Mandarin Oriental, the Hong Kong-based operator of London's Ritz hotel, could lose its management contract on the five-star property.
Industry sources this week suggested that the reclusive Barclay brothers, who two weeks ago paid £75m for the 130-bedroom property, had decided to take direct control, as with their other London hotel, the Howard.
It is not known whether Brian Williams, who took over as general manager for Mandarin 18 months ago, would be retained by the Barclays. Mr Williams said Mandarin was "still in discussions with the new owners".
It is understood the Barclays are planning a substantial refurbishment of the Ritz, which could cost at least £70m.