With deals few and far between in this period of recalibration in private real estate, there is more than one reason why Henderson Park Capital’s exit of the Westin Paris – Vendôme stands out.
The London-based firm has sold out to joint venture partner Dubai Holding, the real estate company that manages the personal investment portfolio of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. The deal is believed to value the hotel at approximately €650 million.
Previous owner GIC, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, sold the hotel to the venture in 2018 for €550 million. Although a profit was thus achieved, the Financial Times reported the hotel was ‘discreetly’ put on the market for €800 million last year.
The hotel has 440 rooms and amenities, including three restaurants and bars, a fitness studio, a spa and several ballrooms for hosting meetings or events. Situated in a luxury shopping district, the building also boasts 13 retail units at street level.
Dubai Holding will continue to operate the 340,000 square foot hotel in partnership with the Marriott International Group and will “begin to consider future plans for the property” after the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Henderson Park managing director Christophe Kuhbier described the Westin Paris as “an irreplaceable property in a landmark location in one of the world’s best hotel cities.” Its location in the first arrondissement is indeed considered ultra-prime: the hotel faces out to the historic Jardin des Tuileries and is a short walk from the world-famous Musée de Louvre.
This is not to mention its Haussmannian architectural grandeur and historical pedigree. When the building opened in 1878, the originally named Hôtel Continental was designed to welcome visitors to the World Fair Exhibition. It remained the largest, and was considered the most luxurious, hotel in Paris for decades.
Together with prime ministers and royalty, notable guests of the hotel have included Empress Eugénie, the wife of Napoleon III, who lived in the hotel for over 20 years while her husband was in exile in England. The famed French author Victor Hugo also celebrated several of his birthdays with banquets in the Imperial Salon.
In the 20th century, the hotel was used as a French military hospital during the First World War and hosted important political meetings during the second.
Although tourist hotspots such as Paris suffered during covid, research by broker JLL reports that European hotel occupancy recovered 89 percent in 2022 relative to 2019 levels. The report expects cross-border investment to increase this year, with Asian and Middle Eastern investors targeting assets in gateway cities such as London and Paris.
If the walls at the Westin Paris – Vendôme could talk, they would reassure you that history and legacy still have value in the modern property world.
1878: Opened as Hôtel Continental, the largest hotel in Paris
1969: Hotel purchased by InterContinental Group and renamed the InterContinental Paris
2005: GIC purchases property for €315 million and rebrands it to Westin Paris
2018: Henderson Park and Dubai Holding purchase hotel for €550 million
2023: Dubai Holding buys Henderson Park’s stake and takes full ownership of hotel