Langham Hotels owner buys New York's Setai for $229 million

One of New York's newest luxury hotels now has a new owner—and, soon, a new name. Great Eagle Holdings Ltd., which owns Langham Hotels, has agreed to buy The Setai Fifth Avenue, near the Empire State Building, for $229 million as it continues its expansion overseas. The sellers of the hotel are subsidiaries of Bi & Di Real Estate SpA, a real estate development and trading company operating in Italy, Brazil, Mexico and Estonia.

The hotel, designed by New York architects Gwathmey Siegel & Associates with 157 rooms and 57 suites, in addition to private residences, has been managed under the Setai brand name since its opening in September 2010 by Capella Hotel Group. However, post sale, the hotel will reflag as a Langham Place, Langham's first hotel in New York and fourth in the U.S., effective January 2013

Great Eagle currently manages 28 hotels, including properties in London, Asia and three currently in the U.S., in Boston, Chicago and Pasadena, Calif.

Hong Kong-based companies, like Great Eagle, are anxiously looking to acquire hotels abroad as hotels in Asia becoming increasingly expensive with lower yields.

Consider the April sale of the Novotel Nathan Road Kowloon Hong Kong. The hotel was sold by LaSalle Asia Opportunity Fund II to Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital Partners and CSI Properties for $305 million—the biggest sale in Hong Kong in more than 10 years. 

Earlier this month, Dorsett Hospitality sold the Dorsett Regency Hong Kong for HK$800 million, or roughly $103 million, on September 28. 

In general, the Hong Kong hotel market is booming. Total visitor arrivals to Hong Kong amounted to 11.4 million in the last quarter of 2011, reflecting a 16.7 percent year-on-year increase and setting a new record for visitor arrivals in a single quarter. 

As far as hotels go, the luxury market in Hong Kong had record revenue per available room performance for the majority of 2011, with November seeing the second-highest monthly RevPAR performance on record. In 2012 the expecation is for Hotel Kong to open 29 new hotels representing 5,854 rooms.

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