One of the most famous hotels in the world, Raffles in Singapore, may be up for sale for (some say for $450 million) by its Saudi Arabian owner, it is reported. Raffles, which oozes colonial grandeur and was renowned in its heyday as a favourite drinking den for writers like Somerset Maugham, Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling.

(Source: AFP)

Saudi Arabian tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom group said on Monday it is upgrading and expanding luxury hotels in Singapore and London, amid reports the hotels were up for sale.

Kingdom Holding, one of the country’s richest investment groups, said in a statement that it has obtained permission to expand its top-end Raffles Singapore Hotel with up to 78 new rooms.

It said it is also putting its Savoy Hotel in London through a 118 million pound (175 million dollar) renovation, with plans to reopen the luxury property in late 2009.

The statement came after The Times newspaper of London reported that Prince Alwaleed, who controls 95 percent of Kingdom, was planning to sell off the properties to raise cash against investment losses in the past year.

Kingdom did not specifically deny the report.

Read “Saudi Kingdom group upgrades hotels” in the AFP (March 20, 2009)

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