Hotels and hospitality

The hotel and hospitality market is seeing rapid activity and expansion due to increasing levels of investment from both corporates' and high net worth individuals.

Our extensive experience in the commercial aspects of luxury brands and the hotel and leisure sector has become an increasingly important area for our clients and one in which we now enjoy an enviable reputation.

Withers are widely regarded as leaders in this sector, and work with hotel owners as well as leading international, domestic and boutique hotel operators. Our clients can access a wide range of advice from site acquisitions, hotel portfolio and platform transactions, mixed-use developments, hotel leasing, hotel management agreements, franchise agreements, joint ventures and fund formation. We also offer integrated trust and tax planning advice, through our market leading tax and private client teams.

Hotel operators

We’re proud to represent major hotel operators like Marriott International on its appointment by CDL to operate Singapore’s 650-room South Beach hotel as a JW Marriott and a new build EDITION hotel in Singapore, as well as Kerzner International Resorts on its appointment to manage the Hayman Island Australia resort under its One&Only brand, and on One&Only Wolgan Valley.

Hotel owners and developers

We also act for hotel owners like Hang Lung on its negotiation of a management agreement with Hilton for a new build Conrad hotel in Shenyang, China, as well as an institutional investor on its sale of the luxury Nam Hai resort in Danang, Vietnam to HPL.

Private members’ clubs

Internationally, we advise leading private members’ clubs like Soho House on its international expansion of members’ clubs, hotels, restaurants, spas in various locations including Chicago, Miami, New York, London, Istanbul, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Hotel funds

Our funds team has strong experience serving hotel funds and REITs. For instance, we have advised Pro-invest Hotels Group on the capital raising, structuring, asset acquisition, development and hotel management arrangements for its ground-breaking fund, developing hotels in Australia and New Zealand under the Holiday Inn Express brand.

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London's opening of the year – The Ned


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Recognition

Clients

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Withers is a valued advisor for our Asia-Pacific operation, and has represented us on some major projects, including our JW Marriott hotel in Singapore and three W hotels across Australia. The firm’s hospitality team is market leading, with deep knowledge of the hotel industry.

Karin Trantallis - Marriott International
‘‘

Withers have advised on a range of business matters involving commercial joint ventures and real estate for Ralph Trustees Limited, as well as assisting in their own estate planning and personal tax matters. We very much appreciate the value of working with certain key people who we have known for many years within one firm.

Chris Andrews - Ralph Trustees (The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire)
‘‘

We turned to the Withers’ team for structuring and transaction advice on the acquisition of our first hotel in Australia.  We were attracted to the team’s expertise in all key aspects of the acquisition, their presence in Singapore and Australia, and their insider’s knowledge of the hotels and hospitality industry.

Puay Kuan Tay - Sing Holdings Inc
‘‘

Withers has provided effective advice for the procurement of construction and consultants contracts on our hotel in the City of London, The Ned.  The team are professional, knowledgeable and quick to identify problems and suggest solutions.  We have enjoyed working with them on this large scale project.

Stuart Adolph - Sydell Group
‘‘

Withers is our go-to firm for legal advice relating to our operations and development deals. With the firm’s international reach and experienced team we are always confident that our projects will be dealt with on time and that every legal issue will be identified and answered.

Guy Williams, COO - Soho House
‘‘

We have worked hard to create something special and poured a lot of love into the reputation and brand that we have created. We have always appreciated Celia and Withers support in protecting this thing that we hold very emotionally and financially precious and for their advice in challenging times.

Flat Iron Steak

Meet the team

Track record

Financing of acquisition of 93.5% stake in Grand Hotel Europe

We acted as counsel to IFC in connection with the financing of the acquisition by Orient Express Hotels of a 93.5% stake in St. Petersburg's historical Grand Hotel Europe. The deal marked the largest single property acquisition in Russia at that time and was the first ever acquisition financing by IFC in Russia.

Acquisition of a wine estate and hotel facility in Tuscany

We assisted a group of foreign investors with acquiring the largest wine estate and hotel facility in Tuscany, which included corporate due diligence in several jurisdictions and the setting up of the right tax structure for an Italian Special Vehicle company. We continue to assist with further purchases of land for the expansion of the winery.

Sale of the Four Seasons Hotel and Four Seasons Place in Shanghai

Represented SOCAM Development Limited in the sale of the Four Seasons Hotel and Four Seasons Place in Shanghai to B.M. Holding Group for ¥1.323 billion.

Management agreements with Accor Hotels

We advised Guocoland on its negotiation of management agreements with Accor Hotels for a 222 room Sofitel in the Tanjong Pagar Centre in Singapore and a 312 room Sofitel hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Acquisition of a Malaysian company for RM120 million

We advised on the acquisition of a Malaysian company with ownership of a well-known major hotel in Malaysia by a BVI registered investment holding company for RM120 million.

Capital raising, shareholders agreements, fund documents and various property investments for Pro-Invest

We advised Pro-Invest on capital raising, shareholders agreements, fund documents, various property investments and its interaction with InterContinental Hotels Group in relation to Pro-invest’s AU$300 million Holiday Inn Express fund in Australia.

Establishment of Indonesian local companies, management agreement and timeshare arrangements

We advised Wyndham on certain matters concerning the establishment of Indonesian local companies, a management agreement (and related agreements) and timeshare arrangements for the possible acquisition of Sakala, Bali Indonesia.

Management, license, and villas management and maintenance agreements for The Nam Hai, Hoi An Hotel in Vietnam

We advised American Indochina Resorts Ltd on the management agreement, license agreement, and villas management and maintenance agreement for The Nam Hai, Hoi An Hotel in Vietnam.

Marriott International management and related agreement negotiations for the Ritz Carlton in Perth

We advised Marriott International on its negotiations with Far East Consortium in relation to its management and related agreements for the new-build 204 room Ritz Carlton in Perth. This was the first Ritz Carlton hotel announced in Australia after a 15 year absence for the brand.

Shun Ho Property Investments Limited acquisition of Newton Inn for HK$1 billion

We represented Shun Ho Property Investments Limited, a public limited company incorporated in Hong Kong (Stock Code: 219), in the acquisition of Newton Inn for HK$1 billion.

State Bank of India in luxury hotel development

The Old War Office at 57 Whitehall, London is a prestigious and historic building. We were proud to act for State Bank of India in its client Hinduja Group's purchase of the site, which is to be converted into a luxury hotel.

Hyatt Regency hotel, Baku

The Hyatt brand is one of the world's largest hotel franchises. With plans to establish the first 5 star hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, Hyatt Regency requested the assistance of Withers to advise on the project. As the first of its kind in the area, Withers is proud to have helped set a precedent for future development in Baku.

Private club/hotel

In a transaction involving a private club/hotel, our lawyers advised on documenting a long term sale leaseback transaction for the development of a historic adaptive reuse project, including the purchase and sale agreement, lease, development agreement, construction contract and related documents.

Lease to a prime developer for Marriott Hotels

On behalf of owner, negotiated a 99 year unsubordinated ground lease to a prime developer for Marriott Hotels. In the process, increased the net present value of the parcel by 33% by aggressive use of comparable market data.

Longstanding client Pro-invest Group announces new hotels in Auckland as part of its partnership with IHG

The APAC hotels team has assisted Pro-invest Group to sign franchise agreements with Intercontinental Hotels Group for two 200 plus room hotels in Auckland, New Zealand – a Holiday Inn Express and a flagship EVEN hotel land, the first EVEN outside the five currently in North America. EVEN is IHG's new on-trend wellness lifestyle brand. Pro-Invest continues to roll out hotels as it deploys capital from its multi-million dollar hotel funds, on which we also advise.

Luxury hotel chain in Miami

Acting for a luxury hotel chain on the financing for the acquisition and re-development of their Miami Beach site.

Luxury hotel chain in California

Represented a luxury hotel chain in its expansion in California, assisting in the negotiations regarding the lease of prime space on the Pacific Coast Highway for its new beach club and the related acquisition of an existing liquor license from the controlling landlord entity.

Luxury hotel chain in Los Angeles

Assisted a luxury hotel chain in acquiring  a 50,000 square foot development property in downtown Los Angeles (which transaction included a bridge loan facility from a co-investor), as well as assisting the client with flipping the parcel to a third party purchaser (among multiple bidders) for a significant profit.

Luxury hotel chain in Brooklyn

Assisted a luxury hotel chain with the completion of two new leases as part of its prestigious development in the trendy DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Argentinean hotel chain investment work

We provided thorough advice to an Argentinean hotel chain on tax optimizing its global structure for US investment and expansion. This included extensive pre-IPO planning, interim financing structuring, a review of the fund documents and the creation of convertible notes for a special class of investors.

Pro-invest Hotels Group

We are advising Pro-invest Hotels Group on its Cayman fund, developing hotels in Australia and New Zealand under InterContinental Hotel’s Group’s Holiday Inn Express brand.

Commercial agreements for hotel developer in Dubai

Advising a hotel developer, Dubai, UAE in respect of the appointment of Starwood as an operator of its upscale hotel under the Aloft brand, including the negotiation of the hotel management agreement and a suite of concomitant agreements.

Advising a Dubai real estate developer in three hotel projects

Advising a major real estate developer in Dubai, in relation to the appointment of Millennium & Copthorne an operator of three hotel projects in Dubai. This included the negotiation of the hotel management agreement, technical services agreement, corporate structuring of the client’s group for the purpose of the project, structuring and drafting of the rental pool agreement.

Royal Group

Advising Royal Group on its proposed acquisition of the leasehold interest and improvements on Vagaru Island, Shaviyani Atoll, Republic of the Maldives.

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