One of London's most prominent four-star hotels, the Cavendish,is to be transformed into serviced residences under the name Ascott St James London after being sold for £158.8m.
The 230-bedroom property in Jermyn Street, Mayfair, has been offloaded by Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay - the owners of the Ritz hotel - to Singapore-based company Ascott, who will manage the hotel from the fourth quarter of 2012.
Ascott currently operates six serviced residences in the capital - Ascott Mayfair, Citadines Prestige Trafalgar Square, Citadines Prestige Holborn-Covent Garden, Citadines Prestige South Kensington, Citadines Barbican and St Marks.
The acquisition of the Cavendish will enhance the group's presence in Europe where it manages more than 5,000 units across 45 properties in 20 cities. Worldwide, it operates 22,000 units.
Chong Kee Hiong, chief executive of Ascott, said that demand for international-class serviced residences was growing in London from both business and leisure travellers.
"This is an attractive opportunity to acquire a quality operating property which is strategically located in the prestigious Mayfair area. We see the potential to transform this property into one of the best luxury serviced residences in London."
Meanwhile, Tan Choon Kwang, Ascott's managing director for Europe, said: "Ascott The Residence is our flagship brand that provides guests with discreet and unmatched personalised services in an exclusive environment. It is the perfect brand for this prime hotel."
Ascott, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CapitaLand, operates three brands - Ascott, Citadines and Somerset.
The sale of the Cavendish, which was bought by the Barclay brothers in 2006 for £100m, was arranged by property agent Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.
By Janet Harmer
E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs
Blogs on Catererandhotelkeeper.com
Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our E-newsletters