Finers Stephens Innocent has won Baglioni Hotels as a client, as the luxury Italian hotel chain makes its first foray into the UK market.

Baglioni has exchanged contracts with private property developer Tarhouse Management for the lease and development of a 68-room luxury hotel at 60 Hyde Park Gate, South Kensington – formerly the De Vere Park Hotel.

The hotel chain was referred to Finers by its regular Italian adviser Santilli Acernese Montesi. Both firms are members of the international alliance Meritas, although this is the first time that Finers has worked with Santilli, which joined the network earlier this year.

“We’re developing a very close relationship,” said Finers head of property Michael Kutner. “We’re working on a couple of other deals currently.” Kutner led the three-partner team advising on the deal.

The Baglioni hotels are at the top end of the luxury chain. Earlier this year the group bolstered its presence in France, purchasing three castles to develop into luxury hotels.

Tarhouse, which is headquartered overseas, was advised by two-partner South West London firm Woodroffes, which focuses largely on the hotel and leisure sector.

Woodroffes real estate partner Roger Brown has advised Tarhouse since its sale from private property development company Cola Holdings to an undisclosed purchaser in 2001.

Brown is a long-term adviser to Cola Holdings, which is run by the publicity-shy Iranian entrepreneur Bakir Cola, having acted on the initial purchase of the hotel in 1999.

Cola Holdings owns several London hotels, including the Westbury, Harrington Hall and the Kensington Posthouse, which it bought from the InterContinental Hotels Group last year.