The owner of Chateau Cantenac Brown has received preliminary permission to turn part of the chateau into a luxury hotel.

Plans lodged with Margaux town hall reveal that owner Simon Halabi, a Syrian-born British investor, intends to open a four star hotel with 102 bedrooms, including 11 suites.

Part of the hotel will comprise the existing structure – with its red brick exterior that has been famously compared to an English boarding school. The other part will be a new addition. There will be a restaurant on the current terrace area, as well as a pool, spa and gym, reception area for 500, and a smaller bar/café.

José Sanfins, director of Cantenac Brown, was unwilling to elaborate further.

‘The plans have not been finalised and will inevitably be subject to change,’ he told decanter.com. ‘We prefer to talk about this when it is reality, not speculation.’

Halabi bought the property in 2006 from AXA Millesimes, owners of Chateau Pichon Baron in Pauiilac and Chateau Suduiraut in Sauternes.

Halabi’s holdings include the Shard of Glass building on London Bridge and Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire, which he is planning to turn into the UK’s first six star hotel. He ranks 194 on Forbes Billionaire List 2007, and his personal value is estimated at around £3bn (US$5.97bn).

Written by Jane Anson