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London's famous Harrods to lend its name to luxury hotel brand

July 10, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Harrods department store in tony Knightsbridge shines as a London tourist spot, but will Harrods hotels be as popular?

Qatar Holding, which owns the department store that opened in 1849, recently announced plans to launch Harrods hotels in London, Malaysia, New York and Paris. "Qatar Holding ultimately intends to grow Harrods into a global enterprise that defines the luxury retail and leisure sectors," the company said in a statement. "Preference will be given to construct on sites already owned by Qatar Holding or its affiliates," the statement said, including London's Chelsea Barracks in the City of Westminster.

Qatar Holding also said it was partnering with developer Jerantas to the tune of about $627 million to build a Harrods Hotel in Bukit Bintang, the food and shopping area of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Besides Malaysia, the holding company, which is part of the country's investment authority, already decided to build on a site in Sardinia, Italy.

It's not the first time the Harrods name has been branded. According to Harrods website, the name is affixed to Air Harrods (not athletic shoes, but a VIP helicopter charter service), Harrods Estates real estate office, Harrods Bank and Harrods Aviation, which provides aircraft handling services.

Harrods was started by Charles Henry Harrod who was a grocer and tea merchant. Qatar Holding bought it two years ago.

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