Marriott’s St. Regis New York changes owners, but not much else

Nov 1, 2019

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Ownership of The St. Regis New York hotel officially changed hands on Thursday, as Marriott sold one of its most iconic properties to the Qatar Investment Authority for $310 million.

The St. Regis New York has been a Manhattan institution ever since American financier John Jacob Astor IV opened the golden doors of the property in 1904. Located at 2 East 55th Street at Fifth Avenue, the 18-story hotel’s King Cole Bar is where the Bloody Mary was invented in 1934 (it was originally called the Red Snapper) and it’s been home to a number of celebrity guests including a Japanese prince; the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí and his wife; and actress Marlene Dietrich.

The St. Regis has even hosted fictional patrons: James Bond stayed here in Ian Fleming’s 1954 novel “Live and Let Die.”

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And this isn’t the first time The St. Regis has changed ownership. Marriott, for example, acquired The St. Regis New York as part of its $13.6 billion dollar acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016.

At the time of the Starwood acquisition, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) considered purchasing both The St. Regis New York and its sister property, The St. Regis San Francisco. Ultimately, the Qatar authority ended up purchasing only The St. Regis San Francisco to a tune of $175 million in December 2016. Two years earlier, the QIA added to its portfolio The St. Regis Rome for just shy of $151 million.

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So, what does this acquisition mean for travelers, including Bonvoy members? History suggests that, well, not much will change. Both the San Francisco and Rome properties continue to fly The St. Regis flag.

In fact, Marriott doesn’t own most of the hotels in its massive global portfolio, and focuses instead on earning licensing fees through its franchise ownership model.

Still, The Points Guy reached out to Marriott for comment and will update this story once a statement has been received.

Featured photo by Summer Hull for The Points Guy.

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