For the most part the global hotel groups don’t actually own the hotels that operate under their brands, but rather they just have management contracts for them. That allows investors to come in and build the actual properties, and then groups like Marriott come in and manage the hotels in exchange for fees.
However, this isn’t always the case. The global hotel groups own some of their properties, often their “flagship” properties. Well, it has just been announced that one of the most iconic Marriott hotels has been sold.
The St. Regis New York has been owned by Marriott up until now, and prior to Marriott’s takeover of Starwood, was owned by them. Well, the St. Regis New York has been purchased by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund for $310 million.
St. Regis New York
This was the first-ever St. Regis, and also where the bloody mary was launched, which has become the signature drink at St. Regis properties around the globe.
I wouldn’t expect anything to change — the St. Regis will maintain the current branding, and ultimately this is more of a real estate transaction than anything having to do with the day-to-day operations of the hotel.
This is a way for Qatar to diversify their investments as they have to look beyond oil long term, and I imagine they view a prime piece of New York City real estate as a good investment.
Marriott likes to take an asset-light strategy, and presumably they felt like this was a good time to sell. The multi-hundred-billion-dollar Qatar sovereign wealth fund has been buying up hotels around the world. For example, last year they purchased the Plaza Hotel in New York for approximately $600 million, and they also own several iconic hotels in London.
So this move shouldn’t impact guests or cause any day-to-day changes for the St. Regis New York, though it is interesting to see such a famous hotel sold.