Queen’s hotel bought by Dubai state firm

LONDON, Feb 7, 2008 (AFP) – A property fund backed by an investment arm of the Dubai government bought prime west London property from the Queen’s portfolio, the monarch’s property managers announced on Wednesday. Its revenues from its assets are paid to the finance ministry. The Crown Estate, which manages Queen Elizabeth II’s real estate, said in a statement on its website that it had sold the Metropole building and 10 Whitehall Place to a consortium led by International Hotel Investments (IHI) for 130 million pounds (174 million euros, 255 million dollars).

One of IHI’s principal shareholders is Istithmar, the investment arm of state-owned tourism company Dubai World.

“IHI’s bid stood out from a strong field of competitors with a proposal to refurbish the building rather than rebuild behind the existing facade,” Charles Gardner, the head of office portfolio at The Crown Estate, said in the statement.

“We were impressed by IHI’s track record and are confident that they will restore the once grand Metropole Hotel to its former glory.”

The Metropole was constructed in the 1880s and was once one of the capital’s most trendy hotels, but was requisitioned by the government during World War I, and b