There have been some rumors and quiet murmurings that the Ritz Paris may be sold to Qatari investors. But according to Women's Wear Daily, the rumors are "unfounded" and Mohamed Al-Fayed, the iconic businessman and hotelier, has no plans to sell the property, which is currently undergoing a substantial renovation and has been closed since last fall.
There is plenty of reason to believe that the sale could happen, however: Qatari investors have been purchasing properties across Europe. The swank Hotel Martinez in Cannes was purchased last year by Katara Hospitality, formerly known as Qatar National Hotels Company, along with the Hotel du Louvre in Paris.
And then there's Al-Fayed, who ended his 25-year rein at Harrods three years ago when he sold the landmark British retailer to Qatar Holding, an investment company linked to the royal family of the Gulf state, for $2.22 billion at the current exchange rate, including about $888 million in property-backed debt.
A spokesman for Qatar Holdings had no comment Thursday about the Ritz rumor.