It's Regent vs. Starwood in a Battle for The Venice Lido
The Excelsior, up for sale
Last week we learned that one struggling Venice island hotel had finally had its prince come along, in the shape of St Regis, and it got us thinking: what’s happening with the grande dames of the Lido?
The glorious old Hotel des Bains – which was the setting for Death in Venice and, more recently, one of the venues of the Venice Film Festival – closed in 2010, to be redeveloped into luxury apartments within a year.
But in Venice a few months ago, we couldn’t help noticing that it was still a building site.
Meanwhile, the Excelsior, which was a Starwood property until 2008 (along with the des Bains) is still operating, but up for sale.
According to Il Sole 24 Ore, everything is up in the air. There’s some complicated real estate fund stuff going on, but basically Est Capital, which bought the properties off Starwood, has foundered, and they’ve been passed to Hines Sgr, which is mulling over the options.
Back in March, there were three offers on the table: the frontrunner from Regent Hotels, another from Italian entrepreneur Raffaele Costa, who wanted to start a collection of luxury hotels in Italy (could be interesting, could be disastrous) and an undetailed one from developer Mustak Musa.
By April, Starwood had thrown its hat back into the ring, and it seemed to be a two-horse race with Regent with a decision to come within days.
But the latest report, published only yesterday, has an interview with Gerald Hines – who says he still hasn’t decided what to do, and he wants at least €200m investment for his Lido redevelopment project from whoever is the lucky winner.
Since this has been dragging on for four years, who knows when they’ll come to a decision?
In the meantime, who would you prefer to take it on? We’d plump for Regent, partly because we’d like to see more Regents in Europe, partly because Starwood already has a lot of Venice properties, and mostly because we felt they didn’t do an awesome job on the Lido the first time around (nor have they done a huge amount for San Clemente).
Think Starwood deserves a second chance? Or are you rooting for wild card Raffaele Costa? (No relation, honest.) Let us know in comments below!
[Photo: Hotel Excelsior Venezia Lido Facebook]