side view of the Claremont Resort & Spa
The Claremont Hotel & Resort is being bought by the Fairmont hotel group. Photo: Paula Steele

Update 1/29: The general manager of the Claremont Resort sent out the following email Tuesday night confirming that a sale of the hotel is in progress:

“The Claremont’s owner has entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with FRHI (The Fairmont/Raffles Hotels International group) and their Capital Partners.  It is expected that FRHI will complete the transaction on/about February 27, 2014.  The Claremont will become a Fairmont managed property at that time.”

Sincerely, Bruce Carlton
General Manager

Original story: A hotel chain that owns the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and many luxury resorts around the world will acquire the Claremont Hotel and Spa, according to internal Claremont Hotel communications and numerous employees.

FRHI Hotels and Resorts, a Toronto, Canada based chain owned by investors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, will take complete possession of the resort by Feb. 28, according to the memo, which was obtained by Berkeleyside. FRHI (Fairmont Raffles Hotels International) also owns the Raffles chain, (the Raffles in Singapore is considered its flagship hotel) and the Swiss hotel chain, Swissôtel.

“This will be the first time in about a decade that the Claremont will be owner-managed, rather than being a part of a big financial portfolio and managed by an outside management company (i.e. Interestate and Pyramid),” a top fitness manager wrote in a Jan. 22 email to the fitness staff. “They seek out unique properties like ours and understand what is entailed in taking care of them.”

The manager called the sale “exciting news.”

FRHI officials declined to comment on news that it had acquired the Claremont. The deal has not yet closed, according to the memo.

The 279-room Claremont, which was listed for sale for $80 million in May 2013, has changed hands numerous times in recent years. Its most recent owner was the Government of Singapore Investment Group (GIC). It obtained the Claremont and other resorts from the Paulson & Co. group in December 2012 for $1.5 billion.

While the new owners have not yet announced their plans for the gleaming white resort, The Berkeley Wine Festival produced by the Claremont, which was meant to kick off on March 1, has been canceled, according to a source, and the event’s website has been taken down.

It remains to be seen if FRHI will change the name to Fairmont Claremont Hotel. Its other hotels all have an affiliation with the three main brands, Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel.

FRHI has been expanding rapidly and has already announced plans to open seven hotels with 1,300 rooms in 2014, according to press reports. These include two hotels opening in Sochi, Russia in time for the 2014 Winter Olympic games.

The Claremont Hotel opened in 1915. It has a Berkeley mailing address, although most of the property is in Oakland.

Claremont Resort may go up for auction in November (10.19.12)
Investment group puts Claremont resort up for sale [05.23.12)
Claremont files for bankruptcy, operations unaffected [02.02.11]

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...