26 October 2015 – Expansión
HI Partners, a subsidiary of Banco Sabadell, and Axel Hotels, have joined forces to open the first hotel in Madrid aimed at the LGBT community. The hotel will be located at number 49 on Calle Atocha, in a building owned by the bank that has a surface area of 5,375 m2. The financial institution will invest between €9 million and €10 million to convert the property into a 4-star hotel with 87 rooms.
The hotel chain Axel Hotels, owned by the Julià family, will sign a management contract with HI Partners, and will take care of marketing the establishment, which is expected to open in June 2017, just in time for World Pride Madrid.
The property on Calle Atocha is a historic protected building. It used to contain homes and now Sabadell, which repossessed it during the crisis, will renovate it for use as a hotel. (…).
In May, Sabadell transferred ownership of a portfolio of 22 hotels (1,600 rooms in total) located all over Spain to this company. Moreover, HI Partners manages €800 million of the bank’s hotel debt. The entity’s objective is to actively manage the properties that it has acquired through repossessions and to become one of the leading companies in the Spanish market for hotel management and investment.
The opening of Hotel Axel in Madrid is one example of the type of operations that Sabadell is launching to generate returns from its properties. HI Partners, led by Enric Rovira, is also involved in the improvement and management of hotels in its portfolio. The company is owned jointly by the bank (99%) and the management team (1%), comprising Alejandro Hernández-Puértolas, Sergio Carrascosa and Santiago Fisas. The three businessmen have extensive experience in the hotel sector, having worked for Reig Capital – the company that owns the Mandarin Hotel in Barcelona – and for companies such as MedGroup, Soros Real Estate, Stein Group and Westwing.
A desirable destination
Axel Hotels has been trying to enter the Madrid market for several years, as it sought to build on the success it has had in Barcelona, Berlin and Gran Canaria. (…). According to Juan Julià, the President of the company, Axel Madrid will be the first hotel in the capital directed specifically at the LGBT community. “There are hotels in Chueca that receive LGBT customers due to their locations, but they are gay friendly hotels; we define ourselves as hetero friendly”.
The hotel chain, which opened its first hotel in 2003, operates four establishments, with an average occupancy rate of 97%. “We operate destination hotels and have a very loyal client base”, says the owner of Axel. The company expects to generate turnover of €12.5 million in 2015, up by 20%, thanks to the opening of its second hotel in Barcelona. In the Catalan capital, the prices of Axel’s rooms range between €105 and €120; in Berlin, the average price is €90; and in Playa del Inglés, it is €70. The objective is to market Axel Madrid with average room rates of between €105 and €110, revealed Julià.
Original story: Expansión (by Sergi Saborit)
Translation: Carmel Drake