Asian-owned Dorsett Hotels plans £700m UK expansion
Chief executive Winnie Chiu said her company had only recently opened two hotels in London’s Aldgate and Shepherd’s Bush but had plans build five or six more across the two cities in the next few years.
Dorsett Hotels is owned by Far East Consortium, one of Asia’s largest developers and hotel operators which was founded in 1972 by renowned Hong Kong entrepreneur Deacon Chiu, the late grandfather of Ms Chiu.
Alongside conventional hotels, Ms Chiu said she was planning to open one site under an apartment-style concept known as Dorsett Residences. This is aimed at travellers staying for longer periods of time, with each room offering kitchen facilities.
At its planned site in Hornsey where it is redeveloping the town hall, Ms Chiu said that location would also offer a co-working space in a bid to take advantage of the growing demand for such offerings, fuelled by the likes of WeWork and Rocket Space.
Ms Chiu said the company had just last month established a presence in mainland Europe after buying a firm with hotel assets in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.
She added that unlike many hotel companies, Dorsett owns its sites rather than leasing them or operating through franchisees. With its site in Aldgate, it purchased what was an office building, knocked it down and rebuilt its hotel there.
Far East Consortium, which is now listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, has 14 hotels in Asia with another under construction in Malaysia and four planned for Australia, where it also owns a large car park business.
In the UK, Far East consortium recently snapped up the huge Angelgate development site in Manchester at auction for £5.2m. The 1.96 acre plot has planning permission for nearly 350 homes.