A French Group Competes with Ifema to Resurrect Madrid’s Palacio de Congresos

2 January 2018 – El Confidencial

The French group GL Events (which manages more than 40 centres around the world specialising in business events, fairs and conferences) and Feria de Madrid (Ifema) are bidding hard to resurrect the abandoned ‘Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos’ in Madrid, located at number 99 Paseo de la Castellana, right opposite the Santiago Bernabeú stadium. In July, the French group notified Turespaña (which forms part of the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda) that it was willing to invest €40 million in a first phase to restore the property and make it viable in exchange for a 30-year concession.

GL Events has already met with experts from the Secretary of State for Tourism’s team and its Chairman is expected to travel from France to Madrid over the next few weeks to meet with the Secretary of State herself, Matilde Pastora Asían González. Nevertheless, sources close to El Confidencial have reported that Ifema (a consortium between the Town Hall of Madrid, the Community of Madrid, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Fundación Obra Social y Monte Piedad de Madrid) have taken the lead in this race and have already signed a pre-agreement with the Ministry of Tourism to invest more than the French firm has offered in exchange for managing the property for 50 years.

Madrid Foro Empresarial, which has been asking the public administrations to bring the complex back to life for some time now, given that the capital “needs more spaces to promote new fairs and conferences”, is now asking Turespaña “to convene an international public tender to allow the property to be managed by the best conference operator possible (…)”.

If Ifema does end up taking over the management of the property on Paseo de la Castellana, then it would have a monopoly on the Community of Madrid’s event, fair and conference spaces. Besides the exhibition halls that it already manages in Campo de las Naciones, Ifema has also signed another agreement with the capital’s Town Hall to operate the Palacio Municipal de Congresos, located right next to Ifema’s facilities, for 25 years (…).

In this way, Ifema would control all of the larges spaces in the capital: the exhibition halls, the municipal hall (‘el Palacio Municipal’) and the conference hall (‘el Palacio de Congresos’) on the Castellana. But as Marc Rodríguez, Director General of GL Events in Spain, (…) explained, his firm is still planning to present its proposal to operate the Madrilenian hall if a public tender is organised in the end. “We are a solvent financial operator with experience in the sector. Our construction project would last for 18 months and our initial investment would be €40 million”. The French group recorded revenues of €953 million in 2016 and employs almost 4,000 people. It also manages the Centro de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB), whose concession period ends in November 2021 (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by David Fernández)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Senator Buys Hotel Parque Central de Valencia From Sareb

21 July 2017 – Hosteltur

Senator Hotels & Resorts has purchased Parque Central Hotel de Valencia from Sareb. The chain has operated the establishment since 2010 under its urban Senator Hotels brand. It has also taken ownership of the property’s garage.

The hotel in question comprises 192 rooms and is located in the subsequent development of Parque Central de Valencia next to the AVE station, in a very central area and close to the city’s historical centre and shopping district.

The establishment also has meeting rooms with capacity for up to 1,100 people, which are ideal spaces for holding conferences and banquets.

Original story: Hosteltur

Translation: Carmel Drake

Oaktree Sells Hotel Dolce Sitges For €40M

3 July 2017 – Preferente

The US fund Oaktree Capital Management is going to sell the Hotel Dolce Sitges in Barcelona. Specialising in conferences and conventions, the establishment will now be taken over by Talus Real Estate, together with the US fund Angelo Gordon.

According to Expansión, the negotiations are already well advanced and the transaction is expected to be closed this week, for just over €40 million. Oaktree has been looking to sell this hotel for a year; it acquired the property in 2015.

Operated by Wyndham, the Hotel Dolce Sitges opened its doors in October 2004. It specialises in the MICE segment (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), as well as in high-end holiday tourism.

The 5-star property has 263 rooms, a spa and fitness centre. It also has four outdoor pools and one indoor pool, as well as 2,175 m2 of space dedicated to meeting and conference rooms, spread over 38 meeting rooms and an amphitheatre.

This operation comes shortly after Iberdrola Inmobiliaria sold 55% of the Hotel Hilton Diagonal Mar in Barcelona to Axa Investment Managers Real Assets for €80 million.

The area of Barcelona where this latest hotel is situated, Sitges, has more than 5,000 hotel beds and is enjoying a boom as a tourist destination, following several recent operations, such as HI Partners’ acquisition of Hotel Terramar and Leo Messi’s recent purchase of the boutique Hotel Mim.

Original story: Preferente (by R. P.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Messi Buys Hotel Avenida Sofia In Sitges For €30M

8 June 2017 – Expansión

Leo Messi wants to take advantage of the strong performance of the tourism sector and has purchased a 4-star superior hotel in the town of Sitges (Barcelona). FC Barcelona’s striker has paid around €30 million for the building, which has 77 rooms and he has engaged the Majestic Group to manage the establishment. None of the parties involved wanted to confirm the operation, which has been completed with the utmost discretion.

The hotel, recently renamed MiM, is located two roads back from the sea, very close to the beach and to Sitges’ seafront. Specifically, it can be found at number 12 Avenida Sofía, behind Hotel Calípolis and the top floor terrace looks out over the sea. In high season, rooms at the Hotel MiM go for between €250 and €300 per night.

Close to the sea

The town of Sitges, which primarily receives leisure tourists, but which also hosts business meetings, conferences and conventions, is located around 40 km from Barcelona. It is precisely due to its proximity to the Catalan capital and the beach that this coast has been chosen by several football players for their primary residences, including by Leo Messi himself. The Barça star lives in the neighbouring town of Castelldefels, very close to other teammates such as Luis Suárez.

The hotel that Messi has purchased in Sitges was constructed in 2013 and belonged to a local businessman, Francisco Sánchez, who owns other hotels in this tourist town. Until now, the property operated under the name of Avenida Sofía and was managed directly by the previous owner. The property has 77 rooms, including 5 junior suites and one superior suite. It has 300 m2 of meeting rooms, a spa with a hydrotherapy circuit, cabins for couples and oxygen treatments and a rooftop terrace with a swimming pool, bar and panoramic views.

FC Barcelona’s striker recently constituted a new company to invest in hotels and apartments under the name Rosotel. According to the Commercial Registry, in April, the holdling company that channels Leo Messi’s investments, Limecu España 2010, created Explotaciones Rosotel, with the corporate purpose of “operating businesses relating to the hospitality sector, in particular, the management of bars and restaurants, and the acquisition, sale and ownership of hotels and apartments”. The sole administrator of this new company is Limecu, whose president is Leo Messi himself and whose sole administrator is his brother Rodrigo.

This is not Messi’s first investment in the Catalan real estate sector, given that the player already owns the Rostower Building, in El Eixample, Barcelona.

Meanwhile, the family chain that will be responsible for operating the establishment has many years of experience in the hotel sector. The Majestic Group operates six hotel establishments in total, located in Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and now Sitges, as well as two tourist apartment buildings and six restaurants. Last year, the chain recorded revenues of €44 million, up by 5% compared to the previous year (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés and Sergi Saborit)

Translation: Carmel Drake

STR: Spain’s Hotels Are The Most Profitable In The World

7 November 2016 – Hosteltur

Spain’s hotel industry is one of the most profitable in the world, according to Javier Serrano, Director of STR for Spain and Portugal, who was speaking at a conference entitled “Marketing hotels in the digital age”, organised by the ITH (Technological Hotel Institute). Proof of this comes from the double digit increases in RevPar (revenue per available room) seen during the first nine months of 2016 in the main Spanish capitals, with the exception of Barcelona (+8.9%) and Marbella (+8.2%), which are already well established markets.

According to Javier Serrano, behind these significant increases we find “the strong behaviour of groups, both in the vacation and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) sectors. Certain destinations, such as Zaragoza, are really benefitting from increased demand from groups. Zaragoza saw a RevPar increase of 20.5% during the first nine months of the year, thanks to the city’s initiative to reuse its old pavilions, built for the Expo, to host these meetings”.

Another contributing factor has been a change in strategy by many of the Chinese airlines, which have increased the frequency of their flights to the Peninsula. They are attracted by the safety of Spain as a destination, given that, according to the Head of STR in Spain and Portugal “the US and Chinese markets are more sensitive to security concerns”.

Meanwhile, the two island groups (the Balearic and Canary Islands), which have seen RevPar increases of between 15% and 17% “are also benefitting from higher demand (diverted from competing destinations currently suffering from political instability) and from the recovery in domestic tourism, together with the low price of oil, which is boosting transport”.

STR’s data reveals that during the first nine months of 2016, the RevPar of Spain’s hotels increased by 13.4% to reach €82.21, driven by an increase in the ADR (average daily rate), which rose by 8.5% to €109.38, and by a rise in occupancy rates, which grew by 4.5% with respect to the same period last year – a record high, according to Serrano, of 75.7%.

The recovery of Madrid

In terms of its average occupancy rate, Madrid has managed to surpass the magic number of 70% in 2016 and now has an average occupancy of 70.4%, up by 3.4% compared to last year, according to the Director of STR, “which means that establishments in the city can now play around more with prices”. Not surprisingly, the ADR in Madrid has increased by 7.1% to €97.29 and the RevPar has also increased by 10.7% to €69.46.

In this way, the capital is recovering as a city break destination, with figures returning to their pre-crisis levels, above all in the case of low-end and mid-range hotels, which, together with the luxury segment, are seeing the most activity. In 2015, Madrid surpassed Barcelona as the primary urban destination for hotel investment, although “investors’ interest in Spain has slowed somewhat in recent months due to the absence of a stable Government. As a result, demand has increased whilst supply has remained almost stable, which has benefitted those properties already in operation. (…).

Original story: Hosteltur

Translation: Carmel Drake

Leonardo Hotels Buys Its Third Establishment In Madrid

29 September 2016 – Hosteltur

Leonardo Hotels is continuing its expansion in the Spanish capital with the acquisition of its third hotel, the Gran Atlanta Madrid, which will be incorporated into its portfolio from 30 September. According to Hosteltur, Gran Atlanta will join two other properties that the largest group in Israel bought in July. The Gran Atlanta Hotel is a four-star property and has 180 rooms, as well as five meeting rooms, with capacity for up to 100 people, and a restaurant.

A determining factor in the acquisition of the hotel has been its prime location, right in the heart of the financial and business district of the city. It is close to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and is well-connected by public transport, both in terms of local trains (Cercanías) and the Metro, which allow guests to travel quickly from Nuevos Ministerios to the centre or to the airport in just 15 minutes.

The Hotel Gran Atlanta Madrid will retain its current name until the renovation work has been completed. The refurbishment is due to take place between April and the autumn of 2017, when the property will adopt the Leonardo Hotels brand name. The international law firm Hogan Lovells has provided legal advice once again in an operation that has been advised by Planet Hotels & Resorts.

According to the Director General of Leonardo Hotels for Europe, Daniel Roger, “the decision to acquire another property in Madrid was not hard when we found the Hotel Gran Atlanta. Our success is based on our strategy of owning several hotels in Europe’s major cities and on the synergies that that approach generates. Naturally, the building’s potential and its excellent location have also been decisive factors.

The firm now has five hotels in the Spanish market, two in Barcelona (Leonardo Hotels made its debut in Barcelona with the Boutique Hotel Sagrada Familia) and three in Madrid. Roger added, “this represents a boost, in a short period of time, which makes our offer even more attractive and allows us to develop and strengthen our position in Spain ever further. We will continue our growth soon with more acquisitions here (in Spain) as well as in other countries in Europe”.

Leonardo Hotels is the European division of the Fattal Hotels Group, founded by David Fattal in Israel. It has operated in the European market since 2007 and owns more than 65 establishments in the superior 3-star and superior 4-star categories in more than 35 cities aross the continent, in countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the UK, Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands. In total, its properties have more than 10,000 rooms and 20,500 sqm of space for meetings and conferences.

Original story: Hosteltur

Translation: Carmel Drake

Refurb Of ‘Palacio de Congresos’ Will Cost €90M

13 October 2015 – Cinco Días

Turespaña, which forms part of the Ministry of Industry, has now prepared a feasibility study for the renovation of the Palacio de Congresos de la Castellana. It calculates that the project will cost €90 million and it lowers the height of the adjoining luxury hotel.

The Ministry of Industry calculates that the building work to renovate the Palacio de Congresos de la Castellana in Madrid, and to construct a new hotel with more than 200 rooms, will cost around €90 million and will take approximately three years to complete, whereby generating subsequent employment (directly and indirectly) for more than 600 people.

Those are the findings of the feasibility study that Spain’s Institute of Tourism (el ‘Instituto de Turismo de España’ or Turespaña) has made available for public consultation over the next two months (until 7 December). Its intention is to convince potential investors, which will have to cover the construction costs of the project, in exchange for a concession to operate the complex, about the benefits of the project.

The venue first opened its doors in 1971 and closed them for the last time at the end of 2012, after shortcomings were detected in terms of fire safety and general security, which forced it to undertake a comprehensive renovation of the building. Nevertheless, Turespaña acknowledged that it did not have sufficient funds to undertake this investment and that it must turn to the private sector.

The project will be awarded as a 40-year concession agreement, with an annual fee of approximately €1.25 million. According to the document, the work to construct the new five-star hotel will cost almost €22 million. The Ministry of Industry expects that a new 17-storey tower will house the luxury hotel (six floors less than initially envisaged by the public body). The project must retain the building’s main façade, as well as the façade that looks onto the Paseo de la Castellana, which has displayed a Joan Miró mural since 1980 – the mural is expected to be restored at a cost of €450,000.

Five-star hotel

The aim is to have a five-star hotel with 180 double rooms and 36 junior suites, as well as an executive lounge, gymnasium, swimming pool complex and spa.

The document also includes a forecast for investors about the future operating profits of the complex – it predicts an EBITDA of €7.88 million in the fifth year – the first four years relate to the development phase – and an EBITDA of up to €16.78 million in the final year of the concession. (…).

The next step to be taken by whoever wins the public concession will be to request a building permit from the Town Hall.

Madrid has great potential

The Executive encourages potential investors to participate in the project thanks to Madrid’s “significant growth potential” in the area of business tourism. It also presents other arguments in favour of the project, such as the proximity of the site to the Santiago Bernabéu stadium and the lack of other five-star hotels in the capital, where the Four Seasons hotel chain is hoping to open a hotel in the Canalejas Complex that OHL is currently building.

The Government’s hypothesis is that 65% of the revenues will be generated from conventions, meetings and exhibitions, compared with 20% from the business segment, 8.5% from social events and a further 6.5% from overnight weekend visitors or extended stays following congresses or conferences.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake