Starwood Hotels & Resorts Group has sold two trophy assets in Florence – the St Regis and the Westin – to a Qatari investor in a deal worth approximately €190million.
Nozul Hotels & Resorts Group bought the 99-room St. Regis Hotel and the Westin Excelsior Hotel, with 171 rooms; two of the city’s finest five-star properties.
The deal comes as many of the world’s major hotel operators continue to sell off properties in a bid to become ‘asset light’, allowing more time for brand building.
“Florence is one of the most active Italian luxury hotel markets, and this was a rare opportunity to invest in two of its most prestigious properties as part of Starwood’s stated strategy of exiting or transferring a number of its owned assets, “said Roberto Galano, Executive Vice President of JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group in Italy. JLL advised on the deal, leveraging existing relationships with both the buyer and the seller.
Florence is a thriving tourist hotspot with a good supply of luxury hotels and strong demand among travellers. Middle Eastern investors have shown increasing appetite for trophy hotel properties in recent years; Nozul Hotels & Resorts Group has been active in other parts of the Italian hotels market, having recently bought the Gritti Palace in Venice in a similarly high profile transaction.
Moreover, this deal is a show of strength in the recovering Italian economy.
“We are delighted to have supported a landmark transaction in the Italian investment market,” says Amr El Nady, vice president of JLL’s Global Hotel Desk in Dubai. “The transaction also highlights the sustained appetite from Middle East investors for high quality trophy hotel assets around the world, operated by the right strategic partner – in this case, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.”
Executive Vice President, JLL Hotels & Hospitality