Is Monte Carlo Coming To London? We Hope So!

Posted on January 25th, 2010

London is fairly glamorous anyway, especially in the West End (apart from certain bits of Soho that is). But we have heard that the capital might be getting its own slice of Monte Carlo glamour right in the middle of town.

A Monte Carlo hotel group is in the running to snap up a slice of Piccadilly history.

Monte-Carlo SBM, the Monaco based hotel and casino operator, is a front runner for the purchase of 94 Piccadilly — formerly the address of the In and Out Club — which is on the market for an estimated 250 million pounds sterling.

Bernard Lambert, the CEO of the group, said that he was “very interested” in buying, or taking an stake in, the former base of the Naval & Military Club, which coined its “In and Out” name from the signs on the front door.

The Grade I listed building, once owned by Lord Palmerston who was PM in the 19th century, was a well known schmoozong and boozing destination for the well to do. It had been up for a super luxury hotel makeover by its owner, Simon Halabi, the billionaire property investor. But the £300 million refurbishment was halted in 2007 and the building has been empty since.

Mr Halabi’s propert empire subsequently unravelled, forcing him to sell the building.

Despite the ongoing crisis, the streets of London are still paved with gold for some people. The Monaco based group is looking ot diversify abroad and create a group of super luxury hotels around the world with a sprinkling of “Monte Carlo magic”. The group wants to  open 5 or 6 properties in the next couple of years in London, Paris, Milan, Rome and New York.

Mr Halabi, the current owner, has a house in Monaco. He bought the club in 2000 for £50 million (err- not a bad return then…Ed.) He was ordered a fortnight ago to pay Aukett Fitzroy Robinson, the architects, £500 grand after a 2 year High Court battle of wits over a disputed invoice.

Mr Halabi took on the architects in 2006 to design the hotel. The plans were later shelved as the economy turned.

Anyway, we are working on getting some tickets organised for our members for when the hotel eventually opens! It´s officially on the list of stuff to do…..

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