Morgans Hotel Group Plans to Expand Into Brazil and London, CEO Says

Morgans Hotel Group Co. (MHGC), the New York-based operator of boutique hotels including the Royalton and Mondrian, plans to add properties in such places as Paris, Brazil and London, Chief Executive Officer Michael Gross said.

“We want to be in key gateway cities, and we want to be global,” Gross said in an interview. “We have good existing penetration in the U.S. in some of the markets we’re in, but I look at our footprint in Europe, such as London, and it is an open slate for us.”

Morgans, which has been selling some properties and using the proceeds to expand its management operations, plans to target gateway cities in Europe and South America, Gross said. The company said last month that it’s selling hotels in New York and Los Angeles, which it will continue to run.

“Our asset sales have created financial flexibility,” said Gross, who was appointed CEO in March. “Now that we’ve sold these three properties, we have the luxury to really be able to be patient and much more in control of our destiny.”

Morgans sold the Mondrian Los Angeles, a 237-room hotel on Sunset Boulevard that was developed by Ian Schrager, to Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (PEB) for $137 million. Last month, it agreed to sell the Royalton and Morgans hotels in New York to Felcor Lodging Trust Inc. (FCH) for $140 million.

Morgans -- which also manages the Hudson hotel in New York, the Delano South Beach in Miami and the Clift in San Francisco - - will continue to pursue its “asset-light” strategy, Gross said. The company is willing to acquire hotel stakes as part of its expansion, he said.

In London, Morgans already operates the luxury St. Martins Lane and Sanderson hotels.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at nbrandt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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