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. The current lack of stock continues to drive competition for good quality assets."

Hotel property transactions worldwide surged by 140 per cent last year to $24.3bn following a difficult year in 2009 as the tourism sector was hit hard by the global downturn.

rbundhun@thenational.ae