Ritz raises valuation as interest from would-be buyers continues

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The Independent Online

The Barclay brothers have received "several unsolicited approaches" to buy The Ritz in London's Piccadilly, according to the luxury hotel's latest accounts.

This interest has led the directors to put a value of more than £735m on the hotel, which is one of the capital's most famous landmarks worldwide. This is up from £625m in 2010, when the accounts also stated that there had been interest in buying the hotel, which is perhaps best known for its afternoon tea that boasts 17 varieties of loose leaves.

The directors also pointed to "the freehold tenure, the location, the constant superior maintenance of the property, the value of the casino lease and the unique Ritz brand name" to justify the valuation of the hotel that charges more than £4,000 a night for its royal suite.

Until her death from a stroke in April this year, the former prime minister Margaret Thatcher spent her last months in a Ritz suite the size of a small flat with antique Louis XVI furnishings.

In 2012, despite operating in a "difficult economic environment", The Ritz also recorded the highest revenue figure in its 107-year history, at £35.4m, up from £32.3m in 2011. Operating profit increased 35.5 per cent to £11.5m.

The twin brothers, Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, who also own The Daily Telegraph, bought The Ritz for £75m 18 years ago.

In 2010, a jobless lorry driver, Anthony Lee, was found guilty of trying to sell the hotel for a knockdown £250m in a scam where he pretended to be a close associate of the Barclay brothers and obtained £1m through deception.