The 1964 Le Vendôme hotel in Beirut was just sold to investors from Qatar for $35 million. The deal was short of the original asking price by millions of dollars.
According to Business News Lebanon, the Qatari investors are linked to the ruling family, “specifically Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, former ruler and father of the current Emir.”
Apparently, the 73-room boutique hotel had been originally offered for $70 million even before the crisis shaking Lebanon’s economy today. It was ultimately sold for half the asking price.
Based on Business News Lebanon, the hotel’s shares were taken over by Bank Audi and BankMed in 2016 as security to a loan that amounted to somewhere around $100 million.
The hotel’s owners were given two years to repay the loans and take back the shares but failed to do so.
Since 1974, the luxury hotel became under the responsibility of La Société des Grands Hotels du Liban (SGHL), whose founder, Najib Salha, had built the Phoenicia hotel in 1953.
The Phoenicia hotel owners (aka Salha family) managed Le Vendôme, only ceasing operations in 1983 for around a decade until peace was restored after the Lebanese civil war.
Le Vendôme was managed in partnership with InterContinental Hotels and Resorts between 1995 until 2020.
Now, it is off to a new life in the hands of its Qatari investors, who have their eye on the crumbling Lebanon.
According to The Wall Street Journal, on January 21st, 2019, the Qatari government pledged to invest in Lebanon’s “ailing economy by buying $500 million’s worth of government bonds,” to challenge “Saudi Arabia’s role as Beirut’s financial patron.”
Lebanon is a special haven for citizens of the Arab Gulf countries, many of whom have spent time and money vacationing in this small, vibrant, and lively Mediterranean paradise on earth.