If the Barclay brothers sell the Ritz Hotel for the rumoured £800m to a consortium of Saudi Arabian families it will have increased in value by 150 times in almost 50 years.
Stephen Potel, consultant at Whitebridge Hospitality, sold the hotel in 1971 for approximately £6m gross, against the anticipated world-record-breaking price this year of £6m per key.
The brothers paid £75m for the Hotel in 1995 and have since spent around £40m refurbishing. It comprises 111 rooms and 25 suites.
Potel told us: “When I started in the hotel industry in 1970 the first deal I was involved with was The Ritz Hotel. It was sold by the Bracewell Smith family who also owned the Park Lane Hotel and a major stake in Arsenal football club to Nigel Broackes and Victor Matthews of Trafalgar House PLC. They bought it for around £6m and now the Barclay brothers are selling it for over £6m a key. That price is remarkable, but it probably includes the casino and it shows that the London hotel market continues to offer the best asset appreciation you can buy.”
Potel has since enjoyed a successful career in the sector, including selling The Londonderry hotel in London three times. But while The Ritz continues to gain value, some things never change. He said: “The hotel, travel and tourism industry is the biggest industry in the world and the fastest-growing industry in the world and the largest employer in the world and that was as true 50 years ago as it is today.
“I’m not sure what global warming and related issues will have on the sector, but other than those qualifications, I can only see it going one way.”