Raffles Hotels and Resorts have come a long way since it was formed in 1989 to restore, redevelop and manage the world-famous Raffles Hotel. The famous hotel in Singapore opened to its full restored glory in 1991 and since then has been rated very highly by its guests. Since then they have been commissioned to do similar restoration work with two more hotels in Cambodia. Raffles Hotels & Resorts were taken over by Colony Capital, LLC in 2005 and was hailed as the deal of the year by the hospitality industry. The hotel portfolios of Raffles Hotels & Resorts and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts were combined following the acquisition of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts by Kingdom Hotels International and Colony Capital in 2006. The combined entity owns and manages 98 hotels worldwide under the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel brands.
The latest addition to the Raffles brand is to be the luxury hotel in Istanbul’s Zorlu Center, a residential, retail and office complex that’s under construction. Zorlu Holding AS who are the owners and developers of the new complex are investing about $175 million in the hotel. Ahmet Nazif Zorlu, the Chairman of Zorlu Holding and John Johnston Chairman of Raffles Hotels and Resorts jointly addressed a press conference to announce the agreement that Raffles will manage the 180-room hotel for 30 years.
The Zorlu Center is a prestigious project coming up in the business district of Istanbul at a cost of $2.5 billion. The project was launched in 2007 after Zorlu bought the site from the government’s asset sale agency for $800 million. Mesut Pektas, head of Zorlu’s real estate unit briefed the press about their future projects including a shopping mall project of as much as $250 million in the Aegean city of Izmir. Johnston also talked about Raffles plans to manage newer hotels in New York, London, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong.