HK’s Great Century Buys the Fairmont St Andrews hotel and golf course

Main Photo: The Fairmont St Andrews

Date: December 2019

Location: St Andrews, Scotland, UK

Name: The Fairmont St Andrews Hotel & Golf Course

No. of Keys: 212

Seller: The hotel was originally opened by US-based US entrepreneur Don Panoz in 2001 with a £50m investment, and was subsequently bought over by New York-listed real estate and private equity firm Ares Management, with FRHI Hotels & Resorts taking over the hotel’s management in 2006 on a 25-year contract.

The ownership of the hotel then changed hands again, being sold to Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate for £32.4 million in 2014, from SABD Holding, who also bought Dublin’s Portmarnock in June of the same year.

Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate bought the 209-room hotel and resort from privately-owned SABD Holding, although Fairmont Hotels and Resorts will continue to run it under a management agreement until 2031.

Buyer: Hong Kong investor Great Century has bought the Fairmont St Andrews hotel and golf course. The hotel will continue to be operated by Accor under a management agreement.

The hotel is Great Century’s first investment as it intends to build a portfolio of hospitality and golf assets. The 520 acre resort includes the 211 room hotel, conference space and two championship golf courses.

The 520-acre property includes a 212-bedroom hotel and two championship golf courses, The Kittocks and The Torrance, a ten-treatment room spa and five restaurants and bars.

It also boasts around 3,000 square metres of conference and event space and two private manor homes, each with four bedrooms.

The purchasers said they were “focusing on global investments within the golf and hospitality industries”.

Great Century co-chairman CYM Chan said: “As a member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club and a passionate golfer with over 30 years’ experience in the golf and hospitality industries, it is a privilege and an honour to participate closely in the future enhancement of this great property at St Andrews, Scotland, the home of golf.”

Fairmont St Andrews will host the final qualifier for the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club.

Great Century is a recently formed joint venture between Chan and Hong Kong conglomerate Lai Sun Group.

He added: “It is a privilege and an honour to participate closely in the future enhancement of this great property at St Andrews, Scotland, the home of golf.”

Financial details of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Peter Lam, chairman of Hong Kong conglomerate Lai Sun Group and co-chairman of Great Century, added: “I am extremely confident about the future potential that the Fairmont St Andrews holds. I am proud to be a partner in this long-term investment.”

Great Century engaged London & Oriental, Brodies and Ernst & Young to advise on the transaction, while Knight Frank advised Kennedy Wilson.

The move comes hot on the heels of the sale of another St Andrews hotel, with Scottish group Macdonald Hotels last month completing the sale of the landmark Rusacks Hotel to Chicago-based AJ Capital Partners.

John Keating, general manager of Fairmont St Andrews, said: “This partnership marks a special day for Fairmont St Andrews, bringing together the strengths, passions and vision of Great Century, Fairmont and Accor to create greater opportunities for the hotel in the domestic and international markets.”

Marc Dardenne chief operating officer of Accor Europe’s luxury brands arm said: “Fairmont St Andrews is one of the most prestigious addresses in Accor’s portfolio and we are delighted that it has become Great Century’s first investment.” He added that the group is hoping to “build on the property’s proud heritage”.

THPT Comment: Great move for the HK JV. The hotel has had a chequered start, but has settled down under Accor’s Fairmont stewardship.

First Seen: The Scotsman

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