It is believed the Savoy and Grosvenor House hotels in London could be bought by the Qatar Investment Authority.
According to The Times, the authority, which is controlled by Qatar's ruling Al Thani family, is one of the world's richest sovereign wealth funds. It was set up in 2005 to invest the huge wealth created by the country's extensive gas reserves.
Now, it is understood that the authority is in discussions to buy a one-third stake in the Savoy hotel, as well as being one of the final bidders for the 494-bedroom Grosvenor House, which was put on the market by the Royal Bank of Scotland for up to £600m earlier this year.
The 268-bedroom Savoy, which has been closed for a £100m-plus refurbishment since December 2007 and is due to reopen this autumn, is currently owned in a joint venture between the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and HBOS. It is operated by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
By Janet Harmer
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