The Qatar Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani bought the Four Seasons of Florence from the brothers Marcello and Corrado Fratini of the Fingen Group. The emir has already bought four luxury hotels in the Emerald Coast and the fashion house Valentino. The operation is worth 150 million euros.
In 2013, Italy had the third largest hotel market in the world according to Italy’s National Institute for Statistics. After the great recession of 2008, Italy struggled to get its occupancy rates up but saw a 3.8% increase in 2011 according to STR Global. A slight dip in RevPAR in 2012 saw another rise in 2013 due to domestic travel. This increase in travel and hotel occupancy has spurred the growth of the number of hotels, especially in the upscale and upper-upscale categories, which often have more rooms than one and two star hotels. Since 2014, international arrivals have increased by 5% and are predicted to overtake domestic travel in the coming years. This international travel is partially due to disorder in Northern Africa which is rerouting many tourists to parts of southern Italy like Sicily and Apulia. With new sophisticated tourists, the number of chains/branded hotels has also increased. In May of 2015 it was estimated there were over 5,000 branded rooms added to the market over the past three years. Many of these rooms are in the luxury and upper-upscale segments in the south and the midscale to luxury segments in northern cities like Milan. These additional rooms, according to Real Capital Analytics, have been a part of over €775 million in new transactions. Included in that figure is Villa Vignamaggio (pictured), in a province of Florence, which was sold at €970,000. It is predicted then number of rooms in tourism-driven cities like Roman, Venice, Florence, and Milan will continue to grow over the next few years.