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Arora buys Gatwick airport Le Meridien

22 July 2005

Gatwick airport's Le Meridien hotel has been sold by Compass Group to Arora International for £32m this week.

Surinder Arora, the company's chairman, plans to spend £8m refurbishing the hotel over the next three years, once Le Meridien's contract expires in October.

The 500-bedroom hotel will be rebranded as a Sofitel, although Restaurant Associates, Compass's fine-dining division, will continue to operate all the hotel's catering outlets.

Arora's latest purchase makes the company the largest hotel operator in the Gatwick area as it already owns and operates the 432-bedroom International hotel in Crawley.

"This has been an exciting month and we're delighted with our purchase," said Arora.

Arora International has also just finalised its deal with BAA Lynton to build and run the 600-bedroom hotel at Heathrow's Terminal 5, which will also be branded a Sofitel.

The hotel, due to open in 2008, will cost about £120m to build and will be directly linked to the terminal, have conference facilities for up to 1,500.

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