July 16, 2024
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LVMH buying El Encanto owner Belmond for $2.6 billion


The El Encanto in Santa Barbara.

How about a high end room to go with your high end luggage?

LVMH, the French company that owns the Luis Vuitton, Moet and Hennessy brands, is buying Belmond, the upscale hotel company whose holdings include El Encanto in Santa Barbara.

LVMH will pay $25 per share or $2.6 billion for the hotel and luxury travel organization that formerly was known as  Orient Express. Including debt, the deal values London-based Belmond at $3.2 billion.

Belmond announced in August that it was putting itself up for sale after a strategic review. In addition to the Santa Barbara property, it owns the Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, the Orient Express luxury train service, a river cruise company and properties worldwide.

The deal was first reported in the Wall Street Journal, which said that LVMH is looking to expand into luxury experiences as a way to introduce younger consumers to its established goods brands.

LVMH already owns Bulgari hotels and the Cheval  Blanc luxury resort properties. After acquiring the property from a private owner, Orient-Express and later Belmond shut El Encanto and reconstructed the property over a seven-year stretch.

Reopened in 2013, it became the first of a new generation of luxury hotels on the South Coast, including the Hotel Californian opened in 2017, and Rosewood Miramar Beach, slated for opening early in 2019.