Dorchester Seeks to Add Luxury Hotels From New York to Asia

Dorchester Collection is seeking to add to a group of hotels that have hosted celebrities from Marilyn Monroe to Queen Elizabeth II 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 in a Bloomberg Television interview. “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. Marriott International Inc. opened six Ritz-Carltons in Asia in October, while Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., owner of the luxury St. Regis and W brands, said in September it plans to open 177 hotels in the region within four years.

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

Famous Guests

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 bachelor 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 LLC in 2011. The hotel company has never had a property in Asia, spokeswoman Julia Record said by phone.

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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