Corinthia moves ahead


It is in Corinthia’s DNA to look forward. Hurdles and challenges merely strengthen our tenacity and resolve.

Recent international adversities caused by COVID-19 did not deter Corinthia’s forward-looking gaze. Insider Plus decided to have a look at Corinthia’s current development projects.

International Hotel Investments p.l.c. (IHI) is involved in six hotel projects, either as an investor or through Corinthia Hotels Limited (CHL) and other subsidiaries, as an operator or development manager.


Corinthia Developments International Limited (CDI) had agreed with the firm Reuben Brothers of the UK, who acquired the former seat of the Bank of Italy in Parliament Square and are now working with Corinthia to convert this property into a 60-key luxury hotel. CDI is the development and project manager on site. Another Corinthia subsidiary, Corinthia Hotels Ltd (CHL), will lease this hotel upon completion of the works. Redevelopment and rebuilding works are in progress.

Built in 1914, this property directly faces the Parliament of Italy and prides itself of a prime location close to Piazza di Spagna, Fontana di Trevi and the Pantheon. 

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Corinthia’s ambition to operate in New York is now verifying itself. The same firm Rueben Brothers entrusted CHL with the management and operation of a Corinthia Hotel in New York. The agreement term is for 25 years. The property, which traded as The Surrey, is currently undergoing a thorough refurbishment and transformation and will, when completed, be operated and managed by Corinthia.

The final product will have 101 guest rooms, a lounge bar, restaurant and club operated by Casa Tua of Miami reputation, facilities, a spa and gym as well as 12 luxury residences. 

Located on East 76th at Madison Avenue in a distinguished Upper East Side setting, the Hotel is  within easy walking distance from New York’s attractions: theatres, businesses, shopping nuclei, best museums and other landmarks such as Central Park. 

Its location, Upper East Side Historic District, was designated as a city district in 1981 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The Upper East Side Historic District Designation Report 1981 describes it as: ‘designed in neo-classical style by the firm of Schwartz & Gross, and was completed in 1926. It was the last new residential building to have been built on the block, but it upheld and perpetuated the architectural and stylistic tone established decades earlier.’

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Owned with partners, this historic, landmark hotel is being extensively rebuilt, and its historic façade and internal areas restored. The property was launched as a grand hotel in 1909, named the Grand Hotel Astoria, which sadly ended up derelict. Corinthia acquired the site and has since demolished non-historic, dangerous parts, naturally in close collaboration with the local authorities, with whom it agreed on a methodology for the rebuilding of the property and renovation of all historic areas. Corinthia subsidiary company QP is responsible for project management, whilst the corporate resources of IHI, CHL and CDI are collectively providing services as owner’s representatives and operators, handling all matters of financing, contracting, oversight, value engineering and design signoffs.

The Astoria Hotel is one of the few prestigious European hotels dating from the turn of the century that have survived to the present day.

Its architect, Henri Van Dievoet, held the post of Secretary of the Central Society of Architecture of Brussels, was Professor at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and taught architectural drawing and perspective at the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Gilles. He died on 24 April 1931.

The Corinthian capital with rows of acanthus leaves and four scrolls, has been Corinthia’s logo from its inception. Fate seems to have decreed that Corinthia becomes an important part of the story of this hotel. In fact, Corinthian capitals have always decorated its lobby, and they now welcome Corinthia’s recent participation in the life of this iconic hotel. 

After a long period of offering sterling service to VIPs, including Emperor Hirohito, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, former US President Dwight Eisenhower, and artists Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol, Hotel Astoria changed hands a couple of times and has been closed since 2007. Corinthia acquired 50% holding in 2016.

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As Corinthia’s CEO Simon Naudi succinctly put it: ‘In Doha, CHL had entered into various agreements with the United Development Corporation of Qatar, owners and developers of the Pearl, an offshore collection of reclaimed islands on which a spectacular city comprising commercial, yachting, hospitality, social and residential developments are now largely complete and occupied, save for one island, the Gewan, on which UDC wishes to create a luxury destination focused on hospitality and residential offerings.

CHL has been entrusted to guide the design development and eventually manage a series of properties on Gewan, including a Corinthia Hotel, Golf Club, Beach Club, Yacht Club, residential villas for sale and now, on the main island of the Pearl, a serviced residential tower to be built comprising 150 units of varying sizes for sale and lease.’

CHL is in the immediate term focusing on the Yacht Club, which will open its doors later this year.

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CHL has a management agreement to operate the historic Grand Hotel du Boulevard, owned by a local entrepreneur. Works on the internal redecoration of the property are ongoing. This 30-key all-suite hotel will undoubtedly be considered the top luxury hotel in Romania. The Grand Hotel du Boulevard will open as Corinthia Hotel Bucharest.

Grand Hotel du Boulevard, one of the oldest hotels in Bucharest, is the brainchild of the very distinguished Romanian architect Alexandru Orăscu (1817-1894), who established a name for his Neoclassical and Renaissance-revival projects. An urban planner and author of the ‘City Plan’ of Bucharest (1893), he was also a Rector of the University of Bucharest, President of the Romanian Architects Society, and President of the Cultural League.

This hotel started its exciting life in 1865 when the owner of a very successful bread factory, Jacques Herdan, bought the site and built a hotel which he named Hotel Herdan. It was inaugurated in 1873 and changed to Grand Hotel du Boulevard in 1877. As already said, it will now operate under the name Corinthia Hotel Bucharest. 

Grand Hotel du Boulevard was the first hotel in Bucharest with a water supply in each room, and in 1904 prided itself of having installed electric lights in all the hotel and introduced the service of an elevator. It was granted gold medals at the 1906 Milan Exhibition and the 1911 Turin Exhibition. Its use changed a couple of times, such as during World War II when the German troops in Romania established their headquarters there in the years 1941-1944. Later, it was used as government building during the years 1950 to 1974.

The regal character of this hotel is reflected in the name of the street it faces: Boulevard Regina Elizabeta. Elizabeta (1843-1916) was the first Queen of Romania, being the wife of King Carol I and having been crowned Queen in 1881 after Romania was declared a kingdom.

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International Hotel Investments p.l.c. (IHI) owns the land formerly housing the Ħal Ferħ Holiday Village (85,000m2). In 2021, Corinthia published its plans for a 162-room luxury Corinthia resort and 25 residential villas to be serviced by the hotel. In the same year, the Malta Parliament ratified a zoning law change against a total payment of €10.5 million over and above what was initially paid for the land when privatised. This change allows IHI to develop a number of luxury villas in the years ahead. 

Corinthia sees this venture as a showpiece of luxurious standards development, not rising more than two floors in parts and occupying solely 16% of the actual land, the rest being used for landscaping and outdoor activities.

Goddard Littlefair, a UK-based designer, has been engaged together with WATG, also from UK, to handle all landscaping design. Works will commence immediately planing permits are in hand. 

The proposed project aims to regenerate this dilapidated and disused site into a world-class resort that balances sensitive, unobtrusive architecture and lush landscaping with top-tier accommodation and facilities. This will offer a carefully curated mix of 162 large guestrooms and suites, all with private gardens or terraces, spread across a main two-storey hotel building and a canal.

Residents and guests will be able to enjoy all the amenities and facilities of the resort, including room service at night, concierge support, cleaning, caretaking, security etc. They will also have access to the resort’s outdoor facilities, such as tennis and padel courts, gym and fitness facilities, horse riding, golf putting range and so on.

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