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SOLD: Lowry Hotel 'Lacked International Business'

City's first five-star hotel changes hands for around £40m

Written by . Published on September 4th 2014.

SOLD: Lowry Hotel 'Lacked International Business'

THE LOWRY hotel has been sold due to 'lack of international business markets', according to Richard Power, Communications Director for the hotel's former owner, Rocco Forte Hotels.

"Manchester has one of the largest airports in the world, but most international travel is business heading out to Abu Dhabi, or Dubai, or America. Not coming in."

"We haven't sold because the hotel was unprofitable," said Power. "We've reviewed the brand and decided to focus on hotels with larger international business and leisure markets."

"Manchester has one of the largest airports in the world," Power continued. "But most international travel is business heading out to Abu Dhabi, or Dubai, or America. Not coming in."

The city's first luxury five-star hotel, opened in 2001 on the Salford side of the River Irwell, has been bought by the Westmont Hospitality Group and its investment partner Mount Kellett Capital Management.

The fee remains undisclosed, but Confidential has been informed that the sum 'was in and around' the £40m mark.

The Lowry's current executive team will retain day-to-day management of the hotel. A refurb is expected.

The Lowry HotelThe Lowry Hotel

The Lowry first went up for sale only six years after opening, with the 165-bed hotel put on the market by Rocco Forte Hotels in 2007 for £50m. The hotel was taken off the market in 2013 following a lack of interest.

Come January 2014 and the hotel is back on the market with a 20% discount, this time valued at £40m. The hotel sold seven months later following the mark down.

We recently took a sneak peak around the hotel's most exclusive room, the Rocco Forte Suite, priced at up to £4,000 a night. The suite has reportedly welcomed the Beckhams, Beyonce, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, Tony Blair, Justin Timberlake and Robbie Williams.

The Rocco Forte SuiteThe Rocco Forte Suite

Sir Rocco Forte, Chairman of Rocco Forte Hotels, said:

“I am very proud that we created the Lowry as a first-class hotel in 2001 with an outstanding team and, in the process, played a role in the renaissance which Manchester has enjoyed in recent years. I wish the team at the Lowry, its customers, and its new owners the very best for the future.”

The hotel's buyers, Westmont Hospitality Group - founded in Canada in 1975 - are one of the world's largest hotel ownership and operations companies, with interests in over 500 hotels in three continents.

Across Europe, WHG holds ownership interests in more than 80 hotels consisting of approximately 14,000 rooms, their portfolio includes brands such as the Radisson Blu, Intercontinental, The Hilton, Crowne Plaza, Mercure and Holiday Inn hotels.

The Lowry shall remain part of The Leading Hotels of the World Collection.

The Lowry HotelThe Lowry Hotel

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16 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

DigsterSeptember 5th 2014.

The refurb is long overdue - was looking tatty and dated in some areas. Look forward to seeing it back at its best.

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

'"Manchester has one of the largest airports in the world, but most international travel is business heading out to Abu Dhabi, or Dubai, or America. Not coming in." Exactly! So why build Airport City?

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Jim MorrisonSeptember 5th 2014.

If you build it, they will come....

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

There are no significant 'powerbrokers' based here, so of course the international business traffic is only one way. Even Manchester's two football clubs are now effectively run from Abu Dhabi, America and London. (Want to see the chief executive of MUFC these day - then buy a plane ticket to London.) The BBC, ITV, Trinity Mirror may all have operations based here too, but nobody in Manchester has any say over whether these organisations stay & invest or whether they go. This region has no power and no say, that's the truth of it folks.

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

That's what people behind all white elephants say.

AnonymousSeptember 6th 2014.

The Lowry isn't a white elephant.

AnonymousSeptember 7th 2014.

Well the Lowry was built and 'they' haven't come have they, Jim?

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

£4k per night, dear me.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

I know. That's what a typical ManCon ranter is happy to pay for a meal :)

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

great hotel and will continue to be profitable

Karen StraffordSeptember 5th 2014.

I stayed here when it was first open, a treat for a night following a concert, I have to say it was very luxurious then. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Would love to stay again, I seem to recall a rather large bed! Xktx

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

It reflects the poverty of aspiration of the city generally,as reflected by the vision of men like Karney and Leese.The likes of Stringer And Bob Scott were aspirational about Manchester,they had a clear wish for Manchester to be like Barcelona and Lyon or Milan,the chief non capital cities in Europe.That means You need opera houses,world class museums and galleries.If you want five star hotels you need to appeal to the people who stay in five star hotels,which Manchester fails to do.The decline of high end retail in the city,especially on King Street again gives less reason for the wealth to visit.You may not like the wealthy,you may not care about things they like,but without their presence,there will not be the jobs that their presence creates,and you will Never attract events like the Olympics because like it or loathe it,these are the people who decide such matters.One of the chief reasons so many companies from the north move to London,with the consequent loss of head office jobs here,is because London offers a lifestyle appealing to the Managing Director and his wife.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

David! You're back! And churning out the same old rants like a broken record.

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

Auto Trader just shifted 650 into Manchester and have declared this their head office - and not London.

rinkydinkSeptember 5th 2014.

There are two other 5 star hotels with another being built so I beg to differ... There is obviously a market

AnonymousSeptember 6th 2014.

There is more high end retail in Manchester now than when King Street was at its peak.

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