London’s The Zetter Group Sold to Investor Orca Holding

Main Photo: The rooftop suite at the Zetter Hotel

Date: March 2021

Location: London, England, UK

Name: The Zetter Group – The Zetter Hotel, Clerkenwell and the Zetter Townhouses in Clerkenwell and Marylebone.

No. Keys: 59, 24 and 13 – 96 in total

Seller: Mark Sainsbury and Michael Benyan, who founded the group 18 years ago.

Buyer: The Zetter Group has been acquired by hospitality investor Orca Holding, a company founded by London-born Laith Ghaith Pharaon, who oversees the investments, business development and ongoing operations of Orca Holding worldwide.

Mr. Pharaon’s prior experience includes and asset management and development of a hospitality portfolio of hotels and resorts across the Mercosur region of Latin America.

From 1995 to 2006, Mr. Pharaon competed on an international level in Class 1 offshore powerboat racing. He was inducted in the American Power Boat Association’s (APBA) Hall of Champions, the highest honour for the sport, in 1996. Among his career wins were four Formula 1 World Championship races: U.S. Championship (1996); European and World titles (1997); Pole Position World Title (1998).

Orca has offices and investments across America, Asia and Europe, including the Little Beach House and Soho House, both in Barcelona, Casa del Mar in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, the Ozo and Shama brands of serviced apartments across Asia and the Middle East, many luxury residential projects and a stake in H.I.G. Capital Fund, HQ in New York.

Orca Holding now intends to retain and grow The Zetter Townhouse brand and is ‘actively looking’ to opening more properties in London and other key cities across the UK and Europe, such as Paris, Madrid and Amsterdam.

“We are extremely proud of the culture of The Zetter Group, the unique hospitality brands we created and the impact they had on London’s vibrant hotel, restaurant and cocktail scene. The fact that Orca Holding are passionate about The Zetter brand and have such exciting plans for its future, is great news for all involved and we wish them every success,” says Michael Benyan, Partner Urban Hotels LLP.

Laith Pharaon adds: “We see huge growth and development potential in The Zetter Group. This has been a difficult year for most hotels but the properties were previously achieving great success in their respective segments. This acquisition presents an opportunity for more strategic expansion of The Zetter brand and will benefit from Orca Holding’s global hotel development experience.”

Savills advised The Zetter Group on the transaction. Siggis Capital have been appointed to asset manage the group.

The Zetter Hotel opened its doors in Clerkenwell in 2004 and claimed to be London’s first boutique hotel to be designed and built using environmental principles, including it’s own 1,500 foot bore-hole which supplies the hotel with all it’s water.

Founder Mark Sainsbury went on to found the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

The Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell followed in 2011, a quirky 13-bedroom Georgian Townhouse. This was a departure from The Zetter Hotel concept and more like the private home of an ‘eccentric Great Aunt’ with a popular cocktail lounge on the ground floor.

The 24-bedroom Marylebone Zetter Townhouse opened in 2015.

THPT Comment: Looks like a great marriage with Orca’s deep knowledge of stylish and boutique getting it’s toehold into London, with Zetter. There was a Zetter planned for Manchester to open in 2019, but we don’t think that saw the light of day as yet

First Seen: Boutique Hotelier

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