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I don't know much about the economics of hotels but wouldn't the prices have been more attractive during the recession compared to today?

Indeed. And for all they have a reputation as great value investors, Jim Tisch and friends sat on a pile of cash during the greatest real estate buying opportunity of the last thirty years. There's a lot to be said for the "great business at a fair price" model -- not least in terms of opportunity costs.

As you say, hotels are a small part of the equation. CNA is a far bigger millstone. I mean asset.
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