Hospitality, entertainment and lifestyle group Eden Leisure has teamed up with hospitality entrepreneur Mark Weingard to bring Anantara, a luxury hotel brand, to Malta, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Eden Leisure Group is owned by the De Cesare family, who have, together with Mr Weingard, submitted the highest bid to take over the Evans Building in Valletta. The concession is meant to see the renovation of the building into a top hospitality establishment, with the aim of attracting more tourism activity to the lower end of capital.
The parties involved have yet to confirm any details about the deal.
Eden Leisure is behind a number of brands like Eden Cinemas, Eden SuperBowl, Cynergi Gym, Eden Esports, a radio station (89.7 Bay), a casino (Casino Malta) and two hotels – the InterContinental Malta and the Holiday Inn Express.
Mr Weingard is the founder of Iniala Group, a group of hospitality companies with luxury offerings in Thailand and Malta.
The Thai connection might have been crucial to this deal – Anantara is a high-end hotel brand finding its beginnings in Thailand. It forms part of Minor Hotels, a company based in Thailand operating over 500 hotels around the world.
The joint venture, named Valletta Luxury Properties, put in a bid worth €78 million – far higher than the second-highest bid by Katari Hospitality Joint Venture, which came in at €41 million.
Last week, it was the Katari bid that was reported to be the highest.
However, it has since been reported that Valletta Luxury Properties’ bid was for the amount to be paid annually (€1.2 million). When calculated over the full term of the concession period (65 years), the total comes to €78 million.