Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is widely considered the market leader in the leisure and hospitality space, with its 'excellent sector knowledge' ensuring that it continues to act on the most high-value deals including hotel transactions and development matters. The team, which is singled out for its 'innovative solutions to complex issues' has strength advising international clients on large-scale projects, with one such example including a £1bn hotel portfolio sale led by global head of real estate Chris de Pury and hotels and hospitality practice head Laura Wild. On the transactional side, M&A, disposals, and investment also feature in the caseload, as well as management contracts and franchise agreements for international clients. Head of UK real estate Nazir Dewji is the key contact for large development projects for international developers in the Middle East and Asian markets, while corporate partner Patrick Johnson advises investors and operates the core hospitality and leisure team.
Hospitality and leisure in London
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
‘I have found the firm to be very responsive with in-depth knowledge. They have been accommodating both in time and a willingness to consider innovative solutions to complex issues.’
‘Chris De Pury is an excellent team leader. This is a very cohesive and extremely experienced team that made a complicated transaction happen!’
‘The team has broad & deep knowledge, working across different teams within the practice. Excellent.’
PPHE Hotel Group
EquityBridge Asset Management
LaSalle Investment Management
- BCLP advised Globalgrange, one of London’s largest privately-held hotel groups, on the sale of their hotel portfolio (the Grange St Paul’s EC4, Grange Tower Bridge E1, Grange City EC3, and Grange Holborn WC1) for circa. £1 bn, to Queensgate Investments.
- Advising UOL Group, a Singapore property company listed on the Singapore Exchange with total assets worth more than $10 bn in Asia and Australia, on the development of ONE Bishopsgate and the wider European Portfolio.
- Advising Qatari Diar in relation to the design and redevelopment of 30 Grosvenor Square, the former American Embassy, into an ultra-luxury Rosewood Hotel complemented with additional uses of retail, residential, and event space.
CMS has a strong market presence in the hospitality and leisure industry, with peers and clients praising its multi-disciplinary offering and sector knowledge. Led by Thomas Page, the team handles large M&A transactions, excels in hotel management, and is able to leverage its pan-European offering to handle cross-border and global hospitality mandates. Real estate partner James Miller has over two decades of expertise advising on major portfolio sales and leasebacks, while key corporate partner Louise Wallace specialises in hotel franchise agreements. The client roster includes hotel operators, investors, banks, and restaurant groups.
The Entourage Group (Crossroads Real Estate)
Banco de Sabadell
Social Entertainment Ventures
- Acted for the purchaser M&G Investments on the sale and leaseback on geared ground leases of the “Atlas” portfolio of 40 Holiday Inn Express/Hilton Branded hotels throughout the UK.
- Acting for AccorInvest as the purchaser of the Novotel and Ibis Hotels Blackfriars Road from Commerz Real HausInvest.
- Advising in relation to the sale of the entire share capital of St. Andrews Bay Development Ltd by the owner of the Fairmont Hotel St. Andrews to Highlander Hospitality Group Limited.
Dentons is 'excellent' in the hospitality and leisure industry, with strength in depth in handling landmark hotel transactions and international large-scale project work. The highly-rated Simon Masri in London is the standout practitioner in the team and handles a mixed caseload, advising hotel operations, investors, and representing lenders and developers. The practice has a reputable franchising sub-group led by Warsaw-based global head Babette Märzheuser-Wood, and has a strong track record advising hotel owners and investors on franchising and licensing agreements. On the hotel acquisition side, corporate partner Matthew Tinger focuses on corporate real estate transactions, purchases, and acquisitions of hotels. The partnership has been bolstered with the arrival of Chris Heath , who brings deep industry knowledge related to hospitality development and financing. He joined from an in-house position at the Hilton in 2019. Mark Daliere is the UK and Middle Eastern head of hotels while Rick Ross is the global chair of the practice; both are based in Arizona.
‘The availability and the quality of advice given is excellent’
‘During Covid-19 they have raised the bar again to ensure tight deadlines are met. Should a task require additional resources to meet tight completion deadlines, the firm always ensures this happens and a deadline has not been missed.’
‘Simon Masri is highlighted for his quality of advice and availability.’
Metro Bank PLC
KSL Capital Partners
LGH UK Management Limited
HSBC Bank plc
Secure Income REIT
Malmaison and Hotel du Vin
HPL (UK) Ltd
- Advised KSL Capital Partners on the acquisition of hotel group Les Hôtels d’en Haut from Perseus Group, a European hotel developer. The transaction involved five boutique hotels in premier leisure markets across France.
- Advised Aprirose Limited on the disposal of various hotels from Qhotels portfolio including Mottram Hall, Tankersley Manor and Midland Hotel.
- Advised HSBC Bank plc and Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, London Branch on the financing of the enabling works at the Grade II listed former US Embassy on Grosvenor Square, as part of its redevelopment into an ultra-luxury Rosewood hotel by Qatari Diar.
Taylor Wessing LLP's 'outstanding' hotels and leisure practice is renowned for its activity in the M&A space, handling more than £1bn of big-ticket transactions for hotel clients over a 12-month period. Headed by Richard Bursby who has expertise in hotel management and franchise agreements, the team is a 'go-to' for high-value investment sales and purchases, complex advisory work, and financing mandates. 'First-rate lawyer' Mark Rajbenbach leads corporate real estate transactions which are often cross-border. Other key strengths include the team's international offering, with offices spanning France, Germany, and Dubai facilitating cross-border mandates. Ronald Graham is the contact for the Middle Eastern market and acts for various owners and investors.
‘One of the go-to teams in hotels and hospitality. Richard Bursby and Mark Rajbenbach are true industry experts that bring excellent legal skills combined with strategic and commercial advice for their clients.’
‘Mark Rajbenbach is a trusted adviser who brings great experience in the real estate and hotel industries. He is a first-rate lawyer, on top of all the details, but also able to step back and provide the commercial and strategic advice that we need as clients. Victoria Butcher is one to watch for the future. Excellent legal skills and developing into a strategic adviser as she works closely with Mark. A great team.’
‘Richard Bursby is knowledgeable, well-connected and understands the industry very well.’
Taylor Wessing provides legal expertise across multiple discplines, making the firm very suitable for our company and the business we are in. Their partners associates and support staff are experts in their field of law, always available and are of great support to our company. Their quality of work is outstanding.’
‘The team is hard-working, enthusiastic, and extremely responsive. They have a comprehensive understanding of the hospitality industry, including acting for all the different stakeholders in the value chain.’
Invesco Real Estate
InterContinental Hotels Group
London & Regional
RBH Hospitality Management
Burger King UK
The Clermont Club
Millennium & Copthorne
- Advising Invesco on Portugal’s largest ever hotel transaction, the purchase from Thai based Minor Hotels of 3 Tivoli Hotels in Lisbon for €313m which will then be operated by NH Hotels (a subsidiary of Minor Hotels).
- Advising Vivion on the purchase of the St. Martin’s Lane Hotel and Sanderson Hotel in London for a reported price of €333m and the almost simultaneous sale of the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury for a reported £100m.
- Advising Hotel investor Cedar Capital and US hedge fund King Street on a suite of Hotel and Residential Agreements with Marriott for the JW Marriott Resort, Palmares Algarve, a development of Hotel and luxury Branded Residences in Portugal.
Addleshaw Goddard houses the 'best commercial real estate lawyers' who are described as 'experienced, knowledgeable, and commercial.' The team is led by a trio of experienced partners who are particularly noted for their financing work but also handle an assortment of complex transactions, real estate, and construction matters. Luke Baines is strong in the hotel development area and with co-head, Lucy Sturrock, who splits her time between London and Leeds, is a key contact in the group. Zoe Maurer specialises in real estate and advises lenders and borrowers on financing matters. The practice holds a number of established hotel groups as long-standing clients and is active in hotel finance, development, and construction.
‘Extensive market coverage, interest in the industry, and have shown a keenness (and invested time) to understand our team and the way we work. Luke Baines has invested time to personally understand and get to know our business and our team.‘
‘Lucy Sturrock – simply wonderful. One of the best commercial real estate lawyers out there, although she is modest about her extensive capabilities, knowledge and connections. Luke Baines – hands-on, focused yet commercial approach.’
‘The Real Estate, Hotel Finance and Construction team comprising their hospitality practice are very experienced, knowledgeable, and commercial. They have a keen eye for detail but don’t lose sight of the bigger commercial picture. A very personable team who are well connected and hospitable. Their fees are very fair and reasonable. They get the deal done, manage expectations and are passionate about the sector.’
Aareal Bank AG
Aberdeen Standard Investments
Be At One Limited
Eastern and Oriental Plc
KTB Asset Management
National Westminster Bank PLC & AIB Group
SACO Real Estate Group
Seafood Pub Company
Shearings Hotels Ltd
Sonder Europe Limited
Travelodge Hotels Ltd
TH UK & Ireland Limited (trading as Tim Hortons)
The City Pub Group plc
Village Urban Resorts (hotel owners and developers)
- Principal adviser of Travelodge Hotels Limited with a relationship spanning over 15 years. Advise on new hotel acquisitions and developments as well as undertaking the estate management work for a sizeable portfolio of 575 hotels.
- Act for Ennismore on its portfolio of hotels across the UK and Europe. Assisted with the placement of construction documents relating to the new rooftop bar extension at the Hoxton Shoreditch hotel, the negotiation of professional appointments and the real estate elements of the redevelopment of the Eynsham Hall hotel.
- Acting for That Group on a number of hotel and mixed use developments primarily in the south of England including the hotel-led mixed use development at Torwood Street, Torquay.
Baker McKenzie's practice under the leadership of Justin Salkeld is a strong player in the hotel industry, with key strengths in financing mandates and international acquisitions. The team is active in construction and development work and advises clients on land acquisitions, project management agreements, and contracts. In the financing space, banking partner Sebastien Marcelin-Rice handles real estate financing transactions for both lenders and private equity sponsors, restructuring matters, and acquisition finance. Construction-related matters are led by Mike Webster.
FS JV Co
Cockpit Hotel (London) Ltd
Deutsche Hospitality Group
- Acting on all aspects of the development of Edwardian’s most high profile luxury hotel project in the UK, the development and construction of the Londoner hotel.
- Acted for Marriott at the Upper Tribunal on appeal where we were successful in arguing that VAT costs should not be added to customer loyalty schemes.
- We advised Deutsche Hospitality Group on the sale of all shares in Steigenberger Hotels AG to the Huazhu Group. Huazhu is a leading hotel group with a strong presence in China, combining numerous brands under its umbrella.
Bird & Bird LLP 's hotels practice group is led by the 'brilliant' Karen Friebe and is active in the purchasing, development, and management of hotels. The team has sector speciality across the food and beverages space, as well as a strong technology, IP, and data protection offering for industry-leading clients such as booking.com. In the commercial property field, the group is experienced in advising investors and developers on project work and acquisitions. The team has been bolstered by a number of new additions to the partnership; James Salford joined from Addleshaw Goddard and brings additional real estate financing expertise to the team, while transactional lawyer Peter Nicholson joined from Russell-Cooke LLP. They bring the senior headcount across the sector-group to around 20.
‘James Salford – a very well known real estate finance partner specialising in the hotel sector. Excellent sector knowledge, relationships with lenders and clients alike, and an approachable style.’
‘Karen Friebe is an authority in the hospitality and leisure industry and she is recognised worldwide. She is capable of shifting gears very fast and of providing sound legal advice, always keeping in mind the commercial strategy of the client. There are not many lawyers who are able to do this. This is the added value of Karen in a transaction.’
‘Matthew Vance is a rising star under the wing of Karen Friebe. He is skilled, fast on his feet, with an excellent eye for detail and he provides excellent legal advice’
‘Karen Friebe is a very experienced professional with extensive experience acting on either side of the table. She is very approachable and an excellent communicator.’
‘Great strength in hotel operation agreements which is why we go to them. They have a thorough understanding of the varying contractual arrangements between owners and investors.’
‘The recent addition of James Salford to the Bird & Bird (B&B) team will reap dividends for B&B going forward. With B&B’s unique strength and depth in Europe, the only way for the team is upwards in terms of market presence, perception, and position.’
Fosun Tourism Group
Bank of Ireland
- Advised Fosun Tourism Group, the world’s leading leisure-focused integrated tourism group, on its purchase of the Thomas Cook brand, the Casa Cook and Cook’s Club brands, and resort/hotel brands under the Thomas Cook brand for £11 million. The team advised Fosun Tourism Group on Restructuring & Insolvency and Intellectual Property matters in connection with the acquisition.
- Advise EU price-comparison/booking website Skyscanner and their publicly listed Chinese owner (Ctrip) on a variety of matters including data protection, corporate, employment, regulatory, IP and competition law.
- Advised Splendid Hospitality Group on its acquisition of The Stanwell Hotel in Staines.
At Clifford Chance LLP, the hotels and leisure industry group has extensive expertise in hospitality-related transactions and financing projects. The cross-border client portfolio includes leading names in the industry such as Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts and Corinthia Hotels, with repeat work coming in year after year. In the corporate occupier space, co-head Sarah Thomas (who leads the team alongside real estate finance partner Andrew Carnegie ) is the key name to note advising owners, occupiers, and operators on a range of issues pertaining to investment, whilst Mark Payne specialises in commercial real estate transactions. On the development side, Ian Painter advises domestic and foreign investors and sovereign wealth funds on investment and infrastructure projects. The team also includes Alis Pay , who led the €1.1bn pan-European deal for American investment group; NorthStar. The group saw one departure, with structured finance and securitisation partner Steve Curtis leaving for Latham & Watkins.
‘The team is very responsive and is able to leverage effectively on the multi-disciplinary strength of the firm in complex situations.’
‘Sarah Thomas has been an outstanding professional who is able to get to the crux of the issues and explain them in an easy to understand language.’
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Limited
Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts
Sadler’s Wells Foundation Limited
Wagamama Group Limited
- Advised CK Asset Holdings Limited in connection with its recommended cash offer for Greene King plc (“Greene King”) through CKA’s wholly-owned subsidiary, CK Noble (UK) Limited. The transaction valued Greene King at an estimated £4.6 billion
- Advising Corinthia Hotels on the redevelopment and leasing of the former seat of the Central Bank of Italy on Parliament Square in the centre of Rome as part of a deal struck with the Reuben Brothers, the private equity, real estate investment and development firm. This is the latest addition to Corinthia Hotels’ five-star hotel portfolio.
- Advised KIRKBI, the private holding and investment company of the Kirk Kristiansen family, and its consortium on the successful takeover of the publicly listed Merlin Entertainments plc and Merlin’s subsequent re-registration as a private company.
DLA Piper's multi-disciplinary practice is 'commercially savvy and responsive' and has extensive expertise across a number of areas for hospitality clients, including; development finance, real estate, corporate acquisitions, and disposals. Global sector head Matthew Duncombe is noted for his transactional and commercial know-how and is a trusted adviser to major European hospitality clients. The group also offers specialism across management and franchising agreements. Key player Joanne Owen who rejoined the firm from Proskauer Rose LLP is highly rated by clients and peers for her unrivalled expertise in this sector. She is recommended for complex international transactions related to corporate property and holds a number of private equity firms and investors as clients.
Other key lawyers:
‘DLA provides an integrated range of services necessary to assist a UK client with the development and financial advice of a European project. Their early-stage advice and introductions to other experts was invaluable to us. DLA has a well-earned reputation for their expertise in the international hotel sector.’
‘Matt Duncombe and his team provided prompt and complete advice to us and contributed solutions when we had differences with our counterparty. Matt was extremely pleasant to work with and I felt he was committed to our success. DLA are credible with and respected by all ; important attributes in an international arena.’
‘Joanne Owen – hors concours (unrivalled) in the hospitality and leisure legal practice in the UK. A delight to work with.’
‘Apart from being legally sound, the team is commercially savvy and responsive to the needs of its clients. It is clued into all the major opportunities available in the market and is a reliable sounding board to its clients and not just from the legal perspective. It also works particularly well with clients from the Far East. The team is also very sharp and you wouldn’t want to be on the other side in negotiations.’
‘Very friendly, supportive and down to earth. They tend to use very uncomplicated language and explain advice thoroughly.’
‘Quick to respond to issues and inquiries and have a very human approach which I’ve not found always to be the case with other firms I’ve used.’
Playa Blanca Plots
Intercontinental Hotels Group
Hilton Worldwide Inc.
Wyndham Worldwide Corporation
- Advised on the acquisition of Wood Street Police Station in the City of London for re-development as a hotel.
- Advising Marriott on contractual arrangements with relevant participants
- Advised HSBC, Santander and Sabadell as a syndicate of lenders providing financing for the development of two new hotels in Madrid and Barcelona and refinancing of other existing hotels in Spain owned by the Student Hotel (TSH).
Hogan Lovells International LLP has 'tremendous strength in depth' and acts for leading hotel investors, developers, and operators domestically and globally. Global head of the real estate practice group, Jackie Newstead has vast expertise in the hospitality and leisure sector and advises on real estate development mandates, acquisitions, disposals and financing matters. The team is active in handling complex multijurisdictional transactions for clients with real estate finance partner Andrew Flemming highlighted for his 'very commercial and very solutions-oriented' approach. Katie Gill and Fiona Prendergast also handle international finance work. On the development side, Dion Panambalana is the key contact for advising corporate occupiers and specialises in mixed-use urban and non-urban development projects.
‘Tremendous strength in depth. The team is very commercial and very responsive, especially on the finance side.’
‘Andrew Flemming (Finance); very calm, very commercial, very solutions-oriented. The best guy to have in your corner in a tight situation.’
‘Fiona Prendergast (Finance); very responsive, down to earth and practical- cuts to the chase.’
Gorgeous Smiling Hotels
M&G Real Estate
Millenium & Copthorne
Valor Hospitality Partners
William Pears Group
- Advised Israel-based Fattal Hotel Group and its subsidiary Jury’s Inns on its acquisition of the operating business and long-term leases of four high-end London Grange Hotels (now rebranded as Leonardo’s), from real estate investment firm Queensgate Investments.
- Acted on a sale and lease back ground lease deal for Shiva Hotels covering three high value sites in London and York.
- Advised on a turnkey leasehold hotel acquisition for Ruby Hotels. The 76 room Ruby Lucy hotel is their first UK site and opened in December 2019 on London’s Southbank.
Norton Rose Fulbright acts for hotel owners, developers, and global leisure operators on all aspects of their day-to-day operations. Head of hotels Nick Clayson handles domestic and international mixed-use development projects for clients, while head of the real estate practice, Wasim Khan, acts for investment and occupier clients; he's also the name to note for Islamic finance related matters, particularly in the Middle East. In the hotel financing space, Dan Kennedy and Sarah Cullen are key practitioners. On the planning side, the firm bolstered its team with the hire of Sarah Fitzpatrick from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP LLP in January 2020. Fitzpatrick heads up the planning team and has a focus on redevelopment projects in London. The group is able to leverage its extensive international offering, including EMEA-wide work on cross-border transactions including in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
‘They understand your needs, and what you are trying to achieve. They understand hospitality, prioritise deal-breakers, they are good at following up feedback – they can argue points directly with operators; they have industry knowledge and good experience.’
‘Wasim Khan is a very understanding person. He values relationships and always keeps his clients as priority.’
Paul Hastings LLP has considerable strength in the transactional space, handling high-value merger and acquisition matters for key clients nationally and internationally. Highlighted for its 'seamless service', the practice is skilled in managing large hotel portfolios including asset management matters, acquisitions, disposals, and joint ventures. Practice head Michael James focuses on corporate real estate matters and has more than a decade of expertise in the hotels sector. He acts across the EMEA region in structured transactions and acquisitions.
‘Very commercial and knowledgeable about the market. Very committed team.’
‘Michael James is exceptional. Very responsive. Good at collaborating with other advisers to provide a seamless service.’
- In one of the market-leading European hotel portfolio transactions of the year, the firm represented Highgate Hotels on the $500m sale and purchase of the pan-European Highgate “K+K” hotel portfolio (owned by a Goldman Sachs/Highgate joint venture) to Interglobe.
- Represented Starwood Capital on its disposal of 12 full-service hotels forming part of the Principal Hotel Company to FdM, for a purchase price in excess of $1.1 bn.
- Represented a Benson Elliot and Highgate Hotels joint venture on the disposal of the Gates hotel in Barcelona to Ennismore. This was a landmark deal for Ennismore as it was their first pan-European hotel acquisition.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Pinsent Masons LLP brings together a strong regional team across Glasgow, Leeds and Birmingham, with 'comprehensive expertise in the hospitality sector' led by Nick Skea-Strachan. The practice acts for a wide range of investors and developers on their hotel operations, as well as handling cross-border investment work. London-based head of real estate and key contact for all hospitality matters, Claire Hughes advises on complex development, acquisition, and management agreements related to hotels. The team also has a specialist management contract and franchising offering within the hotel's group. Elsewhere, Adam Carney sits within the transactional property team and is recommended for investment transactions.
‘This is a strong team. Nick Skea Strachan has an expert yet practical approach to achieving his client’s objectives’
‘Claire Hughes is a leading hotel specialist, respected by anyone she sits across the table from. Saima Dunt is a leading Senior Associate who is really working at Partner level. She fully understands our business and the key terms we care about. She knows how to negotiate those terms with minimal guidance from us as clients and she drives every deal very hard.’
‘The team is incredibly hard-working and practical. They find a way to get the deal across the line and are not afraid of an off-market structure or terms.’
‘Comprehensive expertise in the Hospitality business sector with a full range of knowledgeable support from other areas of the practice.’
Meliá Hotels International
Sir Richard Sutton Limited
Legal and General
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc
Kew Green Hotels
Rhubarb Food Design Limited
- Advising developer Luxembourg Hotel Management SA on the redevelopment of the historic Hotel Alfa on the Place de La Gare in Luxembourg into a Marriott branded hotel, in particular negotiation of a Management Agreement document with Marriott.
- Advising Melia Hotels International on its lease with the Crown Estate for the White House, London. This is a flagship location for Melia and a landmark building.
- Advising Cheval on a management agreement for a property in Frankfurt, which will be branded under the Cheval Maison brand, and on trademark matters and structuring matters in the UK and Europe.
Burges Salmon LLP has a reputable hotels and leisure offering which acts for a number of major investors and sovereign wealth funds. Overseen by key partners Richard Read and Rupert Weston, who split their time between London and Bristol, the team handles mid- to high-value M&A matters, investment and property finance deals. In the investment property space, Matthew Sims advises big-name hotel clients and luxury brands on acquisitions and portfolio management, while Katie Allen handles hotel financing transactions.
‘Excellent expertise in the sector; very responsive and easy to work with; commercial focus; solutions-oriented.’
‘Excellent focus on key messaging to clients and ability to quickly grasp and address the key commercial matters.’
‘Strong team. Work well with various members of our team and other law firms where needed.’
‘Strong local knowledge. Good at focusing on important aspects of a deal.’
‘The team is very commercial and is capable of appreciating wider commercial imperatives while advising on legal issues, which is very helpful. The team is also capable of making material progress within a short period of time.’
‘The team has an extensive track record in the leisure sector – I would recommend them very highly. They are very responsive, commercial in outlook and very good with detail.’
‘Specialist industry and sector knowledge is invaluable when it come to transactions in this sector and the team at Burges Salmon has considerable experience in this area, in part, at least, because of its work with us.’
‘The team at Burges Salmon is always a pleasure to deal with; the individuals we have worked with are all very capable in their various fields and exceptionally commercial and solutions-oriented in their approach.’
‘Robert Forman is a seasoned lawyer – good at building relationships.’
‘Claire MacLean is technically strong, good to work with, responsive.’
‘Robert Forman is very intelligent and capable. However, he is also extremely personable and has positive relationships and interpersonal skills with clients, other advisors and counterpart legal firms. This means that he can deal with delicate and potentially contentious matters quickly and efficiently.’
‘Richard Read is an excellent lawyer and very good as a relationship partner. He always makes himself available and responds rapidly to questions, especially if it is an urgent matter. He provides excellent advice and focuses on the commercial requirements of the client.’
HSBC UK Bank plc
London & Regional – Atlas Hotels
Darwin Leisure Development Fund
Hamilton Hotels Partners Investors/Hamilton Hotel Partners
Coutts & Co
London & Regional – Atlas Hotels
Waterside Holiday Group Limited
- Advised Arora Group on the £150m sale and leaseback of the Sofitel Hotel, London Gatwick Airport.
- Advising London & Regional Properties on the sale and leaseback and refinancing of Holiday Inn Express Portfolio, as well as the purchase of the Holiday Inn West Edinburgh.
- Advising Starwood Capital on the intra-group lease arrangements of two new Yotels, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the subsequent refinance of both hotels with Barclays.
Fladgate LLP has considerable experience in the hotel industry and is praised for its 'responsive and pro-active' approach. James Fry oversees the hotels group and handles commercial property matters for both owners and operators related to acquisitions, disposals, and development projects. Stephen Lewis heads the leisure group and advises private investors and industry operators on their leisure and construction matters. The team also handles transactions and some activity in the Middle Eastern markets. Eddie Powell is the IP contact in the team and is the name for management contracts and franchising issues. Other core members include real estate partner Gary Smith who specialises in all aspects of banking and financing work including corporate lending and refinancing.
‘In depth knowledge of the practical implications relating to the Hotel business, work extraordinarily well as a team of lawyers exceeding customer expectations.’
‘Having worked on numerous hotel transactions with Fladgate, I have always found their advice to be current, considered and reliable.’
‘ I rely heavily on James Fry’s experience and knowledge throughout each transaction. James will always assemble the best support team from Fladgate in the event that we require wider advice such as construction, funding or tax planning.’
‘Knowledgeable, helpful and flexible in approach. Go the extra yard to deliver great service.’
London & Regional Properties
Science Museum Group
Major League Baseball Properties Limited
Yo! Sushi UK Limited
Millennium and Copthorne Hotels
Otium Real Estate
National Portrait Group
- Advised on all aspects of the Clerkenwell Road, London EC1 development site of Fladgate client 100 Clerkenwell Road Limited, a 212-bedroom hotel to be operated (under management contract) by Yotel.
- Advised London residential developer Strawberry Star on a franchise and management agreement entered into with Radisson in respect of a proposed “Radisson Hotel Luton Airport” at the Napier Gateway, Luton.
- Retained by Major League Baseball as their UK legal advisers in relation to the organisation and delivery of the two regular Major League Baseball games taking place in London.
Glovers Solicitors LLP is 'extremely knowledgeable in the hospitality sector' and is a key name in the restaurant industry, acting for a range of clients on acquisitions. John Barber has more than three decades of expertise in the hospitality industry and has a specialism in handling acquisition work for 'grab-and-go' clients, while Philip Andrew Shotter acts for corporate occupiers in the leisure and retail area. Paul Jagger heads the licensing team and is a name to note for obtaining alcohol licenses for London and regional-based clients.
‘The firm are absolute experts in restaurant property, they are exceptionally professional and extremely knowledgeable on the hospitality sector.’
‘Paul Jagger and Philip Mundy are exceptional, they deal with every query promptly and effectively. They are diligent and approachable.’
‘The firm has substantial experience dealing with complicated licensing applications. It has high-end clients that operate multiple operations nationwide. They are a boutique one-stop-shop and deal with all aspects of a licensing application including conveyancing; planning and licensing.’
‘Both Paul Jagger and Philip Shotter are outstanding. They are hugely knowledgeable and experienced. They prepare excellent instructions and are keenly aware of the pitfalls that accompany every licence application.’
‘Glovers give personal and bespoke service and they are very good at adapting to the clients needs.’
Azzurri Restaurants Limited (Zizzi, Ask, Coca di Mama)
All Things Greek Limited
BDL Restaurants Limited (Bocca di Lupo, Plaquemine Lock)
Bricks and Fuel Limited
Deep Blue Restaurants Limited
Everyman Media Limited
Fatto A Mano Central Limited
Flat Iron Steak Limited
Frontier Pubs Limited
Gourmet Burger Kitchen Limited (GBK)
Hop Vietnamese Limited
Hush Brasseries Limited (Hush Mayfair)
Made of Dough Limited
McMullen and Sons Limited
Nando’s Chickenland Limited (Nando’s)
Noble Rot Limited
Ned’s Noodle Box (Holdings) Limited
Perilla Dining Limited
PizzaExpress (Restaurants) Limited
Phew Foods Limited
Tarts Kitchen Limited
Thinktank (Streatham Space Project)
The Good Egg Restaurants Limited
The Vurger Co Ltd
Wahaca Restaurants Limited
Vision Team Limited
ZLC London Limited (The Palomar and The Barbary)
Zandi Enterprises Limited (Zuaya)
- Advised Everyman Media Limited on its acquisition of three cinemas including sites at Egham Gateway East, Exeter and Marlow
- Acted for Wagamama Limited on the acquisition of new Wagamama restaurants at the Bower, London; Marble Arch and Sheldon Square as well as acting for the company on its first four ‘dark kitchen’ delivery sites and the acquisition of its first grab and go ‘Mamago’ site in the City.
- Acted for Deep Blue Restaurants Limited in connection with the property law matters arising from its purchase of Harry Ramsden’s from Boparan Restaurants Limited.
Goodwin has 'excellent knowledge' in the hospitality and leisure arena and handles a considerable volume of hotel transactions. Led by real estate partner Matthew Pohlman (who previously held a position as corporate counsel at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts) , the practice acts for a mixed array of operators, debt, and equity investors in hotels, resorts, and residential matters, playing roles on mandates including financing and M&A. New partner Martin Smith advises foreign investors and is recommended for his insight in all real estate related transactions. The team also works closely with its US practice in cross-border matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Great client loyalty and a lot of trust in them handling the bulk of work. They have an excellent knowledge of the industry and are highly commercial.’
‘James Spence and Martin Smith provide a consistently outstanding service.’
‘They know the sector and the agreements of their operator clients extremely well.’
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Caesars Entertainment Corporation
Oaktree Capital Management
RoundShield Partners LLP
Omnam Investment Group
Cairn Hotel Group
Masterworks Development Corporation (a/k/a/ Club Quarters)
- Advising RoundShield Partners on the negotiation of hotel and residential management agreements in connection with a new Six Senses Resort and Branded Residential Project in the Loire Valley, France.
- Representing Cairn Hotel Group on the negotiation of hotel management agreements in connection with the first “Treehouse”-branded hotel in the world, located in central London. Treehouse is a new global brand launched in 2019 by Starwood Hotel Group.
Specialist boutique Hamlins LLP has more than three decades of experience working with clients in the hospitality and leisure sector, with practice head Nigel Mason described as 'first-class' by clients. The team brings together expertise across real estate, construction, corporate, and intellectual property matters, and is active in the transactional space. Real estate partner Ben Kilshaw handles contentious and non-contentious real-estate transactions as well as advising corporate occupiers and purchasers on construction projects.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very hands on with our business and the senior partner is always ready to assist and help move projects on when required.’
‘Nigel Mason is a first-class adviser on all property-related matters and quickly get to the nub of issues and helps get them resolved.’
PPHE (formerly Park Plaza Hotels)
Ego Restaurants Holdings Limited
Roko Health Centres Limited
The Mint Group (Koko and Infernos)
Ping Pong Restaurants
Adventure Leisure Limited
- Acted for Leon Restaurants Limited on the acquisition of over thirty individual new leases largely in London in the last few years.
- Acted for Rosa’s Thai on the acquisition of new units in Leeds, Manchester, the Midlands and several in London.
- Advising PPHE (formerly Park Plaza Hotels) for more than a decade on various matters including real estate, construction and corporate advice.
Howard Kennedy LLP has key strengths acting across the leisure, restaurants, and hospitality industry and is co-led by head of hotels Ed John and head of retail and leisure Adam Walford. The team is active in merger and acquisitions and the client roster includes investors, developers, international operators, and luxury brands in the hotel sector. Crossborder work is featured in the caseload, with projects spread across the EMEA region. Previously a partner in the team, Eric Gummers is now a consultant but remains active in the hotel transaction space and advises on all matters related to corporate real estate.
Other key lawyers:
Six by Nico
- Advised Galliard on the acquisition and development of a property that was a police station to create a 150 room hotel off Whitehall. Acted on all aspects of the transaction including negotiation of the management agreement with Hyatt and concluded the asset and business sale to GSY Hospitality, part of the Abu Dhabi based Lulu Group.
- Assisting JKS Restaurants with all of their acquisitions for their own and partner brand restaurants including Hoppers and Bao at Kings Cross.
- Advising Padella and assisting them with the acquisition of their second site in Shoreditch.
Katten's hotels and leisure practice is described as 'commercial thinking and attentive' by clients and represents a range of lenders, developers and foreign investors across the hospitality industry. The team handles real estate transactions and investment under the leadership of London managing partner and practice head Peter Sugden, whilst Terry Green oversees hotel management work, with a particular emphasis on advising investors and operators on projects in EMEA, and the United States.
Other key lawyers:
‘Katten’s in-depth experience and integration within the hotels, hospitality, and leisure sectors provides exceptional insight for transactions and a reassuring focus on the key risks and opportunities in a deal.’
‘Attentive, flexible, and knowledgeable. Commercial thinking. Many other teams sell a product. Katten sells solutions.’
‘Peter Sugden’s guidance has been invaluable and always cost-effective.’
Shiva Kingsway Limited
Wyndham Worldwide (and subsidiaries)
BridgeStreet Global Hospitality (and subsidiaries)
Union Hanover Securities
Luxury Hotel Partners
AccorHotels/FRHI Hotels and Resorts
Fattal Hotels/Jurys Inn Group
Admiralty Arch Holdings
Geneva Management Group
London Town Hotels Group
- Advised Shiva on the sale and leaseback of land for the development of a 180 room Middle Eight hotel in central London.
- Advised Bridgestreet Global Hospitality on various matters including the negotiation of management agreements in respect of properties in Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and London.
- Advised Oaktree / Edyn on an agreement for lease, development agreement and development financing facility in respect of an apart-hotel and hotel project at a site in Cambridge.
At Lewis Silkin LLP, the hotels practice is known for its work with luxury brands and global hotel chains, with its The Collective initiative bringing together clients in the sector. Led by real estate partner Julia Poulter in London, the team handles transactional work in the commercial real estate space and advises on development projects and financing matters. Clare Reddy , who leads the construction group, is noted for her advisory work to developers, contractors, and occupiers in the corporate property sector, as is Rachel Francis-Lang who acts for corporate occupiers. Managing associate James Walters advises clients in the sector on employment matters.
Mayer Brown International LLP has a strong track record acting for domestic and European hotel investors on the full gamut of matters, including acquisitions, development projects, construction and financing mandates. With a clutch of well-known clients in the sector, the team is led by Andrew Hepner, who has strength in real estate transactions. Chris Harvey acts for Asian investors on large inbound investments into the UK.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team knows what aspects of agreements require input from the client, and they have a commercial mindset; hence they eliminate a lot of time required from our side. Whenever there’s an action required, their instructions are clear and comprehensive.’
Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP is 'commercially minded with a quick turnaround' and has vast international capacity with desks in Iran, Istanbul, and Russia to facilitate complex cross-border transactions. The hospitality practice is active in the transactional area and handles employment-related disputes, corporate matters, and refinancing work for hotels. Sarah Hung is a key contact for East Asian work and receives a number of instructions from that market, where she is noted for her development financing and investment. Co-head of the team John O’Callaghan handles hotel acquisition matters and has a real estate background. Other core members include senior associate Simon Lawrence ,who is highly praised by clients and has expertise handling Middle Eastern assets and investors.
Other key lawyers:
‘Sarah Hung is ruthless in approach and extremely commercial. She also understands what the client desires from a transaction and takes time to tailor her work to this.’
‘RFB are extremely well connected in the Hotel and Leisure Sector which adds value over and above that of other firms. They have been in this sector for over 20 years and their experience really shows on time-sensitive deals and in particular those involving offshore elements. Simon Lawrence is a leading name in the industry.’
‘John O’Callaghan knows how to lead large multi-disciplinary teams on large transactions. He is approachable with great judgement, his experience really shows on time-sensitive deals
‘Few lawyers have as much experience of the hotel and leisure sector than Simon Lawrence. If you have a large hotel transaction Simon Lawrence is one of the first names you call.’
‘The team have always acted with integrity and a quick turnaround. Thoroughness and service is of a high standard.’
Glasshouse Asset Management
Al Sraiya Group Limited (Qatar)
The Dominvs Group
Habib Bank AG Zurich
Cranfield Investments Limited
Comptoir Libanais (Levant Group)
Keystone Holdings Limited (Isle of Man)
Delphinus Developments Limited
Urban Spectrum Property Management Limited
- Instructed by major up-and-coming Lebanese Restaurant chain Comptoir Group Plc in relation to acquiring four leases for new premises with high rental value in key consumer areas across England.
- Acted for a hotel developer in relation to advising on boundary issues for a hotel development valued at £50m.
- Acted for a hotel owner in relation to the development of a hotel valued at £15m.
Shoosmiths LLP's hotels practice excels in advising institutional investors on corporate real estate transactions and financing matters. The full-service team works with hotel operators on construction and acquisitions, with particular attention paid to to market-entry advice and operations. The Milton-Keynes based Catherine Williams is the key name for real estate transactions for privately-owned developers, while commercial real estate matters are dealt with by Liam Phillips in London. Away from the capital, other core members of the group include Philip Ryan in the firm's Thames Valley office, who handles franchising agreements and heads up the licensing team. Large regional hotel operators and entertainment sector operators are some of the firm's key clients.
‘The team have great experience, are very proactive and incredibly approachable. The partners are very hands on and have a great team of capable associates.’
‘The team have a very good insight into the hospitality market, and have provided good practical advice.’
‘Liam Phillips provides very commercial and pragmatic advice, and is a valued business partner.’
Travelodge Hotels Limited
Travelopia Holdings Limited
Travelodge Hotels Limited
Travelodge Hotels Limited
OYO Hotels and Rooms
Revolution Bars Group Plc
Cineworld Group Plc
- Advised OYO Hotels in relation to its lease of the Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel from London Town Group.
- Advised easyhotel UK Limited on its letting of part of 80 Old Street, London, EC1V 9NN to a serviced office company.
- Advised Travelopia Holdings Limited on a data insight project which revolutionised the company’s management and monetisation of customer data, in order to deliver significant increased revenue.
At Trowers & Hamlins LLP, the hospitality team has wide experience acting in large-scale project work for both investors and owners. Led by real estate partner Julien Allen, the practice offers a holistic offering across construction, commercial property, and tax matters for hospitality and leisure clients, particularly for hotels and restaurants. The team has a strong reputation in the Middle Eastern market with instructions from high-profile hotel brands. Practice co-head and corporate expert Ayda Habboush has expertise in Islamic finance and assists shari'ah compliant clients on assets and acquisitions, and handles transactions for both UK and foreign investors. Other core members include David Cordery who advises private developers.
Other key lawyers:
Beechlane Investments Limited
Chelsea Events & Entertainment Limited
Juma Jubilee Limited
Arabica Borough Limited
- Acting for Midia Group Limited (through sister company Beechlane Investments Limited) as developer on the conversion of a historic grade 2 listed building in Le Mans Crescent to an 87 key boutique hotel.
- Advise Hermes Real Estate on construction and property matters, in particular in relation to the approx. £1.6bn of assets currently under management within the Hermes Property Unit Trust.
- Advising the Museum of London on the relocation of the Museum from its current site on London Wall to a new location in the historic Smithfield Market.
Watson Farley & Williams LLP has a solid track record acting for investors, property owners, and developers nationally and internationally on all aspects of hotel matters. Headed by Felicity Jones, the hospitality and leisure practice sits within the real estate group and has a large offering across construction, finance, and property planning. Barry Hembling advises property clients on contentious and non-contentious construction matters and has two decades of experience in this sector, while Petar Orlic , who joined from Reed Smith LLP , brings M&A experience. Other core members of the team include experienced corporate associate Rohan Inamdar who supports practice head Jones on transactional work.
‘The team spirit at WFW is one of the best in industry as it combines integrity, deep knowledge of the legal and commercial matters and very good spirit among the team players.’
‘We see Felicity Jones as a colleague, rather than a consultant. She understands our needs and where we need extra support. She is always a step ahead in her advice.’
‘Felicity Jones has great passion, deep knowledge of the industry, great commercial knowledge, and high personal engagement.’
‘They take a ‘small firm’ approach to clients, which enables excellent relationship development – they have the ability to attend to client needs at all times. They also adopt a commercial approach.’
‘Keen to ‘get the deal done’. Practical, pragmatic and realistic.’
‘Great professionalism, with strong reactivity and excellent knowledge of the industry. We have been working and growing together for 20 years and have never been disappointed. Why look for other firms if you have a good one?’
‘Felicity Jones is always a pleasure to work with, and establishes an excellent rapport with her clients, allowing a trusted adviser relationship to develop. Her strengths include a strong commercialism and the ability to successfully negotiate challenging points during a negotiation.’
‘Barry Hembling is very honest and open on the best way forward – he deals with technical issues very efficiently and handles negotiations extremely well.’
Norlake Hospitality Ltd/Ennismore International Management Ltd
BP Pension Fund
Frasers Hospitality UK
Chandris Hotels Group
Millennium Hotels and Resorts
Khanna Enterprises Limited t/a KE Hotels
Xenia Leisure Group Limited
The Petersham Hotel Group
Grupo Inversor Hesperia SA (Hesperia Hotels & Resorts)
- Advising Aprirose (owner of Q Hotels) on the creation of their management platform for their portfolio of hotels.
- Advising Le Palace Genève SA (the owners of the iconic Grand Hotel Geneva) on in its negotiations with Accor and its subsequent rebranding to the Fairmont brand.
- Advised shareholders of Richmond & Hampshire Ltd on the corporate restructuring and sale of The Elvetham Hotel to Jastar Capital Ltd.