Leisurecorp, the Dubai World company specialising in developments and investments in the sports and leisure sector, today announced plans to purchase Turnberry, the host venue for the 2009 Open Championship, from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) for £55 million.
The companies have signed a Letter of Intent for the sale and purchase of the hotel and golf resort, which the parties expect to be completed by 31 October 2008. Under the terms of the deal, Starwood will continue to operate the five-star resort, with a 30-year plus management contract.
The deal pairs together two experts in the leisure and hospitality field and marks the start of a significant long-term partnership between Leisurecorp and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Turnberry is one of the world’s leading golf destinations, boasting two 18-hole Championship courses: the world famous Ailsa Course – which has already hosted The Open Championship three times – and the Kintyre Course. In addition, the resort has the 9-hole Arran Course and the Colin Montgomerie Links Golf Academy.
The iconic hotel has 219 rooms which includes 12 lodges and 9 cottages as well as an outdoor activity centre, a spa and a wide range of banquet and conference facilities.
Leisurecorp will add Turnberry to a growing portfolio of sports and leisure assets which includes Jumeirah Golf Estates, home to the European Tour International Headquarters and the Dubai World Championship, the richest tournament in world golf, from November 2009; and Pearl Valley Golf Estates, home of the South African Open.
As part of the agreement, Leisurecorp has committed to significant investment in the development in order to release more of the vast potential of the Turnberry Resort. This includes a full redevelopment and re-launch of the hotel, which is planned to close in late 2008 and will re-open ahead of The Open Championship in 2009 as part of Starwood’s highly acclaimed Luxury Collection portfolio.
Each hotel and resort within the Luxury Collection portfolio is a unique expression of its location. Turnberry’s spectacular setting, world-class leisure facilities and impeccable service combine to provide a uniquely enriching experience which fits perfectly with the Luxury Collection brand.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of Leisurecorp’s parent company, Dubai World, said, “We are delighted to be able to extend our strong relationship with Starwood through the addition of this strategically important asset to our portfolio. Turnberry is a world-class destination and we look forward to playing our role in its future success.”
Roeland Vos, pesident Europe, Middle East & Africa, Starwood Hotels & Resorts comments, “Starwood is already in partnership with Leisurecorp on a number of developments worldwide and we are delighted to be extending this relationship into Europe. We look forward to completing the sale and working with Leisurecorp to release the full potential of Turnberry. The resort has long been recognised as one of the world’s most prestigious golfing destinations and following the planned refurbishment of the hotel we look forward to re-launching the property under the Luxury Collection brand.”
Alan Rogers, group chief executive officer of Leisurecorp, said, “ “Our ambition at Leisurecorp is to become one of the world’s leading sports and leisure companies. The addition of Turnberry to our collection of golf course developments will further enhance our world class portfolio.
“You only have to look out across Turnberry’s Ailsa Course towards the landmark lighthouse to know that the resort is one of the world’s greatest golf destinations. We are looking forward to working with Starwood on finalising and announcing our future development plans for the resort over the coming months.
“Next year, Leisurecorp will be involved in an incredible hat-trick of golf tournaments across three continents – the world’s oldest tournament, The Open Championship; Africa’s oldest tournament, The South African Open; and the Dubai World Championship, the richest tournament in golf. I can promise we will rise to the challenge, showing the golf community just what a great contribution we can deliver.”
Full details of the redevelopment of the Turnberry Resort will be announced by completion of the purchase, expected to be on 31st October 2008.