South African-based Leeu Collection, headed by Carrie Wicks, is to open a 100-bedroom hotel in London, after receiving planning permission to convert an office building in Fitzrovia.
Due to open on Newman Street in 2019, the hotel will become the second property for Leeu Collection in the UK, following its first acquisition outside South Africa on buying the four-AA-star, 30-bedroom Linthwaite House hotel, overlooking Lake Windermere, Cumbria, last year.
The company also owns three luxury boutique hotels in Franschhoek, South Africa. They include the 17-bedroom Leeu Estates retreat and winery, 12-bedroom Leeu House and 21-bedroom Le Quartier Français. In February it announced that it is to transform a former boarding school in Florence, Italy, into a 70-bedroom luxury hotel, which will open in 2021.
Wicks (pictured), who joined Leeu Collection as chief executive in October 2016 having left her previous role as operations director of Firmdale Hotels earlier in the year, said: "The purchase of a London property is a very exciting development for Leeu Collection, as it marks the first acquisition for the group in a major city, but it will certainly not be the last.
"Leeu Collection continues to seek hotel opportunities in key locations around the world that reflect the Leeu ethos of creating unrivalled escapes for discerning guests".
Leeu Collection is owned by Analjit Singh, who as the founder and former chairman of Max India, which has interests in insurance and healthcare, is one of India's richest entrepreneurs.
Property agent Colliers International, which handled the transaction, said the location of Leeu's acquisition, which is close to the new Elizabeth line interchange at Tottenham Court Road, is becoming "a really vibrant area with unparalleled access across central London".
Colin Hall, head of London hotels agency at Colliers international described the property as "the perfect building for a luxury hotel development with strong food and beverage potential, and will capture demand from both the corporate and leisure markets, all of which Leeu were very quick to recognise".