Mittals now eye country hotels in Britain

July 6th, 2008 - 2:03 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 6 (IANS) After stately homes, the Mittals are now eyeing heritage hotels of Britain. One of the world’s richest families, they are considering investing in the company behind upmarket country hotels including Cliveden, near Heathrow, and The Royal Crescent in Bath.

An agency representing the Mittals is said to be in talks with Von Essen Hotels, one of Britain’s largest privately-owned collections of luxury hotels, for a stake in the business, according to The Telegraph. However, there is as yet no confirmation of the talks from both parties.

The Indian-born family’s interest in high-end heritage hotels is a departure from their previous pursuit of expensive private homes in London. They already own three properties in Kensington Palace Gardens, London’s most expensive street.

The senior Mittals live in a house, probably the largest private house in central London after Buckingham Palace, which they bought for 57 million pounds four years ago. Their second purchase was considered Britain’s most expensive, at 117 million pounds, apparently to house the Mittal heir-apparent, Aditya, and his family. A month later, the former embassy of the Philippines changed hands for 70 million pounds.

The hotels they are said to be interested in are seeped in British history. Cliveden House, set amid 376 acres of formal gardens, parkland and an idyllic bend in the River Thames, has a past going back 300 years.

Several prominent persons have called it their home over the years, the most famous being Nancy Astor, the first woman MP of Britain. Queen Victoria, a confidante of the original owner, the Duchess of Sutherland, used to drop in for a quite cup of tea, records show.

Guests have included every British monarch since George I as well as Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Roosevelt, George Bernard Shaw, to name a few.

The campus also houses the Spring Cottage, an exclusive mansion, which was the hub of the most famous political scandal in the 1960s when Stephen Ward, John Profumo and Christine Keeler were staying when they triggered the infamous Profumo scandal.

The Royal Crescent in the Roman town of Bath in Somerset is among the world’s unique buildings. The crescent-shaped structure, now a heritage hotel, was built by Britain’s well-known architect, John Wood, and is considered a masterpiece of European architecture.

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