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Qatar Airways sizes up Sheraton Hotel

The big speculation in the market place now is that Qatar Airways is eyeing the Sheraton Hotel in Melbourne as an acquisition.

The five star Sheraton Melbourne Hotel is on the market after Property developer Jeff Xu decided to cash in  at the beginning of this year after his Golden Age group completed work on the Little Collins Street property three years ago.

The 174 room Sheraton Melbourne hotel is part of a 32-level mixed-used development by Golden Age Group. The hotel boasts two restaurants, a rooftop bar, function space, day spa, gym and indoor heated swimming pool.

An acquisition by Qatar would mark the Middle East airline’s entry into the Australian hotel market.

It would also be a key move strategically for the airline which has been looking to secure a role in the Australian hotel sector for some years and becoming a hotel owner in the Victorian capital would guarantee that.

Getting the Aussie hotel market makes sense with some of the airline’s main cities serviced by its network.

Purchasing a hotel also gives crews a guaranteed place to stay long term. And hopefully, it can make some money for Qatar in the process

Golden Age is looking at selling the Sheraton for up to $140m, in a deal that would allow it to reorganise its holdings after buying a neighbouring site in the city while cashing in on the rising value of hotel assets.

Selling the hotel would also give it the cash to fund its new projects in Melbourne and Sydney.

Qatar is no stranger to running hotels.

In 2015 it purchased the Sheraton Skyline London Heathrow, rebranding it as the Oryx Sheraton Skyline London Heathrow.

Sheraton has a long-term management agreement over its Melbourne property.

This means any purchase is likely to leave the Sheraton brand and operations in place.

by Leon Gettler, August 11th 2017