Luxury hotel owners risk defaulting on their debt as the recession cuts occupancies and the credit crunch constrains refinancing.

Loans secured by more than 1,500 hotels with a total outstanding balance of $24.5 billion may be in danger of default, according to Realpoint LLC, a credit rating company that tracks commercial mortgage-backed securities. Some of the biggest loans, which have been put on the Horsham, Pa., company's watch list because of late payments, decreasing occupancies or cash flow, were made to luxury properties where rooms can cost more than $850 a night.

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