Although luxury hospitality group Belmond has been plagued by financial woes, robust demand for upscale properties could make Belmond an attractive acquisition for the right buyer.
The company recently stated that it was exploring strategic options.
“Global investors, in light of low interest rates, high valuations and a scarcity of quality assets, appreciate the enduring value of luxury real estate,” said Belmond chairman Roland Hernandez on an Aug. 9 call with investors. He added that “the marketplace for luxury hotels today is very strong.”
Belmond’s stable includes some 45 restaurants, hotels, trains and river cruises across more than 20 countries. Among the group’s more famous holdings are the Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice and the Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro as well as the 21 Club restaurant in New York and Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train service in Europe. (The company previously operated its hotels under the Orient-Express banner but rebranded them with the Belmond name in 2014, retaining the Orient Express brand solely for its Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train.)
Many of the group’s properties hold historical cachet, with part of the Belmond Hotel Cipriani property, for example, dating back to the 15th century.
Given Belmond’s sprawling portfolio, hospitality consultant Bjorn Hanson predicted last week that major hotel groups would find an acquisition of the entire business unwieldy.