Nakheel buys into Mexican resort

Nakheel Hotels is to acquire a 50% stake of Mexican resort, One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, based on a total enterprise value of US$315 million. Nakheel Hotels is acquiring its stake from certain funds affiliated with the Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds, a series of real estate opportunity funds sponsored and managed by Goldman Sachs & Co, while existing joint venture partner, Kerzner International, will retain its 50% stake.

The resort is a 172-room ultra-luxury ocean front resort managed by Kerzner International under the award-winning One&Only brand. It features a Jack Nicklaus 27-hole championship golf course, a world class 22,000 sq ft spa featuring 13 spa villas, a 7,000 sq ft executive conference centre, two oceanfront infinity swimming pools, acclaimed restaurants and a wedding chapel. One&Only Palmilla is located on the Southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and benefits from oceanfront natural beaches, its own private peninsula and close proximity to San Jose del Cabo International Airport.

Joe Sita, Chief Executive, Nakheel Hotels, said, “One& Only Palmilla represents an important investment for Nakheel Hotels. We are constantly looking for opportunities to add value to our investments in companies such as Kerzner and this acquisition fulfils that strategy perfectly. Latin America is very important in the global tourism market and this deal marks our first entry into this lucrative region.”

Kerzner International, Nakheel Hotels’ joint venture partner, is a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, luxury hotels and gaming properties and owner of the One&Only brand. The two companies already have a very close relationship with Nakheel Hotels owning approximately 30% of Kerzner International and a number of existing joint ventures such as Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai and One&Only, Cape Town.

One&Only Palmilla was originally built in 1956. It has been refurbished and expanded over the years with the most recent changes made in 2003.

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Nakheel Hotels was launched in November 2007 as the new name for Istithmar Hotels after Dubai World consolidated its hotel business under one banner to create a fully integrated hotel investment company. The hotels business was originally formed in April 2006 as the hotel investment and asset management business of Istithmar and has, in less than 2 years, accumulated a global hotel property portfolio. The enterprise value of investments to date is in excess of $3 billion.

Nakheel Hotels will continue to pursue its strategy of acquiring luxury hotels in key gateway cities and resorts across North America, Europe and Asia, along with investing in the budget hotels sector in key growth markets. Projects currently include The Trump International Hotel & Tower, which is under development on The Palm Jumeirah, while the group has already acquired several luxury hotels in the US, including Mandarin Oriental, W Union Square and Hotel Washington, as well as significant equity investments in Kerzner and International Hotel Investments plc, and development projects for W hotels in Thailand. QE2 Enterprises, which has acquired the QE2, is also part of Nakheel Hotels. The QE2 is to form the centerpiece of a luxury hotel, residential, retail and entertainment destination to be developed on The Palm Jumeirah.
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