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Highgate Buying Luxury Hotel Operator Viceroy

National Hotel
Viceroy Hotel Group CEO Bill Walshe at a Bisnow event in January 2018.

Highgate, the fourth-largest hotel management company in the U.S., is upping its stake in the luxury lifestyle market with a deal to acquire Viceroy Hotels & Resorts.

New York-based Highgate, with $20B of assets under management, entered into a agreement to purchase Los Angeles-based Viceroy for an undisclosed sum, the company announced Thursday. Viceroy, which launched in 2000 with the Viceroy Santa Monica, has since built a chain of luxury-branded hotels under the monikers of the Icon Collection, Lifestyle Series and Urban Retreats across the globe, including hotels in places like Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Mexico's Riviera Maya and Serbia.

The company plans to open Viceroy at Ombria Resort Algarve in Portugal next year and Viceroy Bocas Del Toro Panama in 2024.

“This deal will accelerate our momentum, and solidify our position as the leading modern luxury lifestyle brand in our space," Viceroy CEO Bill Walshe said in a statement. 

Highgate principal Richard Russo said the company intends to add “brand-accretive hotels” to Viceroy’s portfolio moving forward. Highgate owns or manages more than 500 hotels in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, encompassing 84,000 rooms.

“Imparting the benefits of Highgate’s scale, we will be able to provide significant incremental value to associates, guests, owners and partners,” Russo said in the release.  

Highgate has been looking to adjust its portfolio to include more luxury and lifestyle-branded hotels since last year. In November, Highgate and partner Cerberus Capital Management sold an 80% stake in 89 select-service and extended-stay hotels, including brands run by Marriott and Hilton, at a transaction valued at more than $1B to Flynn Properties and the investment fund Varde Partners.

The Viceroy deal comes as  global luxury hotels are expected to see a continued surge in revenues. Valued at more than $90B in 2021, the global luxury hotel market is projected to grow to $238.4B by 2030 driven by rising disposable incomes, low-cost airline service and the popularity of the “weekend culture,” according to an October report by the market research firm Spherical Insights & Consulting.

“The rise in spending power and the style of living are two of the most important factors driving people to luxury resorts,” Spherical Insights stated in the report. “Travelers are increasingly opting for a luxury lifestyle throughout their vacations or holidays.”