Sale of New York's Plaza Hotel Could Subject It to Boycott

2013.01.19 - Sherman and the Plaza Hotel
JBYoder/FlickrAn estimated $2.2 billion deal would give the Sultan of Brunei part ownership of New York's Plaza Hotel and two others.
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APHassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei
Celebrities may have another swank hotel to boycott. The Sultan of Brunei -- whose Beverly Hills Hotel in California has been boycotted because of his country's enforcement of Islamic law -- is part of a bid for the Plaza Hotel in New York. The Plaza, where the precocious and fictional 6-year-old Eloise lives in the "room on the tippy-top floor" in books titled with her name, is being bid on by a man who says his country's practice of punishing sodomy and adultery by death, via such means as stoning, is a "great achievement."

The estimated $2.2 billion deal would give Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah part ownership of the Plaza Hotel and two others -- New York's Dream Hotel and the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The sultan wouldn't have any say in the daily operations of the hotels, but would be the controlling owner in partnership with two other investors, according to reports.

The properties are being sold by jailed by Indian tycoon Subrata Roy to raise money for bail. Roy is jailed in New Delhi, in lieu of a $1.6 billion bail bond, on contempt-of-court charges related to billions in restitution that his group allegedly failed to repay to investors of illegal financial products.

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Alan Light/FlickrEvents have been canceled at The Beverly Hills Hotel because of protests against Brunei's Shariah law.
The sultan's Beverly Hills Hotel has been in the middle of a controversy over his country's system of Shariah law, and in May the city of Beverly Hills voted to pressure the government of Brunei to divest the hotel after the country's imposition of fundamentalist tenets prompted protests at the iconic hotel. Stars such as Jay Leno, Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres, and British entrepreneur Richard Branson, boycotted the iconic hotel, which long has been a favorite spot for the Hollywood elite, and which was famously featured on the cover of the Eagles' "Hotel California" album.

About a week before the boycott, Brunei had adopted the strict interpretation of Islamic criminal law, which also prompted concerns from the U.S. State Department. Abortions and same-sex relationships are now subject to punishment by flogging and stoning in Brunei, and conviction for theft can result in amputation.

Events have been canceled at the Beverly Hills Hotel because of the protests. They include the Motion Picture and Television Fund's annual "Night Before the Oscars" charity event and the Feminist Majority Foundation's annual Global Women's Rights Awards.

The hotel's owner was also asked by the gay rights advocacy group, Human Rights Campaign, to stop promoting special services at the hotel for same-sex weddings, which are legal in California. The protests in California have apparently fallen on deaf ears, as the sultan now wants to expand his country's hotel holdings in posh, storied hotels with the proposed acquisition of the Plaza. The same gay rights advocacy group that protested at the Beverly Hills Hotel has asked New Yorkers to oppose the sale of the Plaza to the sultan.

Roy, who owns his stake in the Plaza as part of the Sahara Group, acquired a controlling stake in 2012 for around $430 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. Saudi billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal owns a 25 percent stake in the property, and it's unclear if he would maintain that stake if Sahara sells.

Aside from the "Eloise" books and movie, the Plaza has been a setting in "The Great Gatsby," Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" (where Cary Grant's character is kidnapped after a drink at the Oak Bar), and Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite."

The Royal Plaza Suite rents for $30,000 a night and has three bedrooms and 3.5 baths in 4,490 square feet. It includes a living room with a grand piano, dining room for 12 people, library, kitchen, gym, and a master bedroom overlooking Fifth Avenue. It has plenty of space for a 6-year-old girl to play in for years.

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bentinck

Its business! He will get it and I don't think anything will stop the sale. Nothing stopped communist China buying NYC and other states. IBM sold to the commie years ago and many other businesses sold to China.

August 21 2014 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
the902inc

Hello people! can't you see how the evil RICH islamists are taking over the world?

August 21 2014 at 5:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patti

I guess they couldn't refuse him, bunch of greedy sellouts

August 20 2014 at 2:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mrcbrdtwo

Could you actually afford to stay here? I can't. And I'm not in the minority. Mega billion-dollar deals which pose a far greater threat to our long term financial secuity than this situation happen daily. Wake up. Commercial media raises our anger about rich-folks-only hotels with this outrageous story, but somehow forget to tread on the toes of their advertisers. Who owns Budwieser? Proctor and Gamble? Dodge? Verizon? The company you work for? Don't know? It's time we started asking questions about where we shop and what we buy and whom we choose to do business with. And forget the stupid Hotel already!

August 20 2014 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cindy

You know things can be very simple. If the owners don't want the partnership. don't sell.
Large banks with interests in China or large China banks that own things here. Stop it! Dont' ask
for trouble. Yep, if you don't have anything nice or good to do with USA Why are you here. Please go home.
Yes, we have freedom of speach but there is a limit when it runs into the freedome of speech of the people who have already lived, grown up here. and made it what it is today.. We don't need the pressure.

August 19 2014 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shari0019

America for Sale!

August 19 2014 at 11:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
skymett8

When they came here no one can tell them anything because "Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances". REALLY! People who couldn't utter a negative word in their country, come here and preach negative things about the USA. I believe in investments but ?????????

August 19 2014 at 11:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Artie

This guy looks like Borat or Michael Jackson with all those medals. How did he earn them anyway....first place in a camel race? Why doesn't he just build his own hotel with all that money he has? Why do the owners of these properties and landmarks want to sell out to these skeevosas? Everything is always about the buck. Nothing changes.

August 19 2014 at 10:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
wan23wan

Why letting outsiders buying up Amerca when Amercians cant buy other countries ! SAY NO!
We already owe BILLIONS $$$$ to CHINA and our Pres. still barrow from CHINA then hand it out to other countries!

August 19 2014 at 10:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
srszee

Donald Trump! Buy it back!

August 19 2014 at 10:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply