After months of speculation, ownership of the Fairmont St Andrews hotel and resort has changed hands, being sold to another property investor for £32.4 million.
The move has been welcomed by the Fairmont St Andrews, which employs around 350 full and part-time staff, for the opportunities that a new owner will bring.
Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate bought the 209-room hotel and resort from privately-owned SABD Holding, although Fairmont Hotels and Resorts will continue to run it under a management agreement until 2031.
The golf resort had been on the market with £37m price tag since last spring,
Commenting on the sale, Fairmont St Andrews general manager Robert Glashan said: “We are delighted with the news that Kennedy Wilson has successfully acquired our award-winning resort.
“With new owners comes new opportunities and we are all very excited about the vision and experience that Kennedy Wilson will bring to the table.
“This will ensure Fairmont St Andrews continues to enhance its reputation as one of the leading five-star resorts in Scotland”
The Fairmont was originally opened as a £50m development by US entrepreneur Don Panoz in 2001 but was subsequently bought over by New York-listed real estate and private equity firm Ares Management, with FRHI Hotels & Resorts taking over the hotel’s management in 2006 on a 25-year contract.
The deal marks the second luxury hotel purchase for Kennedy Wilson Europe, following the £23.9m acquisition of Dublin’s Portmarnock Hotel in June.
Beverley Hills-based Kennedy Wilson was founded in 1977 as a real estate auction business and has grown to have investments and services in the USA, Europe and Japan.
President and chief executive Mary Ricks, commenting on the Fairmont St Andrews purchase, said: “This is an excellent addition to our portfolio – a high-quality and well-managed hotel, which represents our second hotel transaction within two months.
“Furthermore this asset provides a number of good opportunities to leverage our extensive asset management expertise through which we expect to be able to add significant value over the medium term.”
The five-star Fairmont St Andrews resort, set in 520 acres of land, has two championship golf courses, the Torrance and the Kittocks, and has played host to a number of prestigious events, including both The Open Championship’s final local qualifying and home to the Scottish Senior Open for six consecutive years.
However, in addition to the golf tournaments, Fairmont St Andrews has also hosted some of the world’s most important politicians and powerbrokers for both Northern Ireland peace talks and The G20 Summit.
The entire resort benefited from a £17m redevelopment, including the extensive spa complex with 12 treatment rooms.
FRHI Hotels & Resorts manages more than 110 hotels under the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel brands, while other landmark hotels in its collection include The Plaza in New York, London’s The Savoy, Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai and Quebec City’s Fairmont Le Château Frontenac.