fb-pixel Skip to main content

Hilton offers record bid for Mandarin Oriental

The entrance to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Hilton Worldwide wants to buy the Mandarin Oriental in the Back Bay at a price that would smash records for a Boston hotel.

The Virginia-based hotel giant submitted the high bid to buy the Mandarin: $140 million, according to court filings Monday. That’s just shy of $1 million per room.

The deal is not final. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, the Hong Kong-based company that operates the hotel, has the right to make a competing offer. But Hilton’s bid sets a high floor on the price, and raises the prospect of a new brand name for one of Boston’s swankiest hotels, where rooms this weekend start at $595 per night.


Since 2008 the Mandarin has been owned by Anglo Irish Bank Corp., which collapsed during the financial crisis. The Irish government, which is selling off its US assets through a federal bankruptcy court in Delaware, held a three-day auction for the Mandarin last week in Chicago. The 14-story building on Boylston Street also houses 85 condominiums and apartments, which are privately-owned and not part of the Anglo Irish sell-off.

The sale comes as prices for trophy real estate assets in Boston are surging, and as hotel rates here hit record highs. Combine those two forces, and a “bona fide five-star hotel” is an attractive asset, said Jack Levy, senior vice president for finance at Pyramid Hotel Group, a Boston investment and management corporation.

“Boston is getting a lot of visibility from the international community,” Levy said. “It has really come on the radar for hotels.”

A Mandarin spokeswoman said “business as usual” continues for now, though it was not immediately clear what the deal would mean for the hotel’s future.

The company has a long-term agreement to operate the hotel, which gives it 30 days to match Hilton’s offer. Mandarin is “considering the terms,” the spokeswoman said. Should Mandarin choose not to buy, Hilton would be in position to close the deal, likely early next year. It could then choose to keep Mandarin as the operator or re-flag the hotel with one of its own brands, likely a Waldorf Astoria or a Conrad, Levy said.


“They’ve been dying to put a Waldorf in this town,” Levy said, though he noted that buying out Mandarin’s contract to manage the hotel could be costly. “It would surprise me if they’d want to spend that kind of money and not have their own brand.”

A Hilton spokesman declined to comment.

At just under $946,000 per room for the 148-room hotel, the $140 million deal would be the richest hotel purchase in Boston history.

Last year, an arm of the investment bank Morgan Stanley bought out Blackstone Group LP’s interest in the Boston Harbor Hotel as part of a larger deal that valued the hotel at nearly $724,000 a room. Also last year, a Maryland group bought the Revere Hotel and a neighboring garage on Stuart Street for about $731,000 a room.

Hilton Worldwide submitted the high bid to buy the Mandarin: $140 million, according to court filings Monday. That’s just shy of $1 million per room. George Apostolidis

Tim Logan can be reached at tim.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bytimlogan.