It was always a wonder to me as to why a luxury brand, meant only for the elite, like Harrods never ventured into the hospitality business. The up market store with the motto Omnia Omnibus Ubique or All Things for People, Everywhere has been the pride of London for several years now. Founded in 1824 it was a place frequented by the affluent in the city of London and its regular visitors included the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Gertrude Lawrence, Osacr Wilde and also several members of the British Royal family. It also held Royal Warrants from the Queen Mother, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Queen herself. It is also one of those stores that follow a strict dress code. So if you happen to visit the store in your track suits you would probably be not allowed an entry.
A place which works as a luxury store as well as a tourist spot, for many who just drop in at the store to get a feel of its extravagance, is now all set to explore the world of luxury hospitality. And it’s about time they do for they are the very epitome of style and luxury. So far, Harrods has had five owners and in May 2010 it passes into the hands of Qatar holdings for £1.5 billion. The previous owner of the luxury store was Mohammad Al Fayed.
In the past the store also announced its intention of hosting a pop up restaurant featuring Michelin starrer chef Thomas Keller and offering superyachts to rich. The feast was held in October last year and went on for about ten days. It was one of those rare opportunities for Londoners when they could savour some meals created by the best chef from the United States and the man behind the Napa Valley restaurant, the French Laundry. At £250 many enjoyed a nine course meal at this pop up extravaganza.
Qatar Holdings now plans ambitiously to take Harrods to the world in the form of a hotel so that just about everyone around the world can get a feel of its royal luxury. Let’s give you more information on the story.
Qatar Holdings to take Harrods to the World
To convert Harrods into a luxury hotel chain was the brainchild of Qatar Holdings in order to make it a luxury brand well known across the world. Key cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Paris, New York have been shortlisted as potential places where the hotel will be constructed. However, for now the enterprise is focusing on sites that they already own or are owned by their key associates. On such site is the Chelsea Barracks in London and the Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. The Chelsea Barracks site was purchased form the Ministry of Defence in 2007 for a whopping £ 1 billion by sovereign wealth developer Qatari Diar. The Qatar holdings who in the past are gradually taking over the British property world by acquiring some of the wealthiest property sites in London and Great Britain have already announced the building of a Harrods luxury hotel in Malaysia.
A Harrods Luxury Hotel in Kuala Lumpur
Hussain Ali Al Abdulla, the Vice Chairman of Qatar Holding, was reportedly in Malaysia to announce and unveil the plans of constructing a Harrods luxury hotel there. The first Harrods luxury hotel will be built here and the site finalised is the Bukit Bintang Shopping district, a plush locale of a global city. Construction on the hotel will begin next year and Qatar Holdings firmly believe that it was a good decision to begin in Kuala Lumpur for it is the city of the future with its rapidly growing economy. The project is indeed ambitious for the hotel will have 300 rooms and apartments along with some retail outlets. With this enterprise the current Harrods owners aim to make Harrods into a global store that represents luxury retail and living. A 5.5 acre site has been chosen for the project. One can do nothing but simply imagine the extravagance at display once it is finally constructed. Kuala Lumpur will be the first city to have a Harrods luxury hotel.
Harrods now to be a Global Retailer
The very intention behind taking Harrods to the world and already building a luxury hotel in Kuala Lumpur is primarily to make this luxury brand which was till now the sole property of elite Londoners into a global enterprise. Qatar Holdings have said that they want Harrods to redefine luxury retail and leisure sectors on the global economic platform. Although there is still no word on what is the status of the Harrods hotels in New York and Paris.
Qatar Holdings is one of the premier investors in London and are a part of the Qatar Investment Authority. The Qatar Investment Authority on the other hand is the largest shareholder in the grocery chain J Sainsbury Plc. They also purchased the athlete’s village at the London Olympics site for a whopping £557 million and also own the former Royal Dutch Shell headquarters in London.
With their growing influence in the British property, Qatar Holdings can sure take Harrods to the world. We are all waiting for the opulence that will be the Harrods luxury hotel. And also with the retails stores opening we will not have to travel all the way to London to shop or just look!