The FINANCIAL — Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. on February 15 announced that it has closed on the sale of Hotel Imperial, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna to Al Habtoor Investment – the investment arm of UAE conglomerate Al Habtoor Group for $78.8 million USD. As part of the transaction, all rooms and suites of the iconic hotel will be renovated over the next four years. Hotel Imperial will continue to operate as part of The Luxury Collection brand under a new long-term management agreement.
Thomas Mangas, Chief Executive Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. said: “On the heels of exceeding our $800 million asset disposition target in 2015, the sale of Hotel Imperial underscores Starwood’s continued commitment to advancing our asset light strategy to create value for our shareholders. The Hotel Imperial is truly one of Europe’s most spectacular luxury properties and a perennial favorite among our loyal travelers.”
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Founder and Chairman, Al Habtoor Group, said: “Hotel Imperial is one of Europe’s most extraordinary luxury hotels and a premium addition to our growing global portfolio. We look forward to making further improvements to this legendary property and continuing to provide exceptional luxury hospitality to the next generation of luxury travelers.”
Hotel Imperial is the fifth Starwood property in the Group’s portfolio of 14 world-class hotels, joining the newly opened The St Regis Dubai, as well as the upcoming W Dubai – Al Habtoor City, The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City and The St. Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club, according to Starwood.
Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood, added: “This transaction expands our relationship with Al Habtoor Group, and we are thrilled to work closely together with them to ensure the continued success of Hotel Imperial. Starwood remains keenly focused on selling its owned properties to the right long-term partners, and we see strong interest in our remaining assets from a broad array of high-quality investors from around the world.”
Built in 1863 as Prince Philipp of Württemberg’s Viennese residence, Hotel Imperial was transformed into a hotel to accommodate visitors of the 1873 World’s Fair. Situated on the iconic Ringstrasse (Ring Boulevard) in the city’s center, Hotel Imperial occupies a prime location at Kärntner Ring 16. The luxury hotel is next to the legendary Musikverein concert hall and a short walk from attractions such as the Vienna State Opera, Kunsthistorisches Museum and Secession Building.
Michael Wale, President of Starwood for Europe, Africa and Middle East concluded: “We are delighted to extend our relationship with the Al Habtoor family, with whom we are launching Starwood’s largest hospitality project in the Middle East this year. Hotel Imperial was one of the first Luxury Collection hotels and its full restoration together with our partners will reinforce the majestic heritage of this historic hotel as we continue to provide global explorers with indigenous experiences in Vienna.”
The residence of choice for royalty and high society visiting Vienna for more than 140 years, Hotel Imperial features 138 guestrooms including 59 suites. In 2014, the hotel completed a $14 million restoration of its ground floor, which includes the landmark lobby, a signature restaurant, destination bar, Cafe Imperial and Imperial Torte shop, and private event venues spanning more than 4,000 square feet.