The owner of the Capital hotel in London's Knightsbridge is keen to buy a second property in the capital as well as expand into the regions.
Richard Chiu, president and chief executive of Warwick Hotels & Resorts, who bought the five-red-AA-star, 49-bedroom in January 2017 from the Levin family, told The Caterer that his main focus outside London would be Manchester, followed by Edinburgh.
"I started in business as a real estate person and the location is always the most important factor when buying a property," he said. "The strong attraction of the Capital was its location, alongside its reputation and the very nice clientele and service standards built up by the Levin family. Because of Brexit and the value of the pound, the timing of the acquisition was also very favourable for us.
"The size of a new hotel could be anything from 75 to 500 bedrooms, it could be a conversion or a new build. A good location is more important than anything else and it is the one thing that all of our hotels have in common."
Warwick Hotels & Resorts, which has its headquarters in Paris, comprises 9,000 bedrooms worldwide across more than 50 hotels made up of 20 fully owned properties, 12 under management contracts and 20 affiliate hotels, which tap into the group's reservations, sales and marketing systems. The company was founded by Chiu in 1980 when he bought his first hotel, the Warwick, in New York.
Chiu said that around £2m had been spent on improvements at the Capital and adjacent businesses, the 12-bedroom Levin hotel and adjacent apartments, since their acquisition for an undisclosed sum. The apartments have been refurbished and a three-bedroom apartment added, alongside the decoration of the Levin lobby and Capital bar.
Interior designer Tony Filmer is currently working on a prototype for two new bedrooms at the Capital, which will inform the refurbishment of all the hotel's bedrooms.
Chiu said that no decision had yet been taken on a replacement for the restaurant, Outlaw's at the Capital, which will close at the end of March. "We are currently in discussion with chefs in the UK, and in the meantime things will carry on much as before with a focus on seafood and some of our chefs from France in place."
The Capital is now run on a day-to-day basis by general manager Louis Vanheusden, who is also vice-president of Warwick Hotels & Resorts. He took over from Joanne Taylor-Stagg, who left the hotel after six months and is now general manager of the five-red-AA-starred, 164-bedroom Athenaeum Hotel & Residences on Piccadilly, London.