Karen Friebe leads the multidisciplinary hotels, hospitality and leisure team at Bird & Bird LLP, which handles hotel acquisitions, development and disposals and is well-equipped to support businesses throughout their lifecycle. The practice stands out for its expertise in sustainability and wellness as they relate to the leisure sector, and has a particularly strong offering in tech, cyber, data and digital marketing for hotels and hospitality businesses. The food and beverage sector is a key area of focus, with growth in hotel restaurant outsourcings. With a dedicated hotel financing team, the firm stands out for its capability in this area, advising domestic and international banks, debt funds, mezzanine lenders and sponsors on both domestic and cross-border hotel finance transactions.
Hospitality and leisure in London
‘Karen Friebe is very competent and knowledgeable and knows who to go to for questions that are outside her area of expertise. She gives good commercial advice and always keeps things moving.’
‘Bird & Bird were fantastic from start to finish of this process and we felt very comfortable with their support throughout. They are very engaging and always available to discuss minute details and high-level strategy in negotiating.’
‘Extremely knowledgeable, very helpful, very flexible and very supportive.’
‘Bird & Bird are an exceptional firm and their knowledge, expertise and flexibility are second to none.’
‘Dynamic, fast turnaround’
‘The team demonstrate a real understanding of the sector and nuances associated with it.’
Pret a Manger
Fosun Tourism Group
- Advised Moto (the UK’s largest operator of motorway and roadside service areas) in connection with site acquisitions and disposals, as well as numerous estate management issues.
- Advised Santander on a corporate revolving credit facility under the UK Government backed Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme to the Park Plaza Hotels Group.
- Advised Chinese conglomerate Fosun on the acquisition of the Thomas Cook brand, and related intellectual property (including proprietary software and apps, domain names, and social media accounts) following Thomas Cook plc’s administration.
CMS advises a broad client base across the hotels and leisure sector, including hotel operators, investors, banks, restaurant groups, pubs, bars and members' clubs and entertainment chains. The practice is prominent in M&A work but also offers an extensive range of other services, including financing, restructuring and insolvency, tax, planning and litigation advice. Hotel management and franchise agreements are a particular area of strength, with the team handling renegotiations and terminations of agreements prompted by the pandemic, as well as entry and first investments into hotels by real estate clients using management agreement structures. Department head Thomas Page has expertise in hotel management agreements and regularly acts for international clients including investors, fund managers and banks. He has a strong record of advising on major hotel portfolio transactions.
Other key lawyers:
Louise Wallace; James Miller
‘Strong partner engagement in deals and good depth of team.’
‘Louise Wallace – a wealth of knowledge and an excellent grasp of all the key issues at play in the most complex of deals. She has an exceptional legal brain.’
‘Dedicated hotels team with good connections and knowledge of the sector.’
‘The scale and geographic breadth of CMS’s hospitality practices means that they have an excellent, in-depth up-to-date knowledge of the issues affecting our industry.’
Ennismore (Hoxton Hotels)
RDI REIT plc
Social Entertainment Ventures
Archer Hotel Capital
Invesco Real Estate
Schroder Real Estate
- Advised Ennismore on six hotel management agreement transactions during 2020-21.
- Handled a trio of major restructurings in the restaurants sector.
- Advised RDI REIT plc on the £467m cash offer by funds managed by Starwood Capital to acquire RDI REIT plc, which owns a mixed real estate portfolio consisting of hotels, offices, retail and logistics and a 27% equity interest in RBH Hotels Group.
Dentons fields a leading global hospitality and leisure team that is able to leverage the firm's global reach, with strength across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It frequently advises owners, investors, high net worth individuals and capital sources, including investment funds and private equity firms. Core areas of work for the dedicated practice include sophisticated international acquisitions and dispositions, and day-to-day hotel operational issues such as employment, contract administration, legal risk limitation mitigation and commercial strategy. London partner Simon Masri has extensive experience in hotel investment and mixed-use development projects, for which the group is highly recommended. Masri has been very active guiding hotel clients during the Covid-19 pandemic, advising on restructurings, banking waivers and standstill agreements. Senior associate Laura Gowing is a key name for hotel financing and transactions. Mark Daliere is head of hotels for the UK and the Middle East, while Rick Ross chairs the global hotels group; both are based in Phoenix.
Mark Daliere; Rick Ross (US based)
Other key lawyers:
Simon Masri; Laura Gowing
‘Brilliant and personal service.’
‘Everything is concluded quickly, and with experience they optimise contractual documents to save time and deliver top results to get a deal done.’
‘Expert knowledge of all areas within the hospitality sector and proactive provision of guidance and support when dealing with borrowing opportunities for our customers.’
‘They are able to take on board the idiosyncrasies of your business and build them into the legal documentation. They are able to be extremely pragmatic and commercial and not solely dogmatic and box ticking in their approach so you genuinely feel and know they have your back.’
‘All those involved were very professional, knowledgeable and were able to navigate around a difficult period with a not so easy transaction.’
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 Belfont Hotels Ltd on its acquisition of the business and assets known as the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Leeds, England from Peel Hotels Limited.
- Advised China-headquartered CIMC Capital on the sale of the ‘Hampton by Hilton at Bristol Airport’ to Ability Group.
- Advised KSL on their acquisition of a French hotel group (Cezanne/Alpaga) consisting of 4 asset purchases and one share purchase from the same family.
Taylor Wessing LLP is a go-to firm for major M&A deals in the hotels space in the UK and Europe, advising on both single asset and portfolio sales. The firm also has strong links to high net worth investors based across the Middle East. The hospitality and leisure practice is additionally well-known for handling hotel development, hotel management agreements and franchise agreements, advising on hotel development and branded residence projects with a value of £2 billion in 2021. Group lead Richard Bursby has acted on a wide variety of cross-border hotel transactions in the UK, Europe and elsewhere; he is regarded as an authority on hotel management agreements and branded residential developments.
Other key lawyers:
Mark Rajbenbach; Edward Story; Ronald Graham
‘Ed Story and Richard Bursby are two of the most experienced and well respected partners in the hospitality industry. The knowledge they bring is second to none but it is the style and approach which they bring which I feel makes them stand out.’
‘The Taylor Wessing team are industry leaders.’
PPHE / Park Plaza
RBH Hospitality Management
London & Regional
The Ability Group
Crosstree Real Estate Partners
Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Addleshaw Goddard's strong real estate and construction practices underpin its ability to handle large and complex transactions in the hotel and leisure space. The group advises on the full cycle of work from construction, to ownership, operation, to sales of a hotel or leisure asset, working across the full range of the hotel sector, from budget to luxury and boutique hotels. Restructuring, refinancing and administration of hotels and dining groups are significant areas of growth for the team, which has a well-regarded hotel finance market, acting for institutional lender clients as well as a growing number of hotel developers and investors. Luke Baines and Lucy Sturrock jointly head the team with Zoe Maurer, who is the key contact for hotel finance.
Luke Baines; Zoe Maurer; Lucy Sturrock
‘Know the industry well, proactive in making contact, responsive and commercial advice.’
‘Service is very personable with key contacts maintained across all levels and different teams. There is also an appreciation of the level of commercialism that is required to meet the clients’ needs.’
‘Luke Baines has fantastic client management – checks in regularly and proactively raises matters or developments that could be of relevance to us.’
‘Lucy Sturrock, as partner, has continuously maintained an excellent service with an excellent work ethic to achieve the client’s requirement.’
‘Zoe Maurer really impressed with a knowledgeable can-do attitude to get a complicated deal over the line.’
Aareal Bank AG (Lenders – Hotel Specialist Team)
Aberdeen Standard Investments (Standard Life Assurance Limited)
AIB Group (UK) plc (Lenders – Hotel Specialist Team)
Aprirose (Investors in hotels)
Apsen Hotels Ltd
Battersea Power Station Development Company
Be At One Limited
Clydesdale (Lenders – Hotel Specialist Team)
Coutts (Lenders – Hotel Specialist Team)
Criterion Capital (hotel owners)
Eastern and Oriental Plc (owner and developer)
Ennismore (owner of Hoxton Hotels and Gleneagles)
FTI Consulting LLP (as Administrators of Prezzo Limited)
Greene King (pub and restaurant operators)
KTB Asset Management
OakNorth Bank plc
SACO Real Estate Group (aparthotels)
Santander (Lenders – Hotel Specialist Team)
Shearings Hotels Ltd (hotel operators)
Sonder Europe Limited
Staycity (aparthotel operators)
Travelodge Hotels Ltd (hotel operators)
TH UK & Ireland Limited
- Advised long-standing client Travelodge on their property portfolio and supporting the business through the numerous challenges arising from the pandemic.
- Acted for Clydesdale on development financing of the first branded Virgin Hotel in Europe.
- Acted for Ennismore (owners of Hoxton and Gleneagles) on its portfolio of hotels and private members clubs across the UK and Europe.
Baker McKenzie's multi-disciplinary hotels, resorts and tourism team works across numerous key practice areas, seamlessly handling domestic and international projects. In addition to acquisitions, divestitures and construction and development, the practice assists on all aspects of finance and capital raising and on hotel management and franchise agreements. Other key areas of work include technology and communications agreements, complex dispute resolution and tax structuring. Further, the group is highly recommended for its environmental expertise, assisting clients with regulations and standards that affect the development of hotels, resorts and golf courses. Team lead Justin Salkeld concentrates on operational and investment real estate assets, particularly hotel assets.
Other key lawyers:
FS JV Co (owners of the ‘Planet’ portfolio)
Cockpit Hotel (London) Ltd
Deutsche Hospitality Group
Capri (Versace, Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors)
- Handled Edwardian Group’s 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, arguing that VAT costs should not be added to customer loyalty schemes.
- Advised Britannia Hospitality under a retainer arrangement on all operational matters relating to its luxury Mayfair hotel, The Stafford.
The cross-departmental practice at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP provides full spectrum coverage for a top-end clientele of owners, developers, operators, lenders and investors. The group boasts an excellent track record of market-leading projects and developments, also handling significant acquisitions, disposals and licensing arrangements. It houses a multi-jurisdictional team focused on hotel management, franchising and operational agreements. The team stands out for its capacity to assist international clients and, during the Covid-19 pandemic, has coordinated its international network, notably between the London and Singapore offices, to provide a 24-hour service. Commercial real estate expert Chris de Pury assists domestic and international investors. He jointly chairs the group with Laura Wild, who acts for senior and mezzanine lenders and is highly regarded for her work in investment and development finance for hotels.
Laura Wild; Chris de Pury
‘Moved heaven and earth to make sure we are still in business and ready to embrace the reopening of our restaurants’
‘Laura Wild is an exceptional professional, well established with an excellent reputation in the market. She is always very prompt, reliable and knowledgeable.’
‘The combination of professional, approachable lawyers and reasonable fees makes BCLP one of the most desirable law firms in the market.’
‘A coordinated multi disciplined team that works above and beyond to get the job done.’
‘The individuals concerned are all experienced lawyers, who are not only technically excellent but very personable too and make the legal side of the transaction easier to understand as a lay person.’
PPHE Hotel Group
EquityBridge Asset Management
- Acted on the development of two hotels in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford.
- Continued to advise UOL Group on the development of ONE Bishopsgate Plaza in the City of London, which includes a new 5 star “Pan Pacific” hotel and branded residences.
- Acted for Touriste, a French group operating boutique hotels in Paris, on its acquisition of The Chrysos Hotel, London, which was the group’s first hotel outside of Paris and their first London investment.
Clifford Chance LLP's hospitality and leisure practice focuses on high-end, complex transactions in the hotel industry, including cross-border deals. Its client roster includes investors, owners, operators, developers, lenders and borrowers. The London team can draw on the firm's global specialist hospitality group, which has significant transactional real estate expertise. Alis Pay is a key name here: she specialises in advising international investors on cross-border real estate portfolio transactions and has handled high value and trophy hotel deals. She jointly heads the team with Sarah Thomas, who concentrates on direct and indirect equity investment in real estate, advising owners, occupiers and operators on their investments in hotels.
Alis Pay; Sarah Thomas
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Carnegie; Jane Cheong Tung Sing
‘Very knowledgeable and is able to offer excellent, well thought through advice.’
Mitsubishi Estate London
Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts
The HongKong and Shanghai Hotels Limited
- Advised Aldau Development, an Egyptian based developer and major new entrant into the London Development market on their first large development in the UK.
- Advised on a £340 million facility secured by the Berkeley Hotel and the Connaught Hotel.
- Acted for the Agent and syndicate of five lenders on the financing for Qatari Diar of the development of the old US Embassy Building at 30 Grosvenor Square into an ultra-luxury hotel to be managed and operated by Rosewood.
DLA Piper‘s hospitality and leisure group acts for owners, investors, operators and financial institutions. The firm’s global reach means that the practice is well-equipped to handle complex cross-border transactions in the hotels space, and regularly takes on portfolio deals covering multiple jurisdictions. The team also has broader experience within the sector, advising on work relating to theme parks and attractions, sports grounds and facilities, pub portfolios and golfing resorts. A one-stop-shop, it advises on construction and development, financing, investment and corporate acquisitions and franchising matters. Transactional experts Matt Duncombe and Joanne Owen jointly chair the department. James Davison, lead restructuring partner within the sector, joined from Addleshaw Goddard in July 2020 and has been key to supporting clients throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Matt Duncombe; Joanne Owen
Other key lawyers:
‘Industry wide expertise in all aspects of legal advice on hotel development.’
‘Really strong team with a razor sharp focus on the commercial deal.’
‘James Davison is an exceptionally client focused partner. He always makes himself available, goes out of his way to understand the key commercial considerations of a transaction and will bring in whatever expertise is required from his colleagues to ensure the client has the best team available.’
The Blackstone Group International Partners LLP
Wood Street Hotel Limited
Orca Holding Limited
Edyn (a Brookfield company)
Sandman Hotel Group
DFI/ BCP Capital
Chris Stewart Group
Aareal Bank AG
- Acted for Blackstone Real Estate Advisors on its acquisition of Bourne Leisure Limited and its subsidiary businesses, Butlins, Haven Holidays and Warner Hotels.
- Advised Wood Street Hotel Limited on their prospective development of the former Wood Street police station in the City of London.
- Advised Marriott on its entry into the “sharing economy”.
Hogan Lovells International LLP advises on projects ranging from management agreements, to hotel portfolio sales and purchases, to new developments and financings, with its client base including hotel investors, developers, financiers and operators. Jackie Newstead is the firm's global head of real estate; she is highly recommended for commercial real estate and has extensive experience in acquisitions, lettings, hotels and finance. The practice has a well-regarded hotel finance team, acting for borrowers and lenders, such as debt funds and banks. It has a strong record of both domestic and pan-European transactions. Drafting and restructuring of management and operational agreements and hotel-related disputes are other core areas of work.
Other key lawyers:
Gorgeous Smiling Hotels
M&G Real Estate
Millenium & Copthorne
Valor Hospitality Partners
William Pears Group
The multidisciplinary hospitality and leisure group at Norton Rose Fulbright advises hotel owners, operators, developers and private financiers on matters across the sector. It has significant experience in hotel operations, technical services, condominiums and hotel financing, and is bolstered by the firm’s wider strengths in planning, tax, construction and IP within the sector. The team has assisted clients with issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, negotiating relief packages, including business interruption loans, and helping both owners and operators with concessionary packages to avoid defaults. Practice head Wasim Khan works with a number of major investors in the Middle East, including sovereign wealth funds, and has extensive expertise in Islamic finance. London regeneration and redevelopment-focused Sarah Fitzpatrick joined from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.
Other key lawyers:
Dan Kennedy; Sarah Fitzpatrick
British Racing Drivers Club Limited
PPHE Hotel Group (Park Plaza)
57 Whitehall S.à.r.l.
Al Faisal Holding
United Overseas Bank and Bangkok Bank
Deutsche Finance Limited
HSBC Bank plc
Olympus Property Holding Limited
Standard Chartered Bank
777 Partners LLC
Setha Chipping Norton Limited
- Advised Deutsche Finance and Yoo Capital on the London Olympia redevelopment scheme.
- Advised 57 Whitehall S.à.r.l. on the continued development of the first Raffles hotel in the UK.
- Advised the British Racing Drivers Club on the development by Escapade Living of 60 new luxury holiday lodges.
Pinsent Masons LLP
The hotels and leisure team at Pinsent Masons LLP takes a multidisciplinary approach to the sector, with capabilities in property, corporate, commercial, restructuring, regulatory and litigation work. In addition to an extensive roster of domestic mandates, the group handles cross-border investment work and advises overseas clients on English law contracts. Practice head Nick Skea-Strachan advises on a range of transactions within the hotel and hospitality sectors, but has particular experience of management contracts and franchising, areas where the firm has a specialist offering, as well as M&A. Claire Hughes heads the client relationships team within the real estate sector, and is highly regarded for advising on hotel and leisure assets and large mixed-use schemes.
Other key lawyers:
‘Extensive experience across across the breadth of the business and a pragmatic approach.’
‘They have an excellent knowledge of the sector and a true understanding of what we require from a legal perspective.’
‘They are very approachable, outstanding at what they do and make the whole process that much easier to deal with.’
‘Claire Hughes has an outstanding knowledge of the hospitality industry in the UK and she knows many of the major players personally. She is very accessible, she thrives when she needs to think outside the box and she is an excellent communicator even of complex legal matters. She is and will certainly remain our go-to counsel for any major hotel commercial real estate matters in the UK.’
‘Nick Skea-Strachan is very good with clients, very personable, easy to get on with, and knows his stuff.’
Legal and General
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc
Henderson Park Capital
Melia Hotels International
Rhubarb Food Design limited
Kew Green Hotels
Liverpool City Council
Burges Salmon LLP works with a range of clients in the sector including international investors, leading banks, and hotel and leisure funds, as well as hotel owners and operators. The practice has seen a substantial increase in the volume and value of work originating outside the UK. Clients benefit from the full service firm's wider expertise, which includes strengths in M&A, investment and development, property finance, portfolio management and a wide range of commercial arrangements. Rick Read heads the team, while Rupert Weston leads the specialist hotels group.
Rick Read; Rupert Weston
‘Excellent team of very capable lawyers. Incredibly responsive, hands-on and commercial.’
‘Very results-oriented and always going the extra mile to achieve the optimum results for their clients.’
‘Deep industry knowledge, strong commercial acumen, very “user friendly” and client focused.’
Danolly Investments Limited
Rule Investments Limited
Darwin Leisure Development Fund
Andrew Brownsword Hotels
Bakers + Baristas UK Limited
Muzinich & Co
- Acted for investors on the sale of a prominent hotel in the centre of the World Heritage City of Bath.
- Acted as counsel to Darwin Leisure Development fund on the acquisition of the Stratford Armouries Museum and all surrounding land for the expansion of its leisure offering in the area.
- Advised Andrew Brownsword Hotels on the disposal of the site of the former Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter.
Fladgate LLP is recommended for owner-operators and developers across the hospitality sector, with clients including casinos, restaurants, cinema chains, pub groups and leisure funds. Museums and galleries are a core focus for the practice, which has advised on the refurbishment of the National Portrait Gallery. The group also advises a number of resorts, sports and private members' clubs, and has a dedicated hotels practice, headed by James Fry, which assists with land and building acquisitions, planning and conversion, development and finance matters. Stephen Lewis leads the wider department, and is known for his work in commercial real estate.
James Fry; Stephen Lewis
‘The team are experienced in working both for landlords and tenants in this sector and are also keen to understand the workings of the sector behind the legal documents.’
‘Stephen Lewis is very knowledgeable about leisure, having been a key member of the leisure property forum for many years, Stephen also has a keen commercial mind and brings pragmatic and real world solutions to legal agreements.’
Otium Real Estate
Yo! Sushi UK Limited
Round App Ltd
The Board of Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery
London & Regional Properties
Millennium and Copthorne Hotels
Science Museum Group
- Advised Otium on the purchase of the Robin Leisure Park Anjou Boulevard Wigan.
- Advised Yo! Sushi UK on a review of the company’s leases in England and Wales, assembling a team to review almost 80 leases and prepare a report on contingent liabilities in connection with the company’s CVA.
- Advised online ordering service Round App on terms for customers (pubs and bars), consumers and data protection compliance.
Goodwin's fast-growing leisure and hospitality practice acts for a roster of clients including equity and debt investors, alternative lenders and high-net-worth individuals, as well as major global brands and hotel and resort owners/operators. In addition to the team's well-established financing, management, branding and development expertise, it has expanded into dispute resolution, financial restructuring and technology licensing work for clients in the sector. Real estate partner and sector lead Matthew Pohlman advises on the acquisition, disposition and financing of hospitality assets. With close links to the firm's US practice, the London team offers good global transactional insight.
‘Goodwin understands the hospitality industry from the perspective of the hotel and resort brands. Their industry knowledge cannot be beaten.’
‘Matt Pohlman is incredibly experienced and is the “go to” lawyer in London for knowledge of and legal service to the industry.’
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Oaktree Capital Management
RoundShield Partners LLP
Cairn Hotel Group
Masterworks Development Corporation (a/k/a Club Quarters)
- Advised Away Resorts on the purchase of the property and business of the St Ives Bay Holiday Park
- Advised Four Seasons on the negotiation of hotel development, management and brand license agreements for a new resort in Mallorca, Spain.
- Advised Four Seasons on the negotiation of hotel development, management and brand license agreements for a new resort in Puglia, Italy.
Howard Kennedy LLP‘s multidisciplinary hotels, hospitality and leisure team is a one-stop shop, advising on M&A transactions and advisory work. A significant portion of work over the last year has involved Covid crisis management, with the practice providing strategic advice on non-payment of rent claims and debt proceedings. Department head Adam Walford focuses on asset management and the acquisition and disposal of commercial property, concentrating particularly on restaurants.
Other key lawyers:
Duncan Bagshaw; Stephanie Brigg
‘Great team, very responsive when called and via email. Lots of common sense as well as sound legal advice.’
‘We have had a very good experience with working with the team in their understanding of the nitty-gritty of transactions.’
‘Their specialists have proved very useful and very professional.’
‘Having used the property/commercial team at Howard Kennedy for a number of years I find it difficult to fault them.’
Six by Nico
Universo Pacha S.A.
The East London Pub Co.
Wonderland Restaurants Limited
- Advised Pacha, the Spanish lifestyle and entertainment brand on the acquisition of the former Café de Paris nightclub for the group’s cabaret and restaurant concept Lio.
- Advised Sidechick on the James Street lease acquisition in Marylebone for the new chicken-based concept from the team behind Patty & Bun.
- Advised Wonderland Restaurants on the lease acquisition and agreement for the Brewer Street basement venue of The Crown Estate’s Grade II listed building .
Katten focuses on providing transactional, operational and crisis management support to a wide range of entities within the hospitality sector. Clients include operators, owners, developers, investors and franchisees within restaurant chains, theme parks, casinos and resorts. The team is distinguished by its partners' hands-on experience, with several having worked in-house at hospitality companies. Practice head Peter Sugden concentrates on real estate investment, development, joint ventures and other transactions in the UK and across Europe; the group also has significant experience in international markets, including Africa, the Middle East and Australia. Senior associate Tim Dodd has in-house experience negotiating management and franchise agreements.
Other key lawyers:
‘The practice is lead by a seasoned and experienced team.’
‘Timothy Dodd has been exceptional and efficient in providing expert legal opinions on matters pertaining to the hospitality industry. I have been impressed by the industry knowledge, swift response, and ongoing engagement during these difficult times.’
Shiva Kingsway Limited
Union Hanover Securities
Luxury Hotel Partners
AccorHotels/FRHI Hotels and Resorts
Fattal Hotels/Jury’s Inn Group
Geneva Management Group
London Town Hotels Group
Atelier-Ace London Limited (Ace hotels)
Gansevoort Hotel Group
Bob W Technologies UK Limited
- Represented Fattal in the purchase of the freehold interest in the Gostins building in Liverpool for £6.85 million.
- Assisted Jury’s Hotel with an agreement for lease for a new 284 bedroom hotel in Pall Mall, Liverpool with Kier Property, as Owner/Developer.
- Advised AL Curtain Tenant Ltd on the negotiation of the surrender of the lease of the Curtain hotel, London, the termination of a series of operational contracts and the drawdown mechanics of the landlord under a letter of credit, before overseeing the liquidation of the tenant entity.
Hospitality and leisure is a core sector focus for Lewis Silkin LLP. Work for luxury lifestyle and retail brands is a significant growth area for the team, with its clients including hotel chains, restaurants and travel and leisure operators. In addition to providing real estate and development advice, the firm is highly regarded for the strength of its employment and immigration practice across the hospitality industry. Julia Poulter concentrates her practice on commercial real estate, in particular the high-value central London market; she jointly heads the group with employment specialist Anna Sella.
Julia Poulter; Anna Sella
Four Seasons Hotels
- Advised Bow Street Hotel Ltd on the redevelopment of the Grade II Listed former Bow Street Magistrates Court and Police Station into a boutique hotel and police museum.
- Acted for Trailfinders Limited in a claim for breach of confidence and misuse of confidential information.
- Advised MJS Investment Company on a corporate joint venture (with Azumi/Dream International) and over 10 separate franchise deals.
Paul Hastings LLP
Michael James heads the hospitality and leisure department at Paul Hastings LLP; he has a strong reputation in the corporate real estate space, advising on hotel acquisitions and operations, as well as financing, joint ventures and fund investments in the UK and Europe. Other key areas of focus for the firm include restructurings and reorganisations involving hotel and leisure assets, as well as hotel management agreements and franchise agreements.
Other key lawyers:
‘Highly experienced team. Great industry expertise and hospitality. Very commercial.’
‘Paul Hastings demonstrate a level of commercial awareness above and beyond any other law firm I have worked with. Their legal ability is of course never in question but Michael & team are able to quickly foresee, grasp and explain any issues and, more importantly, propose legal and commercial solutions to quickly resolve and address them.’
‘Michael James – it is great to find a partner that rolls up his sleeves and gets involved; Michael goes above and beyond to get the job done.’
‘Stephen Nicolas – over many years now, Stephen has shown his understanding of our business; he thinks strategically to ensure we are dealing with all issues, not only those strictly in the legal sense. He will go far in his profession.’
- Represented Starwood Capital in relation to the corporate acquisition of the Skt Petri Hotel in Denmark and related retail units.
- Advised A&O Hostels on their acquisition of a hostel/hotel from Safestay PLC, in Edinburgh.
- Assisted luxury hotel and leisure business De Vere Hotels with the restructuring of its business as a result of the lockdown restrictions imposed on the hospitality industry by the UK Government in light of the pandemic.
The hotels and leisure sector group at Shoosmiths LLP focuses on advising institutional investors, providing a full spectrum of support on corporate and real estate acquisitions. The team advises a roster of hotel operators on real estate, construction, commercial, regulatory and disputes work, with a growing practice in helping challenger and new hotel operators penetrate the UK market. Liam Phillips has significant experience in the sector, having led on large ‘trophy’ hotels and hotel portfolio purchases. He jointly heads the team with Catherine Williams, who specialises in hotel transactions.
‘Good knowledge in almost every sector a business needs. A one-stop shop for all legal advice.’
‘Working with legal teams previously, they would often look at one outcome, whereas I found the professionals with Shoosmiths were happy to work with us to explore all possible outcomes of the case.’
Travelodge Hotels Limited
Travelopia Holdings Limited
OYO Hotels and Rooms
Nicolas James Group – Harbour Hotels and Nici Hotels
Revolution Bars Group Plc
McDonald’s Restaurants Limited
The Restaurant Group
Odeon Cinemas Limited
- Advised OYO Hotels on the acquisition of the OYO London Flagship Finchley (formerly the Ramada Finchley) from Lester Hotels Group.
- Acquisition of the Savoy Hotel, Bournemouth which was acquired for immediate refurbishment and future redevelopment
- Acted for Revolution Bars Limited to successfully pass a CVA with its creditors.
Felicity Jones heads both the real estate and hotel and hospitality groups at Watson Farley & Williams LLP. The practice combines cross-practice experience in planning, real estate, construction and finance with sector-focused knowledge to advise a broad range of clients, including investors, developers, brands and franchisees. The team is notable for the geographical reach of its work across Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. Hotel financing-focused Richard Hughes joined from Pinsent Masons LLP and has experience in UK and European portfolios and loan portfolios secured on hotels.
Other key lawyers:
Richard Hughes; Barry Hembling
‘They are client friendly, always reachable and provide good advice.’
‘We have switched from an ‘in-house’ counsellor to WFW a few years ago. WFW is attentive, thorough and utterly professional in their conduct.’
‘Deep knowledge of the hotel business and contracts.’
Norlake Hospitality Limited (Hoxton)
BP Pension Fund
Chandris Hotels Group
Millennium Hotels and Resorts
Khanna Enterprises Limited t/a KE Hotels
Xenia Leisure Group Limited
Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming Limited
Zaha Hadid Architects (“ZHA”)
Grupo Inversor Hesperia SA (Hesperia Hotels & Resorts)
- Advised Le Palace Genève SA (the owners of the iconic Grand Hotel Geneva) on its negotiations with Accor and its subsequent rebranding to the Fairmont brand.
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP works with a wide range of hospitality and leisure clients, including many household names. Recent work has focused on advising clients on the implications of the pandemic, as well as real estate, finance and employment matters. The lead UK partners are corporate employment lawyer Michael Powner and real estate head Lee Medlock. Jason Saiban works with some of the team's best-known clients on commercial matters, while senior associate Caroline Swain leads the firm's food and beverage team; she is also a commercial contracts specialist. Sarah Morley, who co-heads the office occupiers group, is another key name. The team caters to international clients by working in tandem with real estate specialist Simon Green in Hong Kong; he heads up the hotels and hospitality practice across Asia and the Middle East.
Michael Powner; Lee Medlock
Other key lawyers:
Jason Saiban; Sarah Morley; Caroline Swain
‘The CRS team understand hospitality and brand reputations. They enable us to think differently and look at issues from a different point of view. They are ahead of upcoming issues and help to define the industry’s response and conversations.’
‘Mike Powner has a deep understanding of the hospitality space and is highly engaged around the issues and opportunities that we face. He and his team’s advice is first class and their attention to detail around contractual matters is excellent.’
The Dorchester Hotel
David Lloyd Gyms
- Provided ongoing advice to Ascot Racecourse regarding the impact of the Government’s changing COVID regulations on Ascot’s ability to operate its hospitality facilities at the racecourse (including restaurants, hospitality boxes and conferencing facilities) during the various lockdowns.
- Provided critical advice to Caffe Nero on its heads of terms and manufacturing and distribution agreement with Greencore for all of its UK stores after the administration of Adelie (Caffe Nero’s previous authorised distributor).
- Acted for longstanding client David Lloyd Leisure Limited on the freehold sale and 30-year leaseback of one of its leisure properties to a Jersey Trust Fund for considerable consideration in excess of £25m.
Fieldfisher's group of specialist hotel and leisure lawyers advise clients including hotels, serviced apartments, casinos, restaurants and holiday travel companies. Practice head and real estate partner Paul Houston is particularly well-known for managing the roll-out of branded leisure concepts and for large-scale portfolio sales and purchases. The team is highly recommended for international franchising work, as well as for sector-specific commercial advice.
‘Fieldfisher have a wide range of expertise across many facets of our industry which we have found very useful in supporting us in our business whether from Hotel Management Agreements to GDPR and HR. Always very knowledgeable, responsive and supportive.’
‘Paul Houston always impresses . He is a quick study of the key commercial points – and knows what really matters to his clients . His ability to turn around large projects within challenging timescales never ceases to impress.’
‘We are absolutely delighted with the work that the team at Fieldfisher does with us. They are unique in their ability to understand the commercials of deals, and bring the relevant resource in from wider teams to achieve these.’
Al-Seef Tourism Investment LLC
Coffee-Bike International Limited
CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice
Creams Café Limited
GHG London Holdings
Interstate Hotels & Resorts
Millenium & Copthorne Hotels
Secret Escapes Limited
Smith Global Limited (Trading as Mr and Mrs Smith)
The shareholders of Cruising Excursions Limited
Vastint Hospitality B.V
William Hill Organisation
- Advised Vastint Hospitality B.V on the sale of its property portfolio comprising the Moxy Hotel Group.
- Advised Interstate Hotels and Resorts on a complex transaction to appoint Interstate as the new hotel management company for Jupiter hotels’ UK portfolio of 31 UK properties made up of both Mercure and Holiday Inn branded hotels.
- Advised Dominvs Group, a UK based private equity and hotel development company on the acquisition of a strategically important development site in Milton Keynes, the pre-letting of the site to Premier Inn Hotels and a subsequent sale by way of forward funding to M&G.
Andrew Parker, who has considerable experience in hotel sector construction, heads Forsters LLP' hotel and leisure team. The group provides a broad range of contentious and non-contentious advice to hotel owners, operators, developers and financiers on developments in London and the UK. The practice also boasts extensive expertise in luxury and boutique hotels. Key areas of work include hotel acquisitions, lease agreements, financing and planning.
Other key lawyers:
Victoria Edwards; Ben Brayford
‘Very commercial and client-focused.’
‘The firm is active in the hotels market, and team is proactive in dealing with matters, taking their cue from the commercials of a transaction to get the deal the client wants.’
‘The property team at Forsters LLP works tirelessly in providing the right outcome for their clients.’
‘Strong understanding of hotel sector and how property interlinks.’
‘Ben Brayford is a very pragmatic real estate lawyer, while retaining an eye for detail.’
‘Andrew Parker heads up the property team at Forsters and is a wonderful ambassador for the practice. Andrew’s construction knowledge and calm manner make him an ideal lawyer to have on your side.’
Consolidated Developments Limited
Southrop Estates Limited
Wrenbridge Sport and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Reignwood UK Limited
Joint Treasure International
Soho House Limited
The Grove Hotel and Golf Course
Wentworth Golf Club
Boutique property law practice Glovers Solicitors LLP has an outstanding record advising restaurant clients, as well as pub companies, cinema groups and grab-and-go operators. Key areas of work include supporting clients on day-to-day operational matters and on growth through acquisitions. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the practice has been advising on rent concession agreements, property work following on from corporate restructuring, and providing litigation support. Practice head Philip Shotter acts for a wide roster of restaurant clients, ranging from large operators to independents and developing independent chains.
Other key lawyers:
‘Dealing with Glovers has been an absolute pleasure.’
‘Total industry knowledge and experience – able to draw on past deals that can really improve the nature of the work being done.’
‘All very straightforward and pragmatic. Clear thinkers and give solid advice.’
‘A really good boutique firm that caters for everything that new and existing premises would need.’
‘Glovers provides us with a brilliant and personal approach. They are extremely flexible, good value, very diligent and 100% committed to protecting our business.’
‘Philip Shotter and Paul Jagger are outstanding. Both have a really good and sound knowledge of these area and are very up to date and client friendly.’
All Things Greek Limited
ASK Italian Restaurants Limited
BDL Restaurants Limited (Bocca di Lupo, Plaquemine Lock)
Black Goo Ltd
Club Mexicana Limited
Chalk Restaurants Limited
Deep Blue Restaurants Limited
Everyman Media Limited
Fatto A Mano Limited
Flat Iron Steak Limited
Frontier Pubs Limited
Hache Burger Connoisseurs Limited
Hop Vietnamese Limited
McMullen and Sons Limited
Nando’s Chickenland Limited (Nando’s)
Noble Rot Limited
Neds Noodle Box (Holdings) Limited
Perilla Dining Limited
Pizza Express Restaurants Limited
Prezzo Trading Limited
The Vurger Co Ltd
Zambrero UK Holdings Limited
Zandi Enterprises Limited (Zuaya and Como Garden)
Zizzi Restaurants Limited
ZLC London Limited (The Palomar and The Barbary)
- Actied for Zizzi Restaurants Limited and ASK Italian Restaurants Limited on the acquisition of 184 restaurants following the pre-pack Administration of Azzurri Restaurants Limited.
- Aced for Prezzo Trading Limited on the acquisition of approximately 130 restaurants following the pre-pack Administration of Prezzo Limited to include dealing with the lease assignments and associated rent concession arrangements for every site following on from the Covid-19 Pandemic
- Acting for Wagamama Limited on its acquisition of four delivery kitchens as well as continuing to advise the company on all estate management work extending this year to consensual negotiations of Covid-19 related rent concession arrangements with the company’s ‘major’ landlords.
Hamlins LLP stands out for its expertise in brand and site development work. The practice has significant experience in rolling out high street brands through the acquisition of sites and negotiation of new leases for new restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs. The group also has a strong offering for hotels, holiday and travel businesses, assisting both boutique operators and global brands. Key areas of work here include acquisitions, disputes, developments and day-to-day operational issues. Team head Nigel Mason has a good record advising on large and complex development projects.
Other key lawyers:
‘Strong understanding of the sector and specific challenges we face, both in general and specifically in terms of the impact of coronavirus.’
‘The firm manages to be commercial and pragmatic in the way they think about risk.’
‘Ben Kilshaw strikes an excellent balance between progressing things proactively and taking instructions on salient points.’
Adventure Leisure Limited
Ego Restaurants Holdings Limited
Ping Pong Restaurants
Park Plaza Hotels
Roko Health Centres Limited
The Mint Group (Koko and Infernos)
- Adved long-standing client, Leon Restaurants, on the variation and re-gear of 25 leases to enable a successful CVA.
- Advised Rosa’s Thai on the acquisition of 6 new sites since lockdown with several others currently being negotiated.
- Advised Pizza Pilgrims on the acquisition of 5 new sites since lockdown, with several others currently being negotiated.
The hotels team at Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP has capacity to handle international work, with desks in Istanbul, Iran and Russia, and growing connections in East Asia. In addition to operators, the group has a diverse clientbase including financial institutions, high net worth individuals and substantial corporate investors, especially those based overseas. Sarah Hung, who heads the City segment of the London office, has a strong record in investment and development transactions and licensing. John O’Callaghan heads the West End office, handling real estate work in the hotel and leisure sectors.
Sarah Hung; John O’Callaghan
‘All willing to help at any time, never too busy.’
‘They have a great deal of experience which means that transactions move with speed. They have some of the best people in the industry, including Simon Lawrence, Sarah Hung and John O’Callaghan.’
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 Comptoir Group Plc in relation to acquiring four new leases for new premises with high rental value in key consumer areas.
- Acted for a hotel owner in relation to the development of a hotel valued at £15 million.
- Acted for a hotel developer in relation to advising on boundary issues for a hotel development valued at £50 million.
The hospitality sector group at Guildford's Stevens & Bolton LLP is led by commercial partner Nicola Broadhurst, who has particular expertise in franchising. Clients include well-known casual dining and quick service restaurants, which turn to to the firm for advice on finance, disputes and restructuring matters, with notable recent work including advising Pizza Hut Restaurants on its company voluntary arrangement with landlords and creditors. Employment partner Kerry Garcia works with key clients in the sector, while transactional and finance matters are handled by Keith Syson and banking and finance head Jonathan Porteous. David Steinberg and Tim Carter are the key names for restructuring and insolvency.
Other key lawyers:
Kerry Garcia; Keith Syson; Jonathan Porteous; Tim Carter
‘We have completed a number of transactions with the team – they have always been excellent, always focusing on the detail, with the right mix of commercialism.’
‘The advice, clarity and speed, of working with Jonathan Porteous over a number transactions has been excellent.’
‘Tim Carter provides a responsive, robust hands-on service and really owns the file.’
‘Full service firm. Able to advise on all aspects relevant to the sector including licencing, trade marks, GDPR, employee issues and corporate recovery sector specifics such as business sales and property licences.’
Fuller, Smith & Turner plc (Fuller’s)
Immersive Group Gaming
Papa John’s (GB) Ltd
Paul U.K. Ltd
Pepe’s Piri Piri Ltd
Pizza Hut Restaurants Ltd
Red Mist Leisure
- Advising Pizza Hut Restaurants on devising and implementing a company voluntary arrangement with its landlords and other creditors during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Providing Papa John’s with advice on a wide range of franchising, commercial, brand, sponsorship, disputes, employment and immigration matters.
- Advising the pub group Red Mist Leisure on its equity investment backing by Red Lion Holdings LLP and its latest property acquisition in Surrey.
Trowers & Hamlins LLP is recommended for hotel-related projects, advising across the scale of luxury hotels to hostels and pubs. Clients include large-scale investors and owners as well as niche businesses and individual investors. The practice particularly stands out for work in the Middle and Far East: Ayda Habboush specialises in advising high net worth investors and family offices from those regions on UK hotel acquisitions. She jointly heads the team with Julien Allen, who focuses on the high-end leisure sector, particularly restaurants and clubs.
Ayda Habboush; Julien Allen
‘Engaged partners that are always available. Have a real interest in trying to understand your business.’
‘Very commercially-focused advice. The team really understands the key business issues we face and provides sound legal advice accordingly.’
‘Strong construction and real estate advice, able to source technical queries. Practical advice given with clear experience in the issues and matters they handled.’
‘Key benefit was being able to get advice on planning and local authority matters from someone with expertise of the process.’
RE Capital (previously known as Geneva Management Group) – Clerkenwell Lifestyle (UK) Limited
Midia Investors Limited
Cringle Corporation Limited
J D Wetherspoon
Caprice Holdings Limited
Caprice Holdings Limited and Caprice Chelsea Grill Limited
Museum of London
Eco World London
- Advised RE Capital on all construction contracts relating to a mixed use hotel and offices development in Clerkenwell, London.
- Advised on the development of a 41 key apart-hotel at 40 Chorlton Street, Manchester.
- Advised J D Wetherspoon on all of their construction documents and updating them to meet current regulatory requirements.