Qatar Airways acquires Sheraton Melbourne Hotel in Australia

The Sheraton Melbourne Hotel. Photo credit: Marriott International. (Qatar Airways added the Sheraton Melbourne Hotel to its growing hospitality portfolio following a $135-million deal.)

Qatar Airways has acquired the Sheraton Melbourne Hotel in a $135-million deal with Melbourne-based developer Golden Age Group.

The Sheraton opened in early 2014 through a long-term management agreement. Golden Age Group began accepting offers for the property last year after it acquired a nearby site from private developer Grocon for close to $75 million. Golden Age set plans with architectural firm Bates Smart to develop a 39-story residential building with 145 apartments as part of the mixed-use development. Golden Age Group entered a JV with Starwood Capital Group affiliates in November 2017 to operate a hotel scheduled to open within the mixed-use development in 2020. 

The airline has been expanding its hotel portfolio, which it operates through its hospitality arm Dhiafatina Hotels. The current lineup includes the Sheraton Skyline Hotel at Heathrow Airport in London, the Novotel Edinburgh Park in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Oryx Rotana Hotel in Doha, Qatar and the Airport Hotel at Doha's Hamad International Airport. The airline set plans in December 2017 to acquire approximately 50 hotels in the next five years. 

Akbar Al Baker, CE of Qatar Airways, Dhiafatina Hotels and the Hamad International Airport, announced last week that the group is eyeing opportunities to develop a five-star hotel in Canberra after the airline’s first flight landed in the capital thus month. However, Qatar Airways will only consider developing the hotel if the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly offers the company appropriately priced land. "We see there is potential for more five-star room nights [but] we would need to be provided real estate that is appropriately priced, I would prefer it to be free over say a 99-year or 100-year lease,” Al Baker said during a joint press conference with Andrew Barr, chief minister of the ACT.