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Plenty of Rooms Left for Olympics, for a Price
The Associated Press | April 09, 2012 | 08:51 PM EDT

The London hotel industry's promise, that it could provide several thousand hotel rooms at a variety of prices, was a crucial part of London's Olympic bid. The Olympic committee liked the fact that the city already had a wide range of hotels and was willing to build even more.

The new hotels being built reflect changing priorities.

The grand, old-fashioned hotels see themselves as meeting places. People visiting the city on vacation or on business can stay there and bump into locals who have stopped by after a shopping trip to have tea or celebrate a special birthday or other event.

The new wave of London hotels, meanwhile, specialize in keeping the public away. With Britain's economy still struggling, these new properties have been welcome investments, funded by businessmen from the Gulf states looking to create the kind of places they would like to stay.

"People from the Arab world feel at ease in London," said Gerald Lawless, executive chairman of the Jumeirah Group , the Dubai hotel group that is expanding its brand around the world. "They often studied in Britain as students and are very loyal to the city. They want places they visit often."

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