Hands set to pick up Starwood hotels

The boutique hotel chain run by Julia Hands, the wife of private equity tycoon Guy Hands, is close to securing a £120m deal to buy 15 hotels from Starwood Capital.

Hand Picked Hotels is the frontrunner to buy a portfolio of De Vere Hotels, Principal Hayley and Four Pillars, which the US private equity giant appointed Christie + Co to sell in February.

The original portfolio, known as Project Milan, was offered as 19 hotels. However, Hands and Starwood Capital are understood to be in advanced negotiations for a deal that would see Starwood keep four of the assets originally offered, along with the 16 Principal Hayley and 12 De Vere hotels it decided not to include in the portfolio.

The 10 hotels being sold comprise 1,460 bedrooms and 162,000 sq ft of conference space. Each is held freehold and will be sold without management or branding contracts.

If the deal goes through it will boost the Hand Picked Hotel portfolio to 36 properties.

It would be the largest deal undertaken by Hand Picked since its inception in 1999 and the first it has undertaken since the £15m acquisition of the 123-bedroom Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa in St Helier from RBS last year.

It comes as the company’s latest filed accounts, for the year ended 28 November 2013, show turnover fell from £59.9m to £58.1m, while pre-tax losses increased from £6.9m to £9.1m.

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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