LUXURY HOTELS

Dorchester Collection plans to expand to Hong Kong and other Asian cities

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 November, 2013, 4:40am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 November, 2013, 4:40am

Dorchester Collection is seeking to add to a group of hotels that have hosted guests from Marilyn Monroe to Queen Elizabeth by opening properties in New York and Asia.

"Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore are cities where we'd like to be represented," Christopher Cowdray, chief executive officer of the Brunei Investment Agency-owned company, said. "We would like to be in New York and that's really our key focus."

Dorchester Collection is planning properties in Asia as competitors do the same, pushing down luxury hotel occupancy rates and prices.

In Beijing, the average daily rate at luxury hotels fell 3.7 per cent in the first nine months from a year earlier, as occupancy dropped 6 per cent and the number of rooms rose 2.7 per cent, according to data compiled by researcher STR Global. In New York, the average daily rate rose 5.2 per cent, while the number of rooms fell 0.7 per cent.

Dorchester Collection owns 10 hotels, including the London property where Queen Elizabeth had dinner before her engagement was announced, and where her husband, Prince Philip, had his stag party, according to the company's website. The Beverly Hills hotel hosted Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne and Frank Sinatra, among others.

The London-based company has hotels in Los Angeles, Paris, Rome and Geneva. Dorchester Collection owned the New York Palace Hotel before selling it to Northwood Investors in 2011. The hotel company has never had a property in Asia, spokeswoman Julia Record said.

Unlike most of its properties, the new hotels would carry the Dorchester name, Cowdray said.

"The existing hotels have strong brand names. It would be sacrilege to destroy that," he said.

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