Claridge’s owner plans to more than double hotel portfolio

BERLIN — Maybourne Hotel Group – which owns world-famous London hotels Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley – has revealed ambitious expansion plans to more than double its hotel portfolio.

Speaking at the International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF) at the InterContinental Berlin today (17 May), Maybourne’s co-CEO Marc Socker said the group had a “really exciting pipeline” of properties in key gateway cities. This included hotel openings in Paris and Miami in the coming years, a management contract in Asia, and an opportunity in New York being explored.

“We’d like to end up with maybe 15 hotels, maybe 10-12 branded residences, we’re looking at that very seriously,” Socker told Alexi Khajavi, president – travel, hospitality and wellness, Questex.

“We’ll be very selective. We’re not going to grow for growth’s sake. We don’t want to dilute what we’ve got.”

He said that management agreements were a priority for the business and suggested its portfolio could eventually become 50 per cent managed, 50 per cent owned.

The luxury hotel operator sits in a resilient segment of the hospitality industry post-pandemic which has seen soaring rate growth, and while pre-Covid-19, an ADR of above £1,000 for Claridge’s was “a good week… now, if we don’t get an ADR of £1,000, we worry”, said Socker.

However, he emphasised the importance of investing in staff as well as the physical product to ensure guest expectations of luxury service are met. Claridge’s recently completed a huge seven-year renovation project which saw the Grade II-listed property remain open while adding five underground floors including the hotel’s first spa.

“When we spend all of this money on our product, we also have to make sure we’re spending money on staff welfare,” said Socker.

“You need to provide great product and great physical conditions, but at the end of the day, that’s nothing unless you provide great service… There’s a lot of luxury supply coming into the market, especially in London, so we have to keep on our toes.”

Maybourne Hotel Group recently announced it would be opening its first new London hotel in 50 years this winter, The Emory. The hotel will join its existing portfolio of five-star hotels to become the group’s fourth hotel in the English capital and its sixth in total, adding to its two international properties The Maybourne Beverly Hills and The Maybourne Riviera on France’s Côte d’Azur.

For the year to 31 December 2021, the Qatari-owned group reported turnover of £12.9m million and a pre-tax loss of £5.7 million.