Ritz London owners in discussions to sell hotel to Saudi private investment group

The Barclay brothers are reported to be in negotiations to sell the Ritz London to Saudi private investment group, Sidra Capital.

The group, which is based in Jeddah and represents Saudi Arabian families, is one of several parties to have expressed interest in the five-red-AA-star, 136-bedroom hotel, the Financial Times reports.

Last year it was reported that the Barclay family was looking at options to off-load the hotel for around £800m, almost £5.9m per bedroom. The price tag would make it the most expensive UK hotel sale in history.

Carine Bonnejean, managing director, hotels, Christie + Co, told The Caterer that while she does not have direct knowledge of the negotiations, the talk within property circles is that steps to sell the Ritz are progressing. “We expect it to be one of a number of major hotel transactions that will take place in London this year. The likelihood is that the buyer will be from overseas,” she said.

The Barclay family, headed by twins Sir David and Sir Frederick, bought the hotel in 1995 through its company Ellerman Investments for £75m from Trafalgar House. In the intervening years, the family has since bought and sold the Cavendish London hotel and last year acquired the Beaumont hotel after Corbin & King relinquished the lease to freeholder Grosvenor.

In the most recent financial results for the Ritz London, lodged at Companies House, the hotel reported a 2.2% increase in turnover to £47.08m, with a pre-tax profit of £7.03m down from £12.8m the previous year.

Last year, the hotel was the focus of a four-part ITV documentary Inside The Ritz Hotel in which executive chef John Williams, who heads the hotel’s one-Michelin-starred restaurant, played a starring role.

The Ritz London was launched by legendary Swiss hotelier César Ritz in 1906, with French chef Auguste Escoffier in the kitchen.

Emma Lake