• Mandarin sells Mark in NYC

Mandarin Oriental has taken advantage of the booming New York City hotel market by agreeing to sell the lease on its Mark property in the city for US$150m.

The deal, which may lead to Mandarin retaining a management contract, was announced as Manhattan hotel room rates seem set to beat previous highs set in the year 2000.

According to consultants PKF, the previous record average daily rate of US$237 achieved in 2000 is set to be beaten for the whole of 2005. The firm said that November saw rates at US$292.

And according to NYC tourism officials, an estimated 22 million room nights were sold in 2005. This compares with the 21.4 million in 2004 and 19.9 million in 2000.

The sale of the Mark has netted Mandarin's parent company Jardine Matheson Holdings US$35m after tax.

It was the second disposal made by Mandarin during the year. It sold its 40% stake in the Kahala Mandarin in Honolulu in June.

The cash is being recycled into growth. Hotels are under construction in Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Mexico, Grand Cayman and Macau.

Even if Mandarin does not retain a management agreement on the Mark, it still has the Mandarin Oriental close to Central Park. The Mark was acquired as part of the acquisition of the Rafael Group in 2000.
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