US hotel giant takes over 2 top Indian hotels in London

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London, Oct 26 (UNI) Two of London's most well-known hotels owned by an Indian businessman are being taken up by US-based hotel giant Hilton.

Owned by Indian businessman Joginder Sanger, the hotels are very popular among Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar and Ministers including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

One of the hotels will become the first representative in Britain of its deluxe Waldorf Astoria brand.

The leisure company has secured deals to put its brands over the prestigious Bentley hotel in Knightsbridge and the Courthouse hotel in the West End.

The 64-room Bentley will be badged as a Waldorf Astoria, the second hotel of Hilton's luxury marque to open in Europe, following one in Rome. The original is a New York landmark.

The Courthouse will be turned into a Doubletree, one of Hilton's other main brands. The 112-room hotel will be the third outlet for the chain in the UK and the first in London.

Previously both sites were branded by Kempinski, the German hotelier, which withdrew from the properties earlier this year.

The deal with Hilton is a franchise arrangement and the properties will continue to be run by India's Sanger family, using the new brands. The cost of converting the sites is expected to be minimal.

Patrick Fitzgibbon, Hilton's senior vice-president for development in Europe and Africa, said that as well as converting existing hotels the company would continue to explore opportunities to build new properties.

Hilton, owned by US buyout group Blackstone, owns a number of brands, such as Doubletree and Hampton Inn which are well known in the US but have a relatively small presence elsewhere.

It is working hard to expand these around the world, with the UK seen as central to this push.

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