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Savoy general manager plays down sale rumours

17 April 2009 by
Savoy general manager plays down sale rumours

The general manager of the iconic Savoy hotel in London has played down reports that the property is up for sale - but he did not rule out the eventuality.

The 120-year old hotel, which is currently undergoing an extensive £100m refurbishment, is owned by Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia, who bought the property in 2004 for an estimated £200m.

Alwaleed is reported be suffering "challenging" times, and is now looking to sell off assets, including The Savoy, according to The Times.

Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, in which the Prince's Kingdom Holding Company has a controlling stake, is said to be seeking buyers for its remaining hotel assets, while it is understood he may even be prepared to sell his stake in the company itself.

But Kiaran MacDonald, general manager of the Savoy hotel, told Caterersearch that he had not heard about a sale.

"Any hotel is up for sale at the right price, but I'm not aware of anything," he said. "It would be a very peculiar time to be considering selling any hotel in the process of a refurbishment. It would have to be a very distressing situation to trigger that.

"The reality is that our owners continue to be extremely supportive of the project's activity," MacDonald added.

The Savoy, which closed for refurbishment in December 2007, was due to re-open this May but this was put back until autumn in February. MacDonald admitted that "unforeseen costs" had continued to delay the development, but added that Fairmont hopes to re-open the hotel by the "final quarter of the year".

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By Gemma Sharkey

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