A keen Brexiter, he also hopes to break into the US and is in the middle of “quite a lot of conversations” about his worldwide push, he added. But this is not the first time the 73-year-old tycoon, a fixture of London’s social scene, has made such declarations. In 2014, he set the same target after Cassa Deposite e Prestiti, the Italian state lender, agreed to inject £60m into the business in return for a 23 per cent stake. At the time, the group had 10 hotels.
It now has 11. The launch of a property in Jeddah in 2016 was the group’s first opening in seven years. This year it will open Hotel De La Ville in Rome, at the top of the Spanish steps. Next year, it plans openings in Puglia in southern Italy and in Shanghai, its first foray into Asia.