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Bill Gates bid to buy Venice hotel blocked after outcry

BILLIONhe hotel Danieli on VeniceThe Grand Canal is the symbol of elegant but troublesome city. The marble floors and façades of the oldest hotel in Venice were damaged by frequent beatings aqua alta, or high floodwaters flood the foyer several times a year. Water stains on the legs of the grand piano in the main floor bar and scratches on the polished surface from where staff quickly packed the furniture when salty floodwaters flooded in.

The hotel has been in business for over 200 years, has been the setting of countless films, including two James Bond films (Moonraker and Casino Royale) and has been the setting of countless high-value events. The paparazzi always seem to know who is hiding in the luxurious private suites. This is a quintessential Venice locale in a city where locals are fed up with foreigners buying landmarks. More than 70% of residential real estate is now owned by foreigners, which has pushed many Venetians to actually leave. While operated by the Marriott Luxury Collection, Danieli is owned by the Giuseppe Statuto Group. (Unfortunately, Giuseppe spent some time under house arrest after some legal trouble regarding what appeared to be a fake bankruptcy filing, which was later deleted.)

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So when news broke last week that Bill Gates and Saudi Crown Prince Al-Walid bin Talal would soon be leading a much-needed renovation through a 30 million euro deal to move the hotel. history from the Marriott Luxury Collection brand to their Four Seasons in 2024, raised eyebrows. They didn’t even hire an Italian to direct the pieces, instead it was French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, who began sketching out the new look for the glittering refurbishment.

Last week, rumors that one of the most prestigious landmarks in Venice would soon be in the hands of Americans, Saudis and French were met with scorn. The city’s tourism department has petitioned Made in Italy businesses to rescue the riverfront hotel, which is one of the first things visitors see when their water taxi arrives in St. Mark.

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Then a sudden announcement was made that Giuseppe Statuto Group would retain ownership after a sudden bond loan of €330 million was approved. Statuto confirmed the deal with the Daily Beast, boasting that it also spent 30 million euros on the renovation, but that the upgrade would be done by an Italian designer.

A representative for the Statuto Group told The Daily Beast that Gates’ Four Seasons now manages Statuto’s prestigious Mandarin in Milan and the San Domenico Palace in Taormina – these works remain firmly in the developer’s inventory. Italian produce. But following the negative reaction, Danieli will not be managed by the Four Seasons team. Four Seasons did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.

Venice, which before the pandemic suffered from overtourism powered by cruise ships and budget airlines, has seen a resurgence during the pandemic as many wealthy Venetians have left to hide from the crowd has returned to enjoy the city being closed. Many of them are now involved in saving the city by supporting initiatives to bring the Venetians back to Venice. Jane da Mosto, who runs the NGO “We Are Venice” that has worked to convince tourist entities in Venice to incorporate sustainable tourism into their post-pandemic plans, hopes the The drop in tourism due to the draconian containment at the start of the pandemic will have resulted in profound change. “We need to rebalance the economy in terms of ecology and rediscover what Venice is really like,” she told The Daily Beast. “Instead, we could squander the opportunity to reinvent this city.”

The face of Venice has changed dramatically in the two years since the legendary Carnival celebrations were canceled as COVID-19 swept through Italy as the first epicenter outside of China. The small jewelry stores are mostly closed, and the Airbnb owner is now renting them out to students and families as travel is still slow. Adding to the misery — and surprise for those who appreciate quieter Venice — the huge cruise ships have been barred from docking in the city and forced to anchor on land, which has caused some The company gave up on Venice.

To be fair, Danieli has never catered to a fast travel group with rooms starting at $550 and going up to over $2,000 for executive suites with Grand Canal views. But Venice’s shrinking population shows a sense of ownership in all its landmarks and has managed to keep some historic buildings in Italian hands. Italy is the only European country with more than a million hotel rooms with less than five percent owned by large companies. The rest tend to be family businesses passed down through generations. Even the big luxury hotels tend to be topped and largely Italian-owned.

As the pandemic hit, many political parties worked to pump money into the luxury tourism sector – especially hotels – out of fear foreign investors would come in and buy major hotel properties. supply is scarce. “Many institutional investors are looking for hotels in Italy but demand is more than availability,” Bernabò Bocca, president of the national association of hotel owners, Federalberghi, told The Daily Beast.

As a result of enthusiastic petitioning, the government launched a state-backed €2 billion fund to rescue properties should their Italian owners stagnate and eventually go bankrupt. sell them back to their owners when the time is better. But Bocca doesn’t believe expats like Gates should shut down if the alternative stops working. “I don’t think it’s a tragedy if international investors buy hotels in Italy, as long as the work stays here, which they do in the hotel,” Bocca said. As for Gates owning a Danieli, Bocca seemed content to not speculate. “It’s not happening so what can I say?”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/bill-gates-bid-to-buy-venice-hotel-blocked-after-outcry?source=articles&via=rss Bill Gates bid to buy Venice hotel blocked after outcry

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