UK, Middle Eastern JV buys luxury hotels for $1.15bn

Three buyers teamed up to purchase London’s Grosvenor House and a majority interest in the Plaza from an Indian conglomerate.

A group of Middle Eastern and UK family offices are the new owners of London’s Grosvenor House and of a majority stake in New York’s Plaza Hotel.

London-based 3 Associates, a UK family office, led the unnamed consortium in buying the London hotel and a 70 percent interest in the Plaza from Indian conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar for $1.15 billion, according to data provider Real Capital Analytics (RCA). Neither 3 Associates nor Sahara could be reached for comment at press time.

Sahara bought the 494-unit Grosvenor Hotel in December 2010 for $732.4 million, and the company acquired its interest in the Plaza for $575 million in November 2012, according to RCA. Sahara’s stake included 130 hotel rooms and 100 condominiums out of the property’s 152 total condos, as well as 100,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The new owners, which include two Middle Eastern family funds, plan to renovate the hotels and hold them long term, Bloomberg reported.

It was unclear when Sahara first put up the hotels for sale, but it had been trying to sell the properties since at least November 2013, according to media reports.

3 Associates’ original bid, which was made earlier this year, included New York’s Dream Downtown hotel, along with the Plaza and Grosvenor House. The Dream Downtown and the Plaza were both part of a cross-collateralized loan on which Sahara defaulted in 2015, according to Bloomberg. Qatar Investment Authority also bid for the three properties, but the sovereign wealth fund dropped its offer in September, according to the Financial Times. The newspaper reported that 3 Associates cut the Dream Downtown in a revised September bid.

3 Associates manages £285 million ($355.8 million, €336.5 million) in assets, according to its website. The firm has invested in hotels, office and retail real estate in the UK, India and the United Arab Emirates.