Grand Hotels: A History of Blockbuster Hotel Sales
As New York's Waldorf Astoria prepares to change hands, check in for some other marquee hotel transactions.
The Waldorf Astoria (New York)
Although a bit musty, the Waldorf remains one of Manhattan’s most fabled hotels. Still, some blinked this month when news broke of how much the Chinese company Anbang Insurance Group would pay Hilton Worldwide Holdings for the Park Avenue warhorse. A thorough renovation may help justify that record-setting hotel price tag.
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
Closed: May 2014
With a young, raffish spirit—inescapable TV ads insist the hotel and casino has “just the right amount of wrong”—the Cosmopolitan made its mark among revelers on the Strip. Unfortunately the four-year-old, $3.9B complex never turned a profit for Deutsche Bank, which unloaded it to Blackstone Group as the PE behemoth expanded into the casino sector.
The Helmsley Park Lane
Closed: November 2013
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust sold this Central Park South hotel to a Witkoff Group-led partnership including Hong Kong’s Jynwel Capital, Highgate Holdings and Macklowe Properties. Witkoff is mulling future uses—rumors include a residential or mixed-use conversion—but for now it’s been rebranded the Park Lane New York and remains a lodging.
The Plaza Hotel (New York)
Closed: July 2012
The Indian conglomerate Sahara Group bought what may be New York’s most beloved hotel for $105M less than what Elad Properties spent on it in 2004. Elad’s divisive $400M condo conversion at the property—382 guest rooms remained—hit several well-publicized snags. The bad luck followed Sahara, which is desperate to sell the property as its leader, Subrata Roy, sits in a New Delhi jail while accused of heading a $4B investment scam.
Park Hyatt New York
$390M August 2014 Hyatt initially wanted a two-thirds stake in the 210-room hotel inside Extell’s (in)famous One57 skyscraper. But in August the Chicago-based hospitality giant went all the way with a 100% stake that allowed for an all-cash purchase of what’s aiming to be a five-star property complete with music piped into the indoor pool direct from nearby Carnegie Hall.
The Beverly Hills Hotel
Back in the ‘80s a revolving door of owners included insider trader Ivan Boesky and oil tycoon Marvin Davis, who in ‘87 sold it to the Sultan of Brunei. The pink stucco jewel remained synonymous with Hollywood glamour for decades following the trade. But Brunei’s recent clampdown on gay rights has led to an embarrassing, celebrity-led boycott here and at the sultan’s other Dorchester Collection properties.
The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco
Thayer Lodging Group scooped up this luxe 336-key trophy from Host Hotels & Resorts, the biggest American hotel REIT. The buyer plans a $17M renovation of the standout in the City by the Bay, which Bloomberg reported is the country’s fourth priciest hotel market, trailing only New York, Miami and Oahu.