Qatar Buys The St. Regis New York

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

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.

  1. Apparently Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) owns the Roosevelt Hotel in New York and a Sofitel in Paris.

  2. @Dave I agree. Oil state investments have distorted the market. Look at Air Italy’s subsidies, and at all the money these states throw into Softbank’s vision fund, which throws money at companies such as Uber and WeWork in hopes of undercutting competitors and monopolizing markets.

  3. Considering townhouses and apartments on “billionaires row” are selling for $100-$200 million, $310 million sounds like a steal for an entire hotel, no?

  4. This is also another way for Qatar to thumb their noses at the Saudis and Emiratis who love the St. Regis and who no longer will be welcome there.

  5. I’m just waiting for them to put up those ridiculous Mideast style openwork room dividers in the lobby like they did at the Sheraton Skyline at LHR. Tacky; very tacky.

  6. Qatar Airways recent losses stem mostly from the political blockade the country itself is under, and the wealth funds continued efforts to park its money elsewhere is primarily rooted in trying as Lucky said to find diverse income outside of natural gas (Qatar’s main export is natural gas, not oil). Considering the insane ideas that the Saudi government is pursuing in its efforts to diversify outside of oil, buying up properties in actual strong tourism/business traveler markets makes far more sense.

  7. “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”

    Actually, while it is true that most hotels aren’t owned by the hotel groups, a lot of properties don’t even have a management contract but rather just a franchise agreement.

  8. Recent weekend stay. A brilliant hotel. Booked reservation when it was 60k/night, room (suite) assigned to us went for over $5k that night. A good redemption. I’m Gold.

  9. Hilarious to read comments from snowflakes like Dave and Mike trying to put Qatar investment in negative lights. Are you guys working for the Big 3? Loving these humid bretzels served in economy as a snack.

  10. @Dave, @Sam, the US has been doing the same for decades. And worse as they have also used war to their commercial advantage – very low in my opinion. The US has set the rules for the corporate world, so why can’t Qatar and others do their own legal investments in like manner?

  11. You are able to watch Al Djazeera info Channel in English in Europe but i heard not in the US anymore so hopefully St Regis ‘Hotel ‘visitors will be able to watch it because it is an excellent “independant” channel with brilliant Western & world journalists in my opinion.

  12. @Julia – Using the term snowflake is also a negative, and also “white people” code for racist/bigot/homophobic and xenophobia attacks…thinking the rest of us do not know this. Something for YOU to think about!.

    Many vile people come to this blog. Sad.

  13. @Jordan – Snowflake isn’t a remotely racist term… Yes, it’s a handy identifier as the people who use it are invariably ignorant morons, but it’s not racist.

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