Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Hospitality and leisure

Specialising in providing real estate legal services to a range of clients including hotels, property management firms and fund managers, Maples Teesdale LLP has recently entered into the hospitality and leisure space with the hire of hotel transactions expert, Timothy Dodd, who was previously at Katten.

Hospitality and leisure in London

Bird & Bird LLP

The multi-disciplinary, full-service hotels, hospitality and leisure team at Bird & Bird LLP has ‘unrivalled knowledge of the hospitality industry'. The team is well versed in advising notable clients, including Costa and Belmond, on franchising and management contracts, hotel finance, branding, data protection and employment work, and also fields a dedicated food and beverage sub-group. The practice is led by go-to hospitality and leisure practitioner, Karen Friebe, who is described as operating in a ‘league of her own', and specialises in high-profile M&A transactions, hotel management agreements and commercial property work. Focusing on franchising, distribution and supply chain agreements is Graeme Payne, who works with consumer-focused businesses. Highly experienced finance partner James Salford has knowledge of senior and mezzanine debt and preferential equity transactions, as well as hotel operating agreements. ‘Real top performer’ Matthew Vance is instructed by brand owners and shareholders, and has a broad commercial workload which spance franchising, joint venture and management agreements, licensing and outsourcing issues. Also of note is senior associate James Fowler, who regularly drafts, negotiates and reviews commercial agreements relating to hotels, and food and beverage consultancies.

Practice head(s):

Karen Friebe

Other key lawyers:

Graeme Payne; James Salford; Matthew Vance; James Fowler


‘I have the utmost trust in this practice that the negotiated outcome is the best possible. They are tough both externally and internally but fair and also work to tight timescales. The individuals have unrivalled knowledge of the hospitality industry.’

‘Karen Friebe operates in a league of her own in this field, she is the best and has the reputation to go with it. Karen’s ability to distil complex information into a concise understandable note was exceptional. Matthew Vance is a real top performer in this team, his ability to work to very tight timescales, going above and beyond and helping support others in the deal team was exemplary.’

‘Bird & Bird have a thorough understanding of their technical craft and more importantly how this interacts with the hospitality industry through a variety of stakeholder lenses.’

‘Karen Friebe has an empathetic and collaborative approach that is evident in all interactions. It is a joy to work with Matthew Vance. The approach is again collaborative and Matthew’s understanding of the technical solutions that we needed and how they interfaced with a variety of stakeholder interests is exception. What that allows is a strong degree of trust and confidence in the solutions that are brought forward.’

‘They are very knowledgeable and user friendly. The team is very diligent and commercial.’

‘I had the privilege of working with the exceptional legal team at Bird & Bird. Their unique approach and unmatched expertise truly sets them apart from other firms in this industry. The team has a deep understanding of the hotels and leisure sector. Their team works seamlessly together, pooling their collective expertise to deliver the best outcomes for clients.’

‘James Fowler has extensive knowledge of the industry and a meticulous approach to legal challenges which was outstanding. He navigated complex matters, ensuring our interests were well protected. Collaborating with James was seamless. He was responsive, keeping me informed throughout the process and providing timely support.’

‘Karen Friebe is a highly skilled and dedicated partner. She has consistently demonstrated her ability to effectively resolve any legal challenges we have presented her with. Her exceptional skills, dedication, and active involvement in advancing the industry make her an invaluable asset to Bird & Bird’s team. Her ability to tackle legal challenges, mentor her team, and contribute to industry initiatives sets her apart as a remarkable legal partner.’

Key clients



Royal Caribbean Cruises

Cadogan Estates

Neat Burger

Rogue Fitness

Compass Group

Bank of Ireland

Creams Café

Cheyne Capital

Work highlights

  • Acting for Belmond in the longstanding international IP dispute between the client’s Hotel Cipriani and Arrigo Cipriani.
  • Advising Cheyne Capital on a £108m facility to the Champneys Hotel group.
  • Advised Cadogan on its appointment of a new manager, Iconic Luxury Hotels, at The Draycott Hotel in West London following Cadogan’s acquisition of the same.


The practice at CMS has 'true industry knowledge', coupled with an international reach spanning more than 40 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, and has a prominent pan-European hotels and leisure offering. The team acts for an array of clients including hotels, operators, investors, banks, airlines, restaurant groups, hospitality management companies and chefs on a range of matters including corporate and M&A transactions, commercial and hotel management and franchising agreements, financing, restructuring, litigation, and real estate. The team is jointly headed up by Thomas Page, noted as a ‘legal leader’ in this area, who focuses on franchising and hotel management agreements, and hotel portfolio transactions, and corporate partner, David Roberts, who has a considerable client following in the leisure sector. Louise Wallace leads the firm’s corporate team and focuses on the hotels and leisure, consumer and retail sectors. Real estate expert James Miller handles hotel leases, portfolio sale and managebacks, and funding and development matters. Ian McGarr assists active lenders, investors and hotel owners with acquisition and investment finance transactions, both in the UK and overseas. Nick Crosbie advises public and private companies, financial institutions and owner-managed businesses across the hotels and leisure, sport and real estate spaces. Finance specialist Josie Hearnden is an expert in structured acquisition, investment and development financing, and sale and leaseback arrangements in the hotel and leisure space.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Page; David Roberts

Other key lawyers:

Louise Wallace; James Miller; Ian McGarr; Nick Crosbie; Josie Hearnden


‘They are very professional.’

‘A commercially minded team.’

‘They have true industry knowledge.’

Key clients

State of Play Hospitality




Schroders Real Estate

Mowgli Street Food Group Limited

Tortilla Mexican Grill

Respite Management Limited

City of Edinburgh Council

Paris Nord Sarl

Work highlights

  • Advised easyHotel on its acquisition and financing of eight franchised Benelux hotels from real estate and private equity fund manager Crossroads Real Estate for €145m, as part of its European growth drive.
  • Advised Mowgli on its sale to TriSpan, a global private equity firm with extensive restaurant expertise.
  • Advised Schroders Real Estate on the acquisition of a 50% interest in the Sofitel Grand Amsterdam Hotel from two separate sellers and a joint venture agreement with the other 50% shareholder.


Providing an ‘exceptional service’ to owners, investors, UHNWIs and lenders in the hotel and leisure industry, the ‘leading’ multi-disciplinary team at Dentons has a significant international footprint, with recent engagements in France, Ireland, Italy and Croatia. Practitioners are well versed in international acquisitions and disposals, day-to-day operational issues, the structuring of mixed-use hotel projects and franchising matters. The trio heading up the practice comprises ‘top real estate lawyer’ Simon Masri, who acts on structured investment acquisitions, joint ventures and disposals in the hospitality sector; corporate expert Matthew Tinger, whose recent highlights have included the sale of Hilton Olympia London for £135m; and Phoenix-based Rick Ross. Also of note is Babette Märzheuser-Wood, head of the retail group and global head of the franchise group, who also advises clients in emerging markets on the use of licensing strategies. Laura Gowing offers significant experience in finance, investment and development transactions.

Practice head(s):

Simon Masri; Matthew Tinger; Rick Ross

Other key lawyers:

Babette Märzheuser-Wood; Laura Gowing; Amy Morin; Laura Mackett


‘Dentons provides exceptional service with a great blend of experience and network. It is a leading firm. Matthew Tinger and Simon Masri provide exceptional service and are always on hand in the field of real estate and hotel transactions.’

‘The team was responsive and provided commercially sound advice. They know the market and are practical.’

‘The Dentons real estate and corporate departments, in particular Simon Masri and Matthew Tinger, have established themselves as one of the most effective and knowledgeable legal teams within the UK hotel transactional sector. It is their collaboration as one effective team, along with their knowledge and deal management expertise, that has resulted in them obtaining the well-regarded reputation they now have.’

Key clients


HPL (UK) Ltd

Timothy Oulton


KSL Capital Partners

AGO Hotels


Arora Hotels

Village Hotels

Malmaison and Hotel du Vin

Work highlights

  • Advising private equity firm KSL Capital Partners on its acquisition of a stake in the eight-strong rural boutique hotels group The Pig Hotels.
  • Advising on the SHUAA-backed Northacre collaboration with Marriott’s St. Regis hotel brand for luxury residences to be operated at No.1 Palace Street, London.
  • Advising HPL on its sale of the enire issued share capital in the entity owning the Hilton Kensington Olympia to a joint venture between Frognore and C1 Capital.

Taylor Wessing LLP

Praised for its ‘excellent hotel sector knowledge’, the team of lawyers at Taylor Wessing LLP is highly regarded for advising on both the buy-side and sell-side for large single asset and portfolio M&A hotel transactions. The team is equally strong in assisting with hotel franchise and management agreements and hotel developments. The group is headed up by Richard Bursby, ‘a leader in the industry,’ whose expertise lies in assisting HNWIs, families and entrepreneurs with international transactions, branded residential projects, hotel management and franchise agreements, and traveltech work. Mark Rajbenbach and Victoria Butcher are active in the commercial property and real estate space, and regularly operate in the hotels, leisure and logistics industries, advising on hotel portfolio sales and purchases, and hotel leases and management agreements. Michael Helfgott is instructed by national and international clients, ranging from property developers and financial institutions, to entrepreneurs and tourist attractions.

Practice head(s):

Richard Bursby

Other key lawyers:

Mark Rajbenbach; Victoria Butcher; Michael Helfgott; Jack Wain


‘They have excellent hotel sector knowledge. They also have good availability of senior team members/partners as and when required.’

‘Richard Bursby is a key relationship partner with great hotel sector knowledge and has a stellar reputation in the industry.’

‘A very strong team overall with excellent industry and sector knowledge. They are great to work with.’

‘Mark Rajbenbach and Victoria Butcher stand out. They are attentive, diligent and commercial. They make it pleasurable to do deals.’

‘The hotels team have exceptional industry knowledge and have strength and depth which is not always the case with a number of other firms. Overall I totally trust the team to look after my interests and they also have a culture as a business which is in line with my own values.’

‘Richard Bursby is a leader in the industry and I have a huge amount of respect for him.’

Key clients





Castleforge Partners


PPHE Hotel Group


RBH Hospitality Management


Burger King

Work highlights

  • Advised Crimson Hotels an asset deal which involved the purchase of the 130 key Curio Collection by Hilton-branded Trafalgar Hotel in London, which was marketed for sale at £130m, and an associated £250m refinancing of two other hotels.
  • Advised Fortress Investment Group on the £150m+ debt, corporate and asset restructuring of the Prem Group, which operates 38 hotel and serviced apartment assets across the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium.
  • Advised Vivion Investments on the £200m+ refinancing of the Ribbon portfolio of hotels with M&G.

Addleshaw Goddard

The large, cross-disciplinary team at Addleshaw Goddard is equipped to advise its roster of large hotel operators, owners, developers and lenders on the full spectrum of hotel ownership and operation issues. The team is lauded for its expertise in hotel finance and its understanding of the budget hotel sector. Recent work has involved restructuring, refinancing and administrations in the hotels and casual dining spaces. The ‘responsive, friendly, approachable’ Luke Baines, a specialist in the hotels sector, co-leads the team, and is also a key member of the firm's construction and engineering group. Co-heading the team with Baines is Lucy Sturrock, who divides her time between London and Leeds, is singled out for her ‘brilliant mind’, and specialises in advising hotel owners on structures, management agreements, development and acquisitions. Heading the real estate finance practice is Zoe Maurer, whose clients include hotel lending teams and financial sponsors. Neil McGibbon is another key name, offering experience in hotel financings, hotel management and non-disturbance agreements. Catherine Williams returned to the firm in February 2023 from Shoosmiths LLP, and now co-heads the firm’s living sector.

Practice head(s):

Luke Baines; Lucy Sturrock

Other key lawyers:

Zoe Maurer; Neil McGibbon; Catherine Williams


‘A team that knows and cares about the industry and invests time and effort to know our assets and business. They are responsive, helpful and transparent.’

‘Luke Baines is responsive, friendly, approachable and genuinely cares about our business.’

‘A large firm with wide-ranging knowledge and experience held in-house.’

‘Neil McGibbon is incredibly knowledgeable but, having also worked in the legal department of a fund, he has a very commercial approach and is therefore able to give strong advice on not only the legal but also commercial practicalities. Neil’s approach means he is very easy to work with, can explain complex points in an understandable way, and is able to proactively engage with opposing counsel.’

‘I’ve never experienced this availability with a law firm. It worked perfectly, I really appreciated working with trust from both sides, I will never forget it.’

‘When I first met Lucy Sturrock, I knew she was going to be the right legal partner for starting my adventure in the hotel management agreement field. Lucy is such an expert in her field that she makes easy to understand all these agreements. She even anticipates your questions and your worries, she really makes things easy for the client.  I will never forget it, such a unique encounter, a brilliant mind and a strong dedication to her work and clients.’

‘The team have extensive knowledge and experience within the hospitality and leisure sector and have always been on hand to provide me with strategic and commercially-focused advice. My work with them has always been turned around quickly, delivered at the highest standards and resourced appropriately.’

‘Lucy Sturrock in particular has been able to provide a huge deal of assistance to the business and has taken a lot of time to understand the business, how it operates and what it values from lawyers. She has instilled this in the whole client team who I work with.’

Key clients

Aareal Bank AG (lenders – Hotel Specialist Team)


AIB Group (UK) plc (lenders – Hotel Specialist Team)

A&O Hostels


B&B Hotels

Clydesdale (lenders – Hotel Specialist Team)

Coutts (lenders – Hotel Specialist Team)

Eastern and Oriental Plc (owner and developer)

Greene King (pub and restaurant operators)

Handelsbanken plc

KTB Asset Management

Manhattan Lofts

NatWest Group

Norlake Hospitality (owner of Hoxton Hotels and Gleneagles)

North Brewing (brewers and bar operators)

OakNorth Bank plc

Puma Investments


Santander (lenders – Hotel Specialist Team)

Sonder (disrupters)

Staycity (aparthotel operators)

Travelodge Hotels Ltd (hotel operators)

THAT Group (hotel owners and developers)

Village Hotels

Work highlights

  • Assiting abrdn with the forward funding, development and letting of a new Hyatt Hotel using a new leasing model.
  • Advised Travelodge Hotels on multiple recent projects, including one which utilised technology to help with building a reliable estates data base, making use of AI to review over 600 leases.
  • Assisting Norlake Hospitality with its portfolio of hotels in the UK and Europe.

Baker McKenzie

Acting for large hotel and travel brands such as Marriott, the cross-disciplinary team at Baker McKenzie LLP is instructed by a range of clients on real estate, banking, corporate and commercial, intellectual property and employment mandates. Recent matters have involved hotel investment and financing issues. Heading up the team is real estate specialist Justin Salkeld, who is highly experienced in operational and investment real estate issues, regularly advising investors and operators on the development, operation, acquisition and disposal of hotel assets. Sebastien Marcelin-Rice, a banking expert, is well versed in real estate finance, private equity, distressed investment transactions and financings. Commercial property specialist Ben Farnell is another name to note for his work in relation to real estate, and planning and development sustainability. Experts in energy, mining and infrastructure work Richard Blunt and Susie Davies, and head of the London funds group James Burdett, are further key names.

Practice head(s):

Justin Salkeld

Other key lawyers:

Sebastien Marcelin-Rice; Ben Farnell; Richard Blunt; Susie Davies; James Burdett

Key clients

Britannia Hospitality

Davidson Kempner European Partners LLP

Edwardian Group

Fattal Hotels Group

Marriott Inc.

Roundshield (RS Fund II LP – RS Mousequetaire)

Work highlights

  • Advising Edwardian Group on a luxury hotel project in the UK which involves the regeneration of Leicester Square.
  • Assisting Fattal Group with the purchase and acquisition financing of the Dilly Hotel from Archer Hotel Capital.
  • Advising Roundshield, a private equity and debt fund via RS Fund II LP, as a mezzanine lender and co-equity investor in a combined debt and equity capitalisation of a joint venture vehicle, intended for the acquisition, development and management of ski chalets across Europe.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

The hotels and hospitality team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has a strong cross-border footprint spanning the UK, US, mainland Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and is noted for its ‘excellent’ understanding of the sector, with extensive experience in high-profile matters spanning hotel management, franchise and operational agreements, branded residence work and all aspects of the lifecycle of hospitality projects. The team comprises specialists in the real estate, construction, M&A, corporate and real estate finance, employment, data privacy and tax spheres. Jointly heading the team are hotel acquisitions and disposals, leasing, development and financing expert Laura Wild and real estate specialist Chris de Pury, who is instructed by domestic and international investors to assist with structured investments, disposals, joint ventures and developments. Nazir Dewji offers expertise in non-contentious construction law and large real estate development projects.

Practice head(s):

Laura Wild; Chris de Pury

Other key lawyers:

Nazir Dewji; Kashvi Lalla


‘They offer a strong team with an excellent range of skills and connections. They are always quick to respond and very competent.’

‘Laura Wild in particular has immense knowledge, is calm and authoritative.’

‘As a client, you can lean on the expert lawyers within BCLP.’

‘Kashvi Lalla was diligent and commercial with patience that has to be admired.’

‘They have an excellent understanding of our sector. They have the ability to carry out every aspect of the transactions in different jurisdictions, whether this involves conveyancing, tax structuring or debt, etc. They are always available when necessary with a can-do attitude.’

‘The team are all very approachable, knowledgeable and easy to deal with, even when confronted with tricky property matters which makes facing such issues that much easier and less daunting. They provide technically sound legal advice and always bring to our attention commercial considerations. The calibre of the law firm and partners/associates stands out.’

‘Laura Wild has a passion for the hospitality industry, and this comes across.’

Key clients

22 Grosvenor Square


Cedar Capital

Cerberus Asset Management



Hudson Pacific Properties

The Crown Estate


Tristan Capital Partners

Globalgrange Hotels

UOL Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Tristan Capital Partners, a UK-based independent real estate investment manager, on the acquisition, joint venture and management arrangements for the Point A hotel portfolio from Wellcome Trust and Queensway for approximately £420m; the £240 million financing from Aareal Bank for the acquisition of the Point A hotels; and assisted the client’s debt fund, TIPS One Alpha PV I, as arranger and lender, with an £85m investment facility in respect of a recently completed build-to-rent property, among other matters.
  • Advising Blackstone and Hudson Pacific Properties on a joint venture, Sunset London Studios Propco, in connection with Sunset London Studios’ purchase from a private landowner of a development site at Theobalds Park Farm, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.
  • Assisting UOL Group, a Singapore-based property company listed on the Singapore Exchange, with the development of ONE Bishopsgate Plaza.

Clifford Chance LLP

The cross-practice hospitality group at Clifford Chance LLP consists of real estate sector specialists and is particularly experienced in complex and high-end hotel transactions for a range of industry participants including luxury brand operators, investors, developers, lenders and owners. Advising both domestic clients and foreign investors with the help of its international footprint, the team has recently been involved in numerous significant refinancing and portfolio hotel transactions. The team is co-headed by Alis Pay, a commercial real estate transaction heavyweight, who has extensive expertise in assisting investors and financiers with high-value hotel assets, and counsel Sarah Thomas, who has a broad commercial real estate practice, specialising in real estate joint ventures, acquisitions, disposals and hotel operating agreements. Also of note is Andrew Carnegie, head of the real estate finance team in London and relationship manager for Wells Fargo. Ian Painter is well regarded in the London office development market and regularly works with developers, insurers, property companies and sovereign wealth funds on inbound UK investments. Global financial markets expert Barry O’Shea advises borrowers and lenders on the financing of real estate in European transactions.

Practice head(s):

Alis Pay; Sarah Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Carnegie; Ian Painter; Barry O’Shea; Laura Smallcombe; Claire Fawcett; Angela Kearns

Key clients


Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies

Corinthia Hotels

Electra America Hospitality Group LLC




Sadler’s Wells Foundation

Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

The HongKong and Shanghai Hotels Limited

Wells Fargo

Work highlights

  • Advised BREDS and GIC, in their role as joint arrangers, on the refinancing of the Village Hotels portfolio for KSL Capital, as sponsor.
  • Advised two investment banks on the financing of the acquisition by Blackstone of Salesforce’s Irish headquarters, the Spencer Place property complex in Dublin, comprising office buildings (let to Salesforce) and a hotel.
  • Advised Wells Fargo, as arranger, on the acquisition, refinancing and potential development financing for KSL Capital Partners following its acquisition of The Pig Hotels group.

DLA Piper

The hospitality and leisure practice at DLA Piper fields dedicated specialists in financing, real estate, construction and development, acquisitions and disposals, management, franchise and joint venture matters. The team’s expertise lies particularly in large deals involving hotels and leisure activities, including theme parks and attractions, sports grounds and pub portfolios. Commercial transactional lawyer Matthew Duncombe, who is based in Leeds, co-chairs the practice with Jo Owen, who is instructed by institutional investors, private equity sponsors and asset managers in transactions relating to hotels and leisure, student housing, and retail and office schemes. Corporate specialist Rob Salter focuses on M&A and joint ventures. Real estate finance expert Toby Barker assists lenders and borrowers with investments and development properties in this area. Edinburgh-based Steve Edgecombe works closely with large brands and specialist developers.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Duncombe; Jo Owen

Other key lawyers:

Rob Salter; Toby Barker

Key clients

Motel One

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC)

Marriott International

Drake & Morgan Group

DFI/ BCP Capital

The Resident Edinburgh Limited

Hyatt International (Europe Africa Middle East) LLC

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG)

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (“MOHG”)

HIG Capital


Starwood Capital

Northwood Investors

St Modwen Properties

a&o Hostels

Katara Hospitality


Work highlights

  • Advising Hyatt on its franchise arrangements with Lindner Hotels, which saw over 30 hotels across seven European countries join the client’s hotel portfolio.
  • Advising Aareal Bank on funding provided by it to the fund advised by Tristan Capital Partners, which recently acquired a majority shareholding in Raag Hotels which owns the boutique brand, Point A.
  • Advising Fattal Leonardo Hotels on the development of and development finance for a full refurbishment, 100 room extension and new Nyx hotel.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Headed up by real estate finance specialist Katie Gill, the hotels and leisure team at Hogan Lovells International LLP has experience across a range of matters, ranging from hotel portfolio sales, and management and franchise agreements, to new developments. The team is also adept in advising on ESG implications and dealing with disputes relating to performance issues, rent reviews and renewals, and potential terminations. Jackie Newstead is reputed for advising operators and owners of hotels on acquisitions and disposals, agreements and financings. Senior associate Janan Kanagaratnam focuses on real estate work in the hotels, pubs and restaurants space, advising on acquisitions and developments, hotel financing, and licensing and operating agreements.

Practice head(s):

Katie Gill

Other key lawyers:

Jackie Newstead; Janan Kanagaratnam

Key clients






AFC Wimbledon

British Land

Leonardo Royal


M&G Real Estate


Shiva Hotels

Valor Hospitality Partners

Related Argent


Kings Cross Central

KW Holdings Co Limited

Carte Postale Investment Limited (Beaumier Hotels)

Work highlights

  • Advised Intermediate Capital Group on its acquisition of the OVO Arena, Wembley.
  • Advising Shiva Hotels on a £76m mezzanine financing in respect of four of their hotels in London.
  • Advising Carte Postale Investment on the refinancing and capex financing of the Beaumier Group by Cheyne.

Norton Rose Fulbright

With a client roster featuring luxury hotels – including Claridge’s, the Connaught and the Berkeley hotels – the cross-disciplinary and international practice at Norton Rose Fulbright, which has offices throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, the US and the Middle East, regularly advises on all aspects of hotels and high-profile leisure projects. The team is well versed across the full spectrum of matters in this space, including construction and development, dispute resolution, financing, environment and safety, franchising, data protection, mergers and acquisitions, and operations. Team leader Wasim Khan also heads up the real estate team; his client roster includes many investors from the Middle East, and recent highlights have spanned development, advisory, and financing work. Another key lawyer in this field is corporate transactional specialist Chris Randall, who also specialises in advising cruise operators. Dan Kennedy and Sarah Cullen are particularly experienced in financing work in this sector. Planning law specialist Sarah Fitzpatrick has significant involvement and experience in leisure schemes.

Practice head(s):

Wasim Khan

Other key lawyers:

Chris Randall; Dan Kennedy; Sarah Cullen; Sarah Fitzpatrick

Key clients

Maybourne Hotel Group

PPHE Hotel Group (Park Plaza)

British Racing Drivers Club Limited

Battersea Power Station

Emirates NBD Bank (P.J.S.C) London Branch

777 Partners LLC


57 Whitehall S.à.r.l.

A Premiership Football Club

Al Faisal Holding

United Overseas Bank

Yoo Capital

HSBC Bank plc

Olympus Property Holding Limited

Standard Chartered Bank

Hotchkiss Limited

Setha Canterbury Limited

The Grange Festival

Mr Jisheng Gao

Work highlights

  • Advising the Maybourne Hotel Group on a variety of projects across Claridge’s, The Berkeley and The Connaught, including business as usual mandates.
  • Advising Olympus Property Holding on the continuing £1.3bn London Olympia redevelopment scheme which will transform the iconic 133-year-old venue into a premier destination for the arts, entertainment, exhibitions and events and comprise two new hotels, as well as a cinema, theatre space, a performance centre, offices, retail space, restaurants and the existing exhibition space.
  • Advising British Racing Drivers Club, the owners of the Silverstone motor racing circuit, on the development by Escapade Living of 60 new luxury holiday lodges and the delivery of a new Hilton hotel.

Paul Hastings LLP

With a global network, an ‘incredible level of commercial acumen’ and ‘deep hotel market knowledge', the full-service hospitality and leisure team at Paul Hastings LLP, which focuses predominantly on real estate work, is well regarded for its involvement with prominent hotel and leisure developments, acquisitions, re-brandings, investments and portfolio deals. The team is also able to leverage the strength of the firm’s complementary practices, including banking and finance, tax, restructuring and employment. Leading the team is 'brilliant mindMichael James, who offers extensive experience in cross-border hotel work, including corporate real estate transactions, and lease and management agreements. ‘Go-to lawyer’ Stephen Nicolas has recently advised on hotel deals in the European market, bringing an ‘unparalleled commerciality and holistic approach’ to hotel sales, development, and re-branding. Also focusing on the hospitality sector is Edward Meadowcroft, who offers significant expertise in drafting and negotiating, hotel management and franchise agreements, joint ventures, acquisitions, and disposals.

Practice head(s):

Michael James

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Nicolas; Edward Meadowcroft


‘The team have good knowledge, professionalism, and availability.’

‘Stephen Nicolas has consistently shown a broad business acumen. This enables him to provide quality core real estate advice, enhanced with operational and commercial awareness of our business.’

‘If you’re looking to operate in the hospitality and leisure market, Paul Hastings has the team you want on your side. They make deals happen, they are commercial, they are extremely knowledgeable, they are efficient, effective and responsive. They are a full-service team, with particular strengths in direct or indirect hotel M&A.’

‘Stephen Nicolas is my go-to lawyer. For any deal, I trust no-one more to coordinate, manage and get the deal done. His ability to choreograph complex, multi-jurisdictional and multi-party deals is simply second to none. I have worked with him for years, I’ve recommended him to peers, I could not be happier and I would not look elsewhere. He is the lawyer you want fighting your corner. His unparalleled commerciality and holistic approach to deals, combined with his proactivity and dedication to his clients, make him a rare find.’

‘The team has deep hotel market knowledge at pan-European level.’

‘Edward Meadowcroft is great at drafting and negotiating. Michael James is great to weigh in with tonnes of gravitas when needed.’

‘Michael James, Edward Meadowcroft and the wider team are amongst the most brilliant minds I have encountered and consistently deliver results in the most complex of situations.’

‘The Paul Hastings team always shows an incredible level of commercial acumen alongside its legal prowess, setting itself apart from the competition. Michael James and Edward Meadowcroft always anticipate client needs in advance and have often surprised our team with the amount of diligence undertaken in very short periods of time.’

Key clients

Starwood Capital


PineBridge Benson Elliot

Walton Street

Goldman Sachs


Highgate Hotels

Omnam Group

RB Capital



Klarent Hospitality

Bain Capital


Work highlights

  • Advised Aroundtown on the proposed sale of the Hilton Hyde Park Hotel and the re-gearing of the long-leasehold interest with London Underground.
  • Advising Starwood Capital on the acquisition of two sites in Dublin, Ireland to be developed into hotels.
  • Advising Bain Capital on hotel and development management arrangements for the upcoming Edition Hotel, Lake Como.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Offering a ‘deep understanding of the hotel world,’ the hotels and leisure team at Pinsent Masons LLP fields a specialist management contract and franchise offering. Aside from strong relationships with large investors, developers, operators and brands, the team is also instructed by hotel lending teams within clearing banks. The team has recently advised on large hotel investment transactions, as well as management contracts and acquisitions. Nick Skea-Strachan leads the global hotels practice and offers extensive experience in advising on cross-border corporate transactions in the hotel and hospitality space, with recent engagements involving the UK and Spain. Heading the firm’s global real estate sector is specialist in hotel and leisure assets and mixed-use schemes, Claire Hughes. Senior associate in the commercial team, Danielle Clifford, leads on hotel and leisure real estate mandates involving high-value commercial contracts.

Practice head(s):

Nick Skea-Strachan

Other key lawyers:

Claire Hughes; Danielle Clifford


‘They have a deep understanding of the hotel world and markets, and the depth of team to provide a full service.’

‘Nick Skea-Strachan is responsive and works closely with the client team to appropriately resource a project. He appreciates requirements to work to tight timescales.’

‘They have a practical approach to problem solving.’

Key clients

Cycas Hospitality

Premier Inn

Bricks Group

Legal and General


Melia Hotels International

Rhubarb Food Design limited

Native Places

Kew Green Hotels


Harbour Hotels

KKH PI Investment Management



Work highlights

  • Advised Azora Capital and NH Hotels on the sale of the NH London Kensington to aparthotel brand Edyn.
  • Advised Fulham Football Club on outsourced profit share management agreements for the hospitality facilities which are part of the redevelopment of its Craven Cottage stadium.
  • Advising the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on the franchising and development of a 349 bedroom sustainable upscale hotel in the Haymarket area of Edinburgh, which will be operated under the Hyatt Centric brand and form part of the £350m Haymarket development.

Burges Salmon LLP

The hotels and leisure group at Burges Salmon LLP - spanning London, Bristol and Edinburgh - comprises of sector specialists from a range of legal disciplines, including employment, intellectual property, real estate and litigation. Instructed by various clients, ranging from investors, banks and lenders, to hotel owners and operators, developers and leisure-orientated companies, the team is well versed in M&A, financing, portfolio management advice and commercial arrangements. With significant expertise in corporate finance, Rupert Weston co-heads the hotels team, and is also heavily involved in the transport team, advising on M&A and joint ventures. Real estate lead Richard Read, co-heads the team with Weston, advising international and UK investors and occupiers. Splitting his time between London and Edinburgh is third co-head Robert Forman, who focuses on commercial property transactions. Katie Allen acts on finance transactions in the built environment and hotels sector.

Practice head(s):

Rupert Weston; Richard Read; Robert Forman

Other key lawyers:

Katie Allen


‘Katie Allen is a really hands-on practitioner. She has a very practical and commercial approach to transactions. It has been a really enjoyable experience working opposite her.’

Key clients

Zetland Capital

Pro-Invest Group

Virgin Group

Tristan Capital

Hamilton Hotels

YTL Hotels

Brownsword Hotels

Leumi UK

Coutts & Co

Darwin Leisure Property Fund


With a network of offices across Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and the Middle East, the ‘extremely experienced and knowledgeable’ hotels and leisure team at Fieldfisher is pre-eminent in the franchising space. Instructed by a broad client roster spanning hotels, cruise lines, services apartments, food and beverage outlets, and casinos, the team fields specialist hotel and leisure lawyers covering tax, brand protection, competition, real estate, technology, employment, e-commerce, and corporate matters. 'Fantastic' team head Paul Houston focuses on the real estate aspects of corporate transactions, offering expertise in branded leisure concepts, hotel brands and large-scale portfolio sales. Senior partner David Wilkinson specialises in M&A transactions in the sector. Heading up the firm’s franchising and licensing group, David Bond negotiates franchise and hotel management agreements, as well as handling commercial and advertising issues.

Practice head(s):

Paul Houston

Other key lawyers:

David Wilkinson; David Bond; Ramatu Banga; Owen Talfan Davies; Laura Mackenzie


‘We really rate the team for their commerciality and willingness to pull out all the stops to meet their client’s requirements. This is turn leads to great loyalty.’

‘Paul Houston is really bright, incredibly hard working and very commercial. He is someone you definitely want in your camp.’

‘They offer a true “one stop shop” approach and once instructed on a transaction, the team can deal with all aspects of it. Our experience of them is that they offer down to earth commercial advice and understand the importance of getting deals done as quickly as possible without getting bogged down in esoteric “lawyers’ points”. They have an inclusive culture with high levels of awareness and a diverse team.’

‘Our experience of them is that they are extremely experienced and knowledgeable about the sector. They combine this with an extremely commercial approach and understanding of the client’s needs and commercial objectives. They are really pleasant to work with and are really user-friendly.’

‘Paul Houston is outstanding and exemplifies a can-do attitude. He is a fantastic lawyer and he works incredibly hard for his clients and always ensures timing agendas are met. He is a top-class operator.’

‘David Wilkinson provides a partner-led service on our corporate matters. He is always all over the detail and he provides commercial advice which is focused on getting deals done quickly, without getting bogged down in unnecessary detail. Many of our details do not fit a particular pattern, but David is never knocked off his stride by whatever we throw at him.’

‘Laura Mackenzie is very knowledgeable and hard working. She really understands the issues that are important to clients and has a practical and commercial approach. She is great to work with and always goes the extra mile to deliver for her clients.’

Key clients

Al-Seef Tourism Investment LLC

Ambassador Cruise Line




Coffee-Bike International Limited

CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice

Creams Café Limited

Cynergy Bank



EL&N International

Expedia, Inc


GHG London Holdings

Haulfryn Group Limited

Interstate Hotels & Resorts

Millenium & Copthorne Hotels

Sairam Hotels

Secret Escapes Limited

Serani Hotels

Silk (Maxwell Street) Limited

Smith Global Limited (Trading as Mr and Mrs Smith)

State of Play Hospitality t/a Flight Club

The shareholders of Cruising Excursions Limited

TDA Capital

Vastint Hospitality B.V


Work highlights

  • Advised Dominvs Group on the acquisition, restructuring and forward funding of a large hotel and PBSA development at the former Hammersmith Magistrates Court in West London.
  • Advised Vastint Hospitality on the restructuring of its European operating arrangements with Marriot in respect of its Moxy brand.
  • Advised Silk (Maxwell Street), the owner of a new hotel led mixed-use development in Glasgow, on its franchise and management agreement and development financing for the new Hilton Hotel.

Fladgate LLP

Counting hotel chains, restaurants and pub groups, cinema and leisure facilities operators, developers and financiers, among its core clients, the hospitality group at Fladgate LLP offers a ‘personal service’ across development, transactional and advisory matters. The team is particularly strong on the structuring and financing of corporate transactions in this space, as well as commercial matters spanning planning, management, franchising, operational and promotional issues. Team leader James Fry specialises in commercial real estate, with a focus on hotel development. Eddie Powell offers significant experience in hotel industry contracts, and also offers knowledge of relevant IP matters, GDPR compliance and technology contracts. Focusing on the healthcare, retail, leisure and office spaces is real estate lawyer Gavin Whitney. Leading the India desk and luxury assets group is the dual-qualified Mythily Katsaris, who advises clients on cross-border acquisitions and joint ventures in the hospitality and leisure, manufacturing and real estate industries. Amy Collins has notable expertise in the media and technology, hotel, and leisure and retail spaces.

Practice head(s):

James Fry

Other key lawyers:

Gavin Whitney; Mythily Katsaris; Amy Collins; Eddie Powell; Luke Morris


‘Gavin Whitney has a very professional approach. He listens and gets it. He gets on with the job in an efficient and effective manner.’

‘The practice has a wide scope and breadth of experience with knowledgeable personnel. The response time is always good.’

‘Our client relationship partner is James Fry who we have dealt with for over 10 years. We have always found him to be helpful, diligent and responsive. He will also look at and take a commercial approach to any potential stumbling blocks.’

‘Fladgate are very good at engagement, they respond quickly and offer a sense of personal service. The whole team seem to work closely so the service and client understanding is very consistent.’

‘All the team are very easy to talk to openly. We have built good strong relations from the very start. I would highly recommend them to friends and associates of mine.’

‘They stand out for the strength and depth of their property teams, especially in the hospitality sector. The relationship partner approach ensures a broad scope of services and good knowledge base.’

‘James Fry is my main point of contact at Fladgate. James is quick to understand our needs and ensure the right people are selected to undertake specific roles. They have always delivered well-considered advice.’

Key clients

KE Hotels Limited

Flora Developments Limited

4C Hotel Group

London & Regional plc and L + R Hotels

Odeon Cinemas

Lowy Group

Roof Investment

The Electric Group Ltd./SWX

Whiteclub Limited (t/a Chinawhite)

YO! Sushi UK Limited

National Portrait Gallery

Parkway Cinemas

Keysone Limited

LSL Capital

Black Sheep Coffee

Downing LLP

Countrywide Hotels

Work highlights

  • Advised KE Hotels (Bath) on the sale of Abbey Hotel (Bath), the owner of the historic Abbey Hotel.
  • Advised Flora Developments, a subsidiary of ABIL Infraprojects – a large Indian construction, real estate development and hospitality company – on the sale of a hotel development site on the Strand to Whitbread.
  • Advised the 4C Hotel Group, a hotel developer and operator, on its £10.65m acquisition of The Exhibitionist, a luxury boutique hotel in South Kensington.


Co-operating closely with the practice in the United States, the team at Goodwin assists clients from both the brand and operator, and debt and equity investor sides, with hotel, resort and branded residential matters. The team has a broad offering covering assistance with transactions such as acquisitions, dispositions, and financings, and also handles associated dispute resolution, tax, employment and regulatory matters. Acting for a range of stakeholders in this space and heading up the team is 'top-notch' Matthew Pohlman. Martin Smith is another key lawyer, who advises investor clients on acquisition, disposal, and management and branding of hotel and leisure assets.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Pohlman

Other key lawyers:

Martin Smith


‘An exceptional firm with a high-quality partner heading up the hospitality practice.’

‘Matthew Pohlman is an exceptional lawyer, excellent communicator, excellent negotiator. He is a top-notch human being. He is enjoyable to work with, extremely responsive and available, with a fast turnaround time on complex issues. I cannot say enough good things about him.’

‘The team is very responsive and dedicated. The work is distributed among lawyers based on relevant expertise and it seems there is good integration among them.’

‘I worked mainly with Matthew Pohlman and I found him very effective in negotiation. He has a very deep knowledge of the market and the client so he is capable of providing efficient support to the specific matter.’

‘Goodwin has a partner in London who may be the best in the UK/EU market (Matthew Pohlman). If and when he needs to, Matthew can draw from a very savvy coterie of hotel and resort lawyers in the United States. The luxury hotel industry in particular has become global, and Matthew is one of the stars.’

‘Matthew Pohlman has years of hotel and resort industry experience, particularly in the luxury sector, not common in UK and EU-based law firms. Because of this very successful focus, he stands out as an international industry star, and is very well recognised for his talent, as well as his experience. He is my number one choice if I need to make a referral to UK-based talent in the luxury hotel field.’

‘Doing work on both sides of the owner-operator continuum gives Goodwin a wide view of the issues and approaches.’

‘Matthew Pohlman is a standout lawyer, incredibly hard working and responsive to client needs.’

Key clients

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Oaktree Capital Management

RoundShield Partners LLP

Angelo, Gordon & Co

Crossroads Real Estate

Firmdale Hotels

Cairn Hotel Group

Masterworks Development Corporation (a/k/a Club Quarters)

Away Resorts

Leeu Collection

Avington Financial

Hyatt Hotels

Work highlights

  • Advised Frogmore’s fourth value add fund, Frogmore Real Estate Partners IV, on the acquisition of the corporate structure owning the Hilton London Olympia from HPL Olympia, a subsidiary of Singapore-listed Hotel Properties, as well as the related formation of a joint venture platform with hotel and serviced apartment investor C1 Capital Partners.


Focusing on operations, transactions and crisis management, the hospitality team at Katten is instructed by a broad range of investors, REITs, lenders, developers, owners, franchisees and managers of hotels, restaurant chains, golf courses, casinos and theme parks. Led by Gavin Vollans, who is well versed in financing, development, investment and portfolio management, particularly in relation to hotels, the team focuses on advising clients on transactions, crisis management and operations. Senior associate in the real estate team, Martyn Strong, has a client roster spanning property companies, UHNWIs, developers, private equity funds and corporate occupiers. Timothy Dodd left the firm in October 2022 to join Maples Teesdale LLP.

Practice head(s):

Gavin Vollans

Other key lawyers:

Martyn Strong

Key clients

Bob W

Stay at Mine Limited

GA Corby LLP

Edyn Group

RE Capital

Aprirose Real Estate Investment

By Dr Vali @ Selfridges

Leonardo Hotel Group / Fattal Hotel Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Dr Vali on the repositioning of her wellbeing and beauty clinic in Selfridges on Oxford Street.
  • Continuing to advise on the RE Capital-led scheme comprising a 74,000 square foot hotel-led mixed-use re-development project, following completion of a £60m development loan from ASK/OakNorth to facilitate the construction of a mixed=use development comprising a 150-bed hotel, office and affordable apartments in Clerkenwell.
  • Advising Leonardo Hotel group on its acquisition of The Grand Hotel, Brighton for £60m.

Lewis Silkin

Practitioners at Lewis Silkin advise on strategic transactions and everyday challenges facing operators of hotels, bars, restaurants, leisure complexes, spas and golf clubs. The practice’s expertise lies particularly in data and privacy, franchising and licensing, real estate, employment and immigration, and intellectual property and brand management. Team head Julia Poulter co-founded The Collective, which provides advice and thought leadership to premium and luxury brands, as well as handling all aspects of commercial property on their behalf. Leading the firm’s employment services is Laura Farnsworth, who works with restaurant chains on matters relating to national minimum and living wage, holiday pay and senior executive issues. Data and privacy specialist Bryony Long is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Julia Poulter

Other key lawyers:

Julia Poulter; Bryony Long


‘They have good industry knowledge, are approachable and commercial.’

Key clients

Great Wolf Resorts


Hawksmoor Restaurants


ASK Italian

PizzaExpress Restaurants

Ascot Racecourse

Work highlights

  • Advising Madrid-based company, The Arc Collection, which specialises in providing and managing luxury serviced apartments/aparthotels.
  • Advised MJS Holding on its joint venture with French dining group Paris Society International (PSI) to develop and operate restaurants in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under leading brands owned or controlled by PSI.
  • Acting for the Taste of Nawab in a trade mark infringement and passing off case brought against Nawab Online and Mr Mohammed Shoohan Choudhury.

Mayer Brown International LLP

Offering expertise in domestic and cross-border mandates, the hospitality and leisure team at Mayer Brown International LLP principally acts for investors in the UK and Europe; the client roster features well-known brands, lodging chains, boutique hotels and serviced apartments. Co-heading the team are Andrew Hepner, who advises lenders and sponsors on financing and refinancing matters in the hotel sector, and Simon Price, who has ‘in-depth knowledge of hospitality and leisure', and specialises in the corporate real estate market, advising investors and developers on hotel and branded residence transactions, franchise and operator agreements. Banking and finance lawyer, Charles Malpass, has recently led on a number of high-profile hotel deals, including advising Apollo on the financing of the £1.6bn redevelopment of Whitley’s.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hepner; Simon Price

Other key lawyers:

Charles Malpass; Chris Harvey


‘We are particularly impressed with Mayer Brown in their ability to quickly understand both the commercial and legal issues, to the point where they transition from lawyers to trusted advisors. The attention to detail and holistic take on our projects has been invaluable. They have also been innovative in terms of billing, giving us flexibility across all our commercial needs.’

‘Simon Price has an in-depth knowledge of hospitality and leisure, which allows him to provide advice across the piste on our leisure and hotel development projects. This understanding of how our counter-parties will see our proposals and show us an alternative view has speeded up deal structures and transactions, saving us time and money, and has helped build rapport with our clients.’

Key clients


Mishcon de Reya LLP

The practice at Mishcon de Reya LLP comprises specialists from multiple practice areas, who are well placed to advise developers, operators, landlords, investors and owners on a range of issues. Leading the commercial, technology, data and sports division is Lewis Cohen, who offers extensive experience in franchising issues, and operating and management agreements. Corporate transactional lawyers, Laura Chandler and Larry Nathan, have a diverse client base spanning major players from the retail, breweries, and new technology fields.

Practice head(s):

Lewis Cohen

Other key lawyers:

Larry Nathan; Laura Chandler; Olivia Fulton


‘A commercial and client-focused team.’

‘The team is focused on building a relationship and understanding their client’s business.’

Key clients

Brookfield’s Experimental Group

Minor International PCL

Work highlights

  • Advised Brookfield’s Experimental Group on the acquisition of Cowley Manor in the Cotswolds, the group’s first UK property outside of London.
  • Represented Minor International in its unfair prejudice proceedings with the minority shareholders of Corbin & King, and advised on the subsequent administration, including the applications by the minority shareholders to prevent the administration.

Shoosmiths LLP

The cross-departmental offering which covers work in the hospitality and leisure sector at Shoosmiths LLP spans the regulatory, commercial, corporate, banking and real estate teams, and is described as having ‘exceptional’ technical knowledge. The team is strong in advising institutional investors on acquisitions and financing, and has a growing presence in the hotel sector, assisting hotel operators and serviced apartments, as well as hotel developers, owners, and contractors. The practice is also instructed by bars, restaurants and other leisure services and operators. Joint practice head Richard Symonds, who is based in Leeds, is well versed in the living and leisure sector, and has recently increased his focus on insolvency issues, risks arising from the living sector, and fire safety issues. Symonds' counterpart, Milton Keynes-based Kirsty Chalkley, is highly recommended especially for her commercial real estate work for retail, licensed and leisure clients. Former co-head Catherine Williams left the team to join Addleshaw Goddard in December 2022.

Practice head(s):

Richard Symonds; Kirsty Chalkley


‘The team’s technical knowledge and detail is exceptional, as is their problem-solving approach.’

‘Kirsty Chalkley leads by example, and I cannot recommend her highly enough.’

Key clients

Marston’s PLC

Tingdene Holiday Parks Limited

Travelodge Hotels Limited

Tristan Capital Partners

Ortus Secured Finance

Various -St James Quarter

Telereal Trillium

Infinium Logistic Solutions Limited

AEW Europe

Downing LLP

The Third Space

Property Alliance Group and Starwood Capital Group Joint Venture.

Nikal Limited

Buckland Capital Limited

Individual – Russell Hulme

Arora Holdings Limited

Roomzzz and the Park Lane Group

Krispy Kreme (UK) Limited

Pizza Hut (UK) Limited

Vastint BV

StayCity UK Limited

The Other House

The Restaurant Group

Clivedale Group of Companies

McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd

Lamington Group (trading as Room 2)

Revolution Bars Group PLC

Work highlights

  • Advising Property Alliance Group and Starwood Capital Group Joint Venture on the redevelopment of the Renaissance Area of Deansgate, Manchester.
  • Advised Inventive Service Company Limited on the property aspects of its acquisition of the Peach Pub group of companies.
  • Advising the Clivedale Group on its development at Hanover Bond, 22 Hanover Square, which includes the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair hotel, comprising 50 rooms, a restaurant, spa and 25m pool.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has significant geographical reach and a growing client roster spanning the full range of industry stakeholders, and featuring names such as Canon Corporate UK and The Wolseley Hospitality Group. The ‘forward-thinking team’ regularly assists with acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures, developments and sales, investment structures, and management and franchise agreements. Team leader and corporate and commercial expert Felicity Jones has ‘great specialist knowledge of hotels', and has extensive experience in hotel and resort transactions, operational and commercial contracts, and other real estate trading activities. Praised for his ‘efficiency and commercial judgement', Richard Hughes is well versed in financing transactions. Construction expert Barry Hembling offers ‘top-notch’ advice.

Practice head(s):

Felicity Jones

Other key lawyers:

Richard Hughes; Barry Hembling


‘Felicity Jones stands head and shoulders above other hospitality lawyers I have dealt with over many years. She takes a business view rather than simply a legal perspective and acts like one of our team. This means she is always available. She’s interested in achieving the result you want rather than simply winning arguments but can be robust when required. Above all, she is a pleasure to work with.’

‘Felicity Jones is fierce in negotiations and has great specialist knowledge of hotels. She has worked to extremely tight deadlines and negotiated a management contract in 3 weeks.’

‘In tight timing scenarios, the team was very responsive and thorough, especially in some non-traditional work. The team has been efficient and commercial.’

‘Richard Hughes’ efficiency and commercial judgement are great.’

‘They have excellent negotiating skills and draft wording to protect our interests.’

‘A prompt, imaginative, positive, and solution-based practice. They are a great and forward-thinking team.’

‘Barry Hembling, alongside having impeccable manners, offers wise and efficient counsel. His technical knowledge and experience is second to none and he is well versed in dealing with complex cases and offering solutions to overcoming them. Having tried other commercial construction solicitors, he is, in my view, the best out there.’

‘Barry Hembling’s professionalism and dedication to our business is evident and we like his relaxed yet clear approach to business. He has good availability and the advice and support given is top-notch, always succinct and to the point, and extremely practical.’

Key clients

Jastar Capital

Norlake Hospitality Limited

BP Pension Fund

The Wolseley Hospitality Group

Grivalia Hospitality

Millennium Hotels and Resorts

Zaha Hadid Architects (“ZHA”)

Grupo Inversor Hesperia SA (Hesperia Hotels & Resorts)

Cannon Corporate UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Jastar Capital on its £40m+ acquisition of Native Bankside, a luxury aparthotel in London, and the conversion to a management agreement with Native Places.
  • Providing construction law and related advice to Millennium Hotels & Resorts on a number of hotels within its UK portfolio, including assisting with the refurbishment of the Chelsea Harbour Hotel.
  • Advising Cannon Corporate UK on terminating existing arrangements at The Crowne Plaza London Albert Embankment and its rebranding under the Hyatt Regency portfolio.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

The international and multi-disciplinary hospitality and leisure team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has significant sector knowledge of the food and beverage, consumer brands, and hotels and hospitality areas. The team covers the full range of legal services and is particularly well versed in marketing and branding, sponsorship, and enforcement issues, as well as occupier services, relevant litigation, and employment harmonisation and restructuring. The trio of lawyers heading up the team consists of: Michael Powner, an employment expert who handles the relationship with Wagamama and Caffe Nero; commercial contract specialist Jason Saiban, who leads the firm’s tech, consumer and sport group; and Lee Medlock, head of the real estate team. Investors, commercial developers and corporate occupiers regularly instruct Louise Ward, who has recently advised on theatre and research park developments, and the sale and leaseback of leisure clubs. Mark White has significant experience in the investment and corporate occupier sector.

Practice head(s):

Michael Powner; Jason Saiban; Lee Medlock

Other key lawyers:

Louise Ward; Mark White


‘The CRS team have a long history within our sector which remains relevant, deeply respected and just as importantly, up to date. Their knowledge of the issues we face encourages us to think differently in addition to simply being there for the law. Our business is stronger as a result of their partnership.’

‘Mike Powner and Jason Saiban are exceptional partners. In addition to their legal knowledge they are thoroughly decent people to do business with and fun to boot.’

Key clients

Caffe Nero Group Limited

Ascot Racecourse

Wagamama (part of The Restaurant Group)

Honest Burgers


Gulf Air

Silversea Cruises


Royal Caribbean Cruises


David Lloyd Leisure Limited

Cote Brasserie

Work highlights

  • Advising Caffe Nero on a key new partnership with Waitrose, which involved negotiating a licensing and supply agreement with Waitrose which expanded Caffe Nero’s at-home retail range to all UK Waitrose stores and covered the supply of Caffe Nero coffee beans for the Waitrose in-store coffee offer (relaunched having been withdrawn at the peak of Covid-19).
  • Advising David Lloyd Leisure on all aspects of the acquisition of land for development as a new club on Urban & Civic’s Radio Station Rugby scheme, as well as providing advice on construction documentation for the new club.
  • Continuing to advise British restaurant chain Côte Brasserie on a range of matters, including recently being instructed to advise on management of its real estate portfolio, which is made up of close to 90 sites.

Glovers Solicitors LLP

The 'incredibly knowledgeable' practitioners at boutique property law firm Glovers Solicitors LLP are regularly instructed by restaurants, pubs, cinema groups, gyms and other leisure operators to handle property law, litigation and licensing mandates. 'Supremely able' practice head Philip Shotter specialises in advising occupiers in the leisure and hospitality arena. Commercial property lawyer Paul Jagger has a ‘wealth of hospitality experience', and also deals with estate management and property acquisitions. Consultant John Barber returned to the team in February 2023.

Practice head(s):

Philip Shotter

Other key lawyers:

Paul Jagger; John Barber; Charlotte Clack


‘This small boutique firm provides a one-stop-shop for operators and new applicants, covering conveyancing, planning and licensing.’

‘Philip Shotter and Paul Jagger are supremely able.’

‘The team are incredibly knowledgeable with prior experience in our sector which brings huge benefits when negotiating and agreeing the final leases for us as a business. They are straightforward to deal with, their communication was clear, and they were transparent every step of the way.’

‘Extremely knowledgeable and well versed in our sector of the industry which is comforting and gives reassurance that we are getting the right service from the right person(s). In particular, Philip Shotter and Paul Jagger have been instrumental in our negotiations to date and are clear, concise and accurate in their communications with us.’

‘The Glover’s team are extremely commercial and totally understand the implications to the client and therefore make the process as smooth as possible.’

‘Paul Jagger stands out, he has a wealth of hospitality experience and is able to give such fitting advice on matters which keeps the legal matters moving swiftly.’

‘The team are leaders in their field. No other team does more high-profile restaurant and hospitality work. They are without doubt the go-to firm for hospitality and leisure clients, whether it’s a fledgling independent operator or nationwide restaurant chain.’

‘Paul Jagger and Philip Shotter are equally superb and have unparalleled industry-specific knowledge when handling lease transactions. They are personable and more client-friendly than any other solicitors in this field I know. They are all-round nice guys, and this is why clients love them.’

Key clients

ASK Italian Restaurants Limited

Aqua Restaurant Group

Barrio Bars Ltd

BDL Restaurants Limited (Bocca di Lupo, Plaquemine Lock)

Club Mexicana Limited

Deep Blue Restaurants Limited

Dishoom Limited

Doma Hospitality Group

Drop Wine

Emerald Hospitality Group

Everyman Media Limited

Farmer J Limited

Fatto A Mano Limited

Flat Iron Steak Limited

Frontier Pubs Limited

Hache Burger Connoisseurs Limited

Hop Vietnamese Limited

Hybrid Fitness Franchise Limited

Lane7 Ltd

McMullen and Sons Limited

Miscusi UK Limited

Nando’s Chickenland Limited

Noble Rot Limited

Neds Noodle Box (Holdings) Limited

Oaxaca Restaurants Limited

Perilla Dining Limited

Pizza Express Restaurants Limited

Prezzo Trading Limited

State of Play Hospitality Group

Superbowl UK Group

The Adventure Bar Group

The London Cocktail Club Limited

The Vurger Co Ltd

Townhouse Group Limited

Wagamama Limited

ZLC London Limited (The Palomar and The Barbary)

Zandi Enterprises Limited (Zuaya)

Zizzi Restaurants Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Everyman Media on the acquisition of three cinemas at the International Quarter at Stratford International including the Arc Shopping Centre, Bury St Edmunds and Grand Arcade Cambridge.
  • Advising Lane7 on its new 28,000 square foot flagship site at the Bullring Centre in Birmingham, as well as assisting the company with a further new site in Altrincham.
  • Advising Nando’s Chickenland on the acquisition of ten restaurants at The Odyssey Belfast, Ashford Designer Outlet, Battersea Power Station and London Waterloo Station, amongst others.

Hamlins LLP

Hamlins LLP’s hospitality and leisure team is seen as a ‘go-to’ practice for brand management, site developments and acquisitions, and day-to-day operational issues, including those affecting timeshare-related products. Recent work has involved helping clients navigate lower demand and increased construction and energy costs. Ben Kilshaw leads the team, while commercial disputes and intellectual property specialist Martin Ochs handles the full range of relevant matters, from operational work to international litigation, for hotels and travel-related clients. Previously based in the United Arab Emirates, John Leasure handles portfolio acquisitions and disposals, and refinancing for both landlords and tenants.

Practice head(s):

Ben Kilshaw

Other key lawyers:

Martin Ochs; John Leasure; Stephanie Brown


‘A great personal practice bringing together good quality lawyers, a personal touch, efficiency and good technical knowledge.’

‘John Leasure is a great commercial property lawyer. He understands the detail whilst not losing site of the bigger/commercial picture.’

‘Hamlins has supported the rapid growth of our hospitality offerings and our complex property arrangements. Their team have consistently provided sound advice and legal strategies that have resulted in the successful operation and growth of our business.’

‘We have worked with Ben Kilshaw who has always given excellent advice and feedback regarding our complex property queries.’

‘Hamlins is my go-to firm for reliably smart, clear and concise advice, with industry-leading market knowledge and a highly commercially-aware team focused on getting the best results in a sensible time frame. Unlike other firms we have worked with, advice is presented to us in a way that makes it highly digestible, and results-focused, and goes above and beyond in order to offer us multiple avenues to achieving good results.’

‘I work with Ben Kilshaw and Stephanie Brown, both of whom are very personable, and relationship focused. Both have in-depth knowledge of our past transactions which they bring to each new piece of work and use this to our clear advantage whenever we work together allowing us to very effectively complete transactions in good time. As a business we feel extremally confident in their capable hands.’

‘Hamlins are a good legal firm with good knowledge and commercially minded.’

‘Ben Kilshaw and Stephanie Brown are excellent to work with and have the ability to explain complex matters simply.’

Key clients

Burhill Group

CitizenM Hotels

Ego Restaurants Limited

INKD Limited

Koko (music venue)

Leon Restaurants

Pizza Pilgrims

Pizza Union

Park Plaza Hotels


Roko Health Centres Limited

Rosa’s Thai

The Light Cinema

Lucky Saint

Work highlights

  • Advised The Light Cinema on pre-let agreements for a cinema, bowling and e-karting complex at a redevelopment in Huddersfield Town Centre and a new cinema and bowling and leisure premises at a new development at Redhill Surrey.
  • Advised The Hope Lease on its new leases at Koko following the £70m refurbishment at the iconic music venue at Camden which reopened last spring.
  • Advising Rosa’s Thai on its ongoing expansion.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP

Harbottle & Lewis LLP's 'capable and confident' team works with a range of high-profile corporate clients, including airlines, restaurant chains, and major events promoters. Tim Parker and Sandi Simons jointly chair the cross-disciplinary practice.

Practice head(s):

Tim Parker; Sandi Simons

Other key lawyers:

Yvonne Gallagher; Emma Wright


‘Able to pull in other partners with other disciplines.’

‘Capable and confident.’

Key clients

Gordon Ramsay Restaurants Ltd

Kindred Concepts Ltd

Eventim Live International GmbH

Gordon Ramsay Restaurants Ltd

Arch Light Cinemas Limited


Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited

Puttshack Ltd

Howard Kennedy LLP

Howard Kennedy LLP assists an array of hoteliers and entrepreneurial businesses in the leisure industry with issues arising at every stage of the lifecycle of assets and operations. The team provides a complete offering, with experts across all relevant legal disciplines, including real estate, tax, employment, intellectual property, banking and disputes. Heading the retail and leisure offering is consultant Adam Walford, who offers expertise in commercial real estate issues and is regularly instructed by household name retailers and restaurants. Anthony Hunt, who heads up the corporate real estate team, focuses on hotel-related work, regularly handling M&A, joint ventures, listings, and management buy-outs and buy-ins. Intellectual property expert Alex Watt focuses on licensing, gaming, franchising and publishing work for brands.

Practice head(s):

Adam Walford; Anthony Hunt

Other key lawyers:

Alex Watt

Key clients


PureGym PLC

Lina Stores




Blewlett’s Holding Limited

Pizza Hut


Wonderland Restaurants

Work highlights

  • Advising PureGym on its roll-out programme, which includes acquisitions and asset management.
  • Advising numerous restaurant operators and luxury hotel brands on employment and employee relations issues.
  • Advising REEF Technology on its acquisition programme in the UK.

Macfarlanes LLP

The cross-disciplinary hotels team at Macfarlanes LLP offers ‘a real depth of expertise’ in acquisitions and developments, management and franchise agreements, financing, and tax issues relevant to hotel businesses. The practice services a diverse client roster which features large hotel owners and operators, investors and lenders. Key lawyers include Howard Corney, who heads the firms M&A group and specialises in the sports, leisure and hospitality industries; commercial expert Will Hedges; hotels and real estate specialist Simon Perry; and expert in real estate finance, Colin Morgan.

Practice head(s):

Howard Corney; Colin Morgan; Simon Perry; Will Hedges; Justin Hope

Other key lawyers:

Mark Cusack; Kathryn Jarvis


‘I was impressed by the ability of Macfarlanes to dedicate a senior lawyer to follow the entire deal.’

‘A specific mention for Howard Corney, who assisted us throughout the deal. Howard is an extremely experienced M&A lawyer, with very strong negotiation skills. He managed to efficiently solve issues arising during the different deal phases.’

‘The Macfarlanes team is well co-ordinated and can advise across multiple areas including M&A, asset management, loans and securitisation. They respond very promptly and can keep to a tight and fast-moving timetable. They have a real depth of expertise and are agile and responsive.’

‘Mark Cusack and Kathryn Jarvis are both highly intelligent and valuable members of the team. Mark is super responsive, very accessible and easy to work with and turns work round very quickly. Kathryn is also a joy to work with. She grasps complex issues very quickly and is able to produce high-quality work within a very tight timetable.’

Key clients

Waldorf Astoria, Doha

Cedar Capital Partners

Ritz Hotel (London)


Integrity International Group Limited

Claridge’s Hotel Limited

EQ Hotels Limited

The Berkeley Hotel Limited

The Connaught Hotel Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the owner of the Waldorf Astoria on all aspects of its financing, construction and management arrangements.
  • Advised Claridge’s on its partnership with beauty treatment provider Facegym, and on its entry into a concession agreement under which Facegym provides products and treatments at Claridge’s, to both hotel residents and the general public.
  • Advised The Berkeley on its partnership with pastry chef Cédric Grolet.

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP

Handling international and high-value work for companies in the restaurant and leisure industry, the team at Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP is jointly headed up by John O’Callaghan, who focuses on property transactions, and Simon Lawrence, who predominantly advises overseas clients and corporate occupiers on commercial property matters. Rebecca Roberts is sought out by clients for assistance with acquisitions, sales and strategic planning in relation to portfolio businesses and special purpose vehicles.

Practice head(s):

John O’Callaghan; Simon Lawrence

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Roberts; Ali Chouhdry; Paul Cain


‘The team offer excellent service and are always available.’

‘The team at Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP is outstanding and has developed a reputation for being able to handle high-value complex deals in the hospitality and leisure sector efficiently. The team always delivers.’

‘Simon Lawrence is the go-to person for big hotel transactions and high-value leases in the West End. He has decades of experience and is able to get deals done.’

‘Paul Cain is excellent and has an enviable client list.’

Key clients

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)

Drakesfield Group

Delphinus Developments Limited

Urban Spectrum Property Management Limited

Ganco Limited

Eagleyed Ltd


Planwell Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisting the Efes Restaurant Group with the acquisition of new restaurant sites across London in key consumer areas.
  • Advising Comptoir Group on its portfolio of premises in key consumer areas, as well as assisting with the acquisition of a new restaurant site in central London.
  • Advising on the £8.5m acquisition of a London hotel.

Stevens & Bolton LLP

The team at Stevens & Bolton LLP caters to the gamut of clients in the hospitality and leisure sector, including hotels, travel providers, restaurants, pubs and bars, casinos and digital leisure activity providers. Key areas of expertise include business set-up, expansion, construction, staffing and management, portfolio management, financing, and brand management, with recent growth in instructions relating to immersive leisure experiences and insolvency issues. Overseeing the team is Helen Wheddon, who specialises in property-related disputes. Another key member of the team is commercial expert Nicola Broadhurst, who assists fashion and luxury brand clients with international expansion through franchising, licensing, and distribution. Charles Maurice heads the technology group and co-heads the sports sector group, acting for start-ups, well-known brands, sports clubs and sponsors. Ben Willis is well placed to assist with issues pertaining to non-contentious construction matters and engineering projects.

Practice head(s):

Helen Wheddon

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Broadhurst; Charles Maurice; Ben Willis; Alex Watt; Nick Atkins; Andrew Dodds; Aidan Welton; Catherine Penny


‘S&B are always available and on hand when we need support. Requests are dealt with quickly and all members of the team offer great guidance and feedback. It feels like S&B are an integral part of our business, akin to having in-house lawyers.’

‘Catherine Penny is a standout leader who is great to bounce ideas off, gives solid feedback and is balanced and fair when it comes to disputes management.’

‘This is a friendly and commercially-minded team.’

‘Nick Atkins and Andrew Dodds are standout lawyers in their respective fields, and good at explaining their rationale for things.’

‘The team has a high level of expertise and seeks to identify issues to head them off. The team provides a high level of client service, succinct and detailed advice in a timely manner. One of Stevens and Bolton’s real strengths is that all staff are based in one central office and therefore collaborate with colleagues from other teams to ensure the best possible advice is offered.’

‘Alex Watt and Aidan Welton present clear and concise advice. They are both prepared to tailor their service and advice to suit our needs. They work in a flexible way, and nothing is too much trouble.’

Key clients

Aspria Holdings

Bermondsey Hotel Ltd

Caravan and Motorhome Club

Frameless London Ltd

Immersive Gamebox (Immersive Group Gaming Ltd)

Metropolitan Gaming Ltd

New Dawn Pubs

Papa Johns

Pepe’s Piri Piri Ltd

Pizza Hut (UK) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Metropolitan Gaming on its acquisition of the business and assets of the Park Lane Casino in a pre-packaged administration of the casino’s former owner.
  • Handling a wide range of franchising, commercial, brand, sponsorship, dispute, real estate, employment and immigration matters in relation to the UK, Europe and US on behalf of Papa Johns.
  • Advised Frameless London on the lease and fit-out of the Marble Arch Place development, an immersive art gallery experience.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

The ‘super responsive, professional, pragmatic’ practitioners at Trowers & Hamlins LLP are well placed to advise on a range of matters in the hospitality, leisure and tourism spheres. The firm is highly regarded for its experience in assisting HNWIs and family offices in the Middle and Far East with the acquisition of hotels in the UK. Ayda Habboush and Julien Allen, jointly head up the team; the former has significant experience in advising domestic and international hotel owners on sales, acquisitions and insolvencies, as well as hotel management and franchise agreements, while the latter is an expert in high-end leisure matters relating to restaurants and clubs.

Practice head(s):

Ayda Habboush; Julien Allen

Other key lawyers:

Bronwen Courtenay-Stamp; Alice Stripe; Leanne Griggs


‘They are super responsive, professional, pragmatic, and always seeking solutions.’

‘Julien Allen, Leanne Griggs, Alice Stripe, and Ayda Habboush are an exceptional team who meet expectations every time. They always pick up the phone and respond immediately.’

Key clients

Ejarat Holdings Limited

RE Capital

Westcountry Food Holdings Limited

Payman Holdings Limited

La Bandera Limited and other associated companies

Gone Wild Events

The Wiltshire Distilling Company Limited

Burger King UK Limited

Caprice Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Ejarat Holdings on the acquisition and subsequent disposal of the Mere Golf & Country Club in Knutsford for £34.5m.
  • Advising RE Capital on various hotel projects on an ongoing basis, including assisting with the development of a new lifestyle hotel at 7A, B&C Bayham Street, NW1.
  • Advising the shareholders of Westcountry Food Holdings on the sale of the entire issued share capital of the group of companies to Kitwave Group for £29m.