Bill Gates was recently thwarted in his bid to buy Venice’s historic Hotel Danieli. Undeterred, he turned his gaze to another location in Italy. In the end, Gates paid $170 million to convert a 17th-century Roman palace into Rome’s first six-star hotel through the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts group, of which he owns the lion’s share alongside the financier. Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud.
It’s called the Palazzo Marini, a huge complex adjacent to the famous Trevi Fountain, and Gates (via Four Seasons) has reportedly already placed a $21 million down payment on the property. The project will be to transform it into a luxury hotel with the Four Seasons brand.
Converting the four-block resort into a luxury Four Seasons hotel will be a major construction project, and it’s unclear when it’s expected to be completed. Described as a “real fix-up”, the palace has been occupied in recent years at street level by a pop-up Ikea retailer. It dates back to 1650, when it was started (but not completed) by a Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and has undergone too many reconstructions and renovations in the centuries since to list.
In 2016, the property was sold under ‘fire sale’ terms by Italian property tycoon Sergio Scarpellini, who was facing arrest on corruption charges at the time. A financial consortium seized it as part of a group of properties sold by Scarpellini, priced at a total of $800 million.
Converting the resort to a hotel would cost an additional $120 million, but when complete it will fill a void for top-tier hotels in the area, where existing hotels have been able to secure the best rental rates from the rich and famous in location reason. only.
Neither Gates nor Four Seasons have yet publicly commented on the project. But you can expect more press material as the hotel nears completion.