M A Yusuff Ali
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M A Yusuff Ali, a brief timeline
2018: buys The Caledonian, Edinburgh
Retail mogul and richest Indian in the Middle East, M A Yusuff Ali, has acquired the iconic Scottish hotel The Caledonian in Edinburgh for $117 million (Rs 750 crore) — as the founder of Lulu Group expands aportfolio of luxury hospitality assets across Europe, Arabian Gulf and India.
The acquisition of the 241-room property, which is operated by Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, is the second marquee deal by Yusuff Ali after he paid $160 million to buy Great Scotland Yard, the former home of the Metropolitan Police of London, converting it into a five-star heritage hotel. Lulu Group’s hospitality investment arm Twenty14 Holdings (T14H) has spent more than $650 million in the recent past to build a collection of luxury hotels in the UK, Middle East and Kerala.
Adeeb Ahamed, son-in-law of Yusuff Ali and managing director of T14H, commented, “We are excited to add The Caledonian to the portfolio of Twenty14 Holdings.” An imposing building in Edinburgh’s landscape, The Caledonian also boasts of Pompadour by Galvin and Galvin Brasserie de Luxe — two restaurants operated by Michelin-starred brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin. It also houses the only Guerlain spa in the UK.
The 61-year-old self-made billionaire, Yusuff Ali, with an estimated worth of $4.5 billion, which makes him the fifth richest Indian in the Forbes List, built a retail empire through Lulu Hypermarkets. The group, with revenue topping $7 billion, has diversified its business interests to include commercial real estate and hospitality among others.
“The group’s strategy is to invest in profitable British luxury properties with legacy and The Caledonian is an ideal fit,” Ahamed said.
T14H plans to invest a further $27.5 million in the hotel. With acquisition completed, it now plans to engage local craftsmen to enhance the hotel’s historic Caledonian suites. Lulu’s hospitality unit coowns Sheraton Oman Hotel in Muscat, a 230-room five-star hotel opened in 2016, and fully owns the Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay, a five-star property in Dubai. It also owns four hotels in Kochi.