KKH Sells the Future Hotel Edition in Madrid for €220M

12 December 2018 – Expansión

The Malaysian group YTL Corporation is going to formalise the acquisition of the building when it opens, in 2020. The fund is also selling the Hotel Edition in Barcelona to a group from the Middle East.

Hotels in Madrid and Barcelona are continuing to attract stratospheric investments, encouraged by the appetite of investors for Spanish property and the strong performance of tourism in the two cities. The latest to close a million-euro operation is the fund KKH Property Investors, headquartered in Barcelona, which has agreed to sell the five-star hotel that it is building in the former headquarters of Monte de Piedad, in the centre of Madrid. The buyer is the Malaysian group YTL Corporation, which is going to pay €220 million for the property when the hotel is inaugurated, at the end of 2020.

On the other hand, KKH has also sold another five-star hotel in Barcelona, for around €80 million to a group from the Middle East whose name has not been revealed. The two have operating agreements with the US chain Marriott, through its brand Edition.

KKH Property Investors is an alliance between KKH Capital, founded by the former CEO of Renta Corporación, Josep Maria Farré, and the funds Perella Weinberg Real Estate Fund I, Perella Weinberg Real Estate Fund II and PW Real Estate Fund III, advised by Aermont Capital LLP. The joint venture, created in 2014, has an investment budget of €500 million.

The fund’s strategy is based on the search for prime locations in Spain, the construction of five-star hotels, the agreement with major international chains and the sale of the asset once it has been inaugurated. Since its creation four years ago, the fund has planned numerous investment and divestment operations.

Luxury hotels

The two hotels that have been sold by KKH share the fact that they have been designed by the architect Carlos Ferrater, they are both five-star establishments and they will both be integrated into the Edition chain.

In the case of the hotel in Madrid, whose operation will be effective from the end of 2020 (…), it will have a surface area of 25,000 m2 spread over seven above-ground storeys and two basement floors (…).

The future Hotel Edition in Madrid, located just 200 metres from the Plaza del Sol, will have 200 rooms and suites, and like the other establishments in the brand, will place a great emphasis on design and on the restaurant offering. It is expected to have six restaurants and will result in the creation of 400 jobs (…).

In Barcelona

In the Catalan capital, KKH Property has followed a similar pattern. In that case, the divestment, agreed a while ago, has already been formalised, given that the hotel was inaugurated in September (…).

The hotel in Barcelona has 100 rooms and employs 230 people directly. Investment in the hotel exceeded €50 million.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lugo’s Only 5-Star Hotel Goes up for Auction for c. €5M

16 May 2018 – El Confidencial

It has been closed for four years and weeds are spreading uncontrollably across the estate. The only luxury five-star hotel in Lugo has gone up for auction for just over €5 million – the auction price includes the hotel’s furniture and a chapel in two separate lots – as part of the liquidation plan that is being followed since Mercantile Court number 12 of Madrid ruled against its owner, Alvaher 98. That company purchased the property in 2007 and built on the ruins of what used to be the Palacio del Conde de Lemos. Alberto Vázquez wanted to turn around his business activity, which focused on meat products and recover this historical and artistic gem, which originally belonged to the López de Lemos family and which had been abandoned since the beginning of the 20th century.

The bidding has now concluded with a single bidder offering €2.4 million for the hotel, below the €4.7 million auction price. As such, we will have to wait and see whether the court authorises the sale or not, given that it would not cover the debt. Meanwhile, in the other lots, €60,000 has been offered for the furniture, compared with an auction value of €450,000, and €6,000 has been offered for the chapel, above the auction value of almost €1,800.

The Hotel Palacio de Sober, whose refurbishment cost several million euros – most of which came from public funds – is also the oldest civil architecture building in Galicia, the largest estate in the autonomous region, and its chapel dates back to the 7th century. A year ago, the same court opened a sales process for possible interested parties to bid, and although several companies expressed their interest, no firm offer was submitted. Now, as part of the liquidation process of the owner company, its fate is being put to the test through a public auction (…).

The property has several financial charges, including a mortgage in favour of the Galician Institute for Economic Development (‘Instituto Galego de Promoción Económica’ or Igape), the public entity that backed the project to open the hotel at the time through loans and subsidies, as well as embargoes for non-payments to the Social Security department.

Located in the south of the province of Lugo in a natural setting, 10km from Monforte de Lemos and 38 km from Ourense, it opened its newly renovated doors in 2010 (…). It had 43 super-luxury rooms, all of which measure more than 25 m2 (…).

The price per room used to cost no less than €300 per night for the cheapest rooms, whilst sleeping in one of the suites cost upwards of €750 (…).

At the beginning of 2012, just two years after its inauguration (…), the Palacio de Sober stopped receiving guests and it definitively closed its doors in March 2014 (…). In February 2015, the owner company was declared bankrupt (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

HI Partners Acquires Remaining 50.1% of Hotel Abama in Tenerife

12 March 2018 – Expansión

HI Partners has been making its first acquisitions since being taken over by Blackstone Real Estate. Banco Sabadell’s former hotel holding company has taken ownership of 100% of Hotel Abama Golf & Spa de Tenerife after acquiring the 50.1% share capital that it did not yet control from the Polanco family.

The company led by Alejandro Hernández Puértolas already purchased 49.9% of the luxury Canarian tourist resort from Tropical Hoteles – a subsidiary of the Polanco’s investment group, Timón – a year ago, and has now become its sole owner.

Luxurious five-star resort

Ritz Carlton is going to continue managing the establishment, which has a luxury five-star rating and 461 rooms, of which 148 are villas. Located in the town of Guía de Isora, the resort was designed by Melvin Villarroel. It spans a surface area of 90,000 m2 and has a two-starred Michelin restaurant run by the chef Martín Berasategui.

HI Partners, which Blackstone acquired last year for €630 million, owns 16 hotels comprising 4,684 rooms, which are operated by chains such as Ritz-Carlton, AC by Marriot, Lopesan and Meliá.

Original story: Expansión (by S. Saborit)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid Gets Ready for the Opening of 2,000 Luxury Hotel Rooms

7 January 2018 – Expansión

The hotel market in Madrid is enjoying a happy time. After years as the ugly ducking of Europe’s capitals, with barely any major luxury brands operating in the city, 2,000 luxury rooms are scheduled to open in the city centre over the next two years. “Spain had a very moderate number of five-star hotels in comparison with other global capital cities. Nevertheless, the Town Hall of Madrid implemented a strategic plan for tourism, which boosted the image of the city as a global destination and that attracted international companies, which are taking the city to their own tourist clients”, says Javier García-Mateo, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte.

“The existing luxury hotel stock comprises around 5,000 rooms and over the next few years, another 2,000 rooms will be added, of which 1,000 will be new and the rest will be in renovated properties”, adds Félix Villaverde, Manager at Deloitte Financial Advisory.

The first hotel already opened over Christmas: the US hotel chain Hyatt Hotels has returned to Madrid, specifically, to the heart of the city with the opening of Centric Gran Vía Madrid, a five-star establishment with 159 rooms – including 16 suites (…). With an investment of €30 million, Hyatt has returned to Madrid, after leaving the management of another five-star hotel in the capital in 2009: the Villamagna.

During the first quarter of 2018, another five-star establishment is expected to open. In this case, it will be the chain VP in Plaza de España. It will contain 214 rooms, spread over 17 storeys, following an investment of €90 million (…).

Projects on the lookout for a brand

Some of the other new projects planned for this year in the luxury hotel market in Madrid have not yet been defined. They involve plans for the former Hotel Velázquez and the property owned by the fund KKH in Plaza de las Descalzas.

Last May, the Salazar family sold the Gran Hotel Velázquez for around €60 million. Now, the new owner, the real estate group Didra, is looking for a hotel partner to operate the renovated property. In the case of KKH’s property in Madrid, the negotiations are more advanced. The former headquarters of the Monte de Piedad de Madrid is being renovated to open a five-star hotel and a dozen brands have expressed their interest in operating it. The Park Hyatt, The Peninsula and Saint Regis, from the Starwood group, are the favourites in the running, according to sources in the sector (…).

In addition to these projects that still need to be defined, in 2019, several luxury establishments are due to open, including, the first Four Seasons Hotel in Spain, which will open in the Canalejas complex with more than 200 rooms.

Moreover, a four-star, but nevertheless high-profile, hotel is being created by the Mallorcan chain RIU, which will restore Edificio España, in disuse for a decade, to open a modern urban hotel with 650 rooms.

Meanwhile, Marriott Starwood, the largest hotel chain in the world, has teamed up with the Indian investor Harry Mohiani to open a five-star hotel in the former Hotel Asturias, in the same square as the Four Seasons (Canalejas). That property will have 160 rooms (…).

Prices

The opening of these new luxury hotels will have an impact on room rates, which already saw a significant increase in this niche last year.

“Revenue per room (RevPar) in the five-star segment in Madrid has grown by 6.4% p.a. in recent years, almost four times more than the average in other European centres, due not only to the increase in rates but also the better performance in terms of occupancy rates”, say sources at Deloitte.

“The arrival of new luxury operators in Madrid will drive up the price of five-star hotels in the city. In fact, after carrying out comprehensive renovations, we have already seen examples of hotels that have increased their rates by 50%. The most exclusive hotels will charge €750 per night during certain periods of the year”, they add.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sale of Hesperia Tower Threatened by Catalan Political Uncertainty

27 November 2017 – Eje Prime

The political situation in Cataluña is also affecting the sale of tall buildings, such as that of the NH Collection Tower in Barcelona. Known until last year as the Hesperia Tower, this five-star hotel owned by Grupo Inversor Hesperia (Gihsa) is struggling to find a new owner due to the governmental instability and, therefore, economic uncertainty that exists in the region.

Located in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, the asset is situated next to the Fira complex in the suburban town and has been on the market since December 2010. The Hesperia Group put this hotel, along with five others, on the market, due to the debt that was weighing down the company at the time, estimated to amount to more than €600 million.

Now, the interested companies are not willing to go ahead with the purchase of the asset due to the political situation in Cataluña, amongst other factors, according to Crónica Global.

A year ago, the hotel company repositioned Hesperia Tower within a plan agreed with NH Hoteles, which took over the management of 31 assets from the entity led by José Antonio Castro after paying €31 million. Hesperia’s current portfolio contains around thirty hotels in Spain, as well as a 9% stake in the NH hotel Group.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

VP Finalises Opening of Flagship Hotel in Madrid’s Plaza de España

24 November 2017 – Expansión

The hotel chain, VP, which is going to debut its Design brand in Madrid in Plaza de España in January, is looking to export its model to other European capitals.

Five years after its arrival in Madrid’s Plaza de España, with the purchase of the buildings at numbers 3, 4 and 5, VP is putting the finishing touches ahead of the inauguration of what will be its flagship property in the capital: the VP Plaza España Design.

“Design is the new collection that VP is launching with Hotel Plaza España in Madrid and we hope to expand it to other European capitals soon”, explains Pedro José Alonso, the Director of the Hotel, speaking to Expansión.

This establishment has been built on the foundations of several buildings that were illegally occupied for years and which once housed offices, an aparthotel and the headquarters of Telefónica. VP purchased the assets in 2015, from the liquidated real estate company Monteverde, for €22 million.

After demolishing the old buildings and constructing the new property, work that was carried out by the construction company Tilmón, the family group is now preparing to unveil its flagship hotel, planned for the middle of January, to coincide with the tourism fair (Fitur). “It has been a pharaonic project. We have incorporated some very exclusive designs that we have had to import from other countries and as a result, the construction work has been delayed by a few months”.

The Hotel VP Plaza España Design will have 214 rooms of different kinds spread over 17 floors, as well as a spa, gym, its own car park and a sky bar with 360º views. Moreover, it will have a restaurant on the ground floor leased to Grupo Larrumba. Both the sky bar, Ginkgo, and the restaurant, Botania, will be independently accessible to facilitate entry for clients not staying at the hotel.

This hotel wants to become a benchmark for MICE tourism (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) and will have 1,400 m2 of space for events. “Madrid needs infrastructure in the heart of the centre for this kind of tourism. The existing supply is located on the outskirts”.

Alonso explains that the hotel, which will employ 150 people, will provide a distinctive artistic and decorative offer with works from Pere Grife and Jan Hendrix.

Regeneration of the area

A few months after the debut of the hotel, the Town Hall of Madrid will begin work to regenerate Plaza de España, which is expected to start in the spring of 2018. “Plaza de España has been a black mark (on the landscape) for several years. I am delighted about the project and we form part of this regeneration work”, he says.

Moreover, the facelift of the central square will happen at the same time as the arrival of large domestic groups such as RIU and international players such as Hyatt and Four Seasons: “Their arrival is excellent news for Madrid. Those brands attract their own tourism; they help us to specialise and raise the bar”.

In terms of prices, Alonso says that rooms will be offered from €220 up to “as much as the client is willing to pay”. And he adds; “Madrid is a city that deserves to have different prices to those on offer until now, which were beneath it. In our case, we have a great building, an excellent location and a commitment to service and people. That will allow us to charge prices commensurate with those of a five-star hotel.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hyatt To Open Its New 5-Star Hotel In Madrid In December

6 November 2017 – Cinco Días

Nine years after it stopped managing Hotel Villa Magna, the North American hotel chain Hyatt, is finalising its return to Spain and will benefit from first-mover advantage in the battle between the luxury hotels in Madrid. It will be the first to open, but close behind it will be followed by the five-star Four Seasons hotel in Canalejas, the four-star RIU hotel in Plaza de España and the five-star Starwood hotel in the former Hotel Asturias.

The hotel will be located in the heart of Gran Vía, will have 159 rooms (of which 10% will be suites with views over the iconic street) and will be very focused on tourists with a high purchasing power. Gonzalo Maggi, Director of the hotel, highlights that it will be the first hotel to operate under the Centric brand in Europe. “The main features of the brand including being at the centre of the action. We are targeting clients who want to explore, get to know the city and discover new things and who want to use the hotel as a launch pad for their stay”, says Maggi, who admits that the building work is being accelerated to ensure that the hotel will be ready to open in December to take advantage of the Christmas rush.

Maggi defines the client that his hotel is targeting as “lifestyle”, which serves, in his opinion, to differentiate its offer from those of the other operators that are going to compete with Hyatt. “We are going to target people who place a lot of importance on design, fashion, the people they share space with and the gastronomy they seek. We are going to position ourselves in the high-end segment. Of the scale of traditional five-star hotels, we are going to aim a bit lower, but in the highest range of the new establishments”, he says. Another feature of the chain is the food. “We are going to have a music studio in the hotel lobby specialising in vermouths, a restaurant with international food and a rooftop bar, which will open in the first quarter of 2018”, he says (…).

The Director of the Hyatt Centric forecasts that to start with, 40% of the hotel’s clients will come from the USA, where the brand has been established for 60 years and is very well known. The rest will come mainly from three European countries (France, Germany and the UK) as well as from certain Asian countries. Maggi does not rule out that the hotel will also spark interest in the domestic market, despite its high prices, given its good location.

The director of the hotel highlights that Spain represents a very interesting market, as shown by the opening of the Park Hyatt in Mallorca a year and a half ago, although he is sure that the main opportunities are in Madrid and Barcelona (…). Asked about the hotel moratorium, he says (…) “as soon as they let us build there, we will launch ourselves into that market. It is a fantastic city and has a great deal to offer”, he says.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Carlos Molina)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hyatt Wants To Grow In Spain & Places Its Focus On Madrid & Barcelona

24 October 2017 – Expansión

All of the stars are aligned for Hyatt’s return to Madrid. After almost a decade away, the US chain will return to the capital at the end of the year, with what will be its second hotel in the country, following the opening of Park Hyatt Mallorca in June 2016. What’s more, it is looking for new opportunities to strengthen its presence in the country, according to Gonzalo Maggi, Director General of Hyatt Centric Gran Vía Madrid.

For its debut in the capital, the luxury hotel group has chosen the building at number 31 on Madrid’s iconic Gran Vía. The building is owned by the Mexican family group Exacorp, and used to house the legendary Zahara coffee shop and the famous lottery office of Doña Manolita.

“Hyatt wants to continue investing in Spain. We do not have any specific projects under consideration at the moment, but we are looking for opportunities to continue growing in the country”, said Maggi, who mentions Madrid and Barcelona as the places where the group is placing its focus when it comes to strengthening its presence.

At the end of July, the multi-national owned 731 hotels around the world, and it has opened one hundred establishments in the last year alone.

In terms of Madrid, the chain, which managed Hotel Villa Magna for almost two decades until 2008, has this market on its radar. “We think that it is a very important city in Europe. Since we left Madrid, we have been trying to return, but we weren’t able to find any project that was worth it until now”, he said.

“Hyatt has 13 brands and we are considering which ones fit with this market. In addition to Centric, the Regency brand could suit the city”, he added.

With its arrival on Gran Vía, Hyatt will be the first in a long line of international luxury chains, such as Four Seasons and the Aloft and W brands – from Starwood – , that are going to arrive in the centre of Madrid over the next few years: “One of the advantages we have over the competition is that we are going to be one of the first to arrive on Gran Via in the five star segment. Our product will be distinctive all by itself. It will serve as a starting point for visitors to explore the city and as an icon for leisure in the local market”.

Timetable

The Hyatt Centric Gran Vía, with 159 rooms, will open its doors in December and will have 88 employees. The establishment will have a rooftop terrace, which will be inaugurated a few months later, probably in the spring of 2018.

The owner of the building, which used to be leased as office space, spent €30 million renovating the asset, which Hyatt wants to turn into a flagship property for its Centric brand in Europe. The hotel’s features will include a vermouth bar, Ondas, with a design that imitates that of a music studio, and an Ice and Coal restaurant, with a local gastronomic offering.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispania’s Manager, Azora, Prepares Hotel Vehicle For Portugal

23 October 2017 – El Confidencial

The largest hotel Socimi in Spain may soon have a replica in Portugal. Azora, the manager of Hispania, is working on the creation of a new vehicle to enter the Portuguese market, on the basis that, over the next few years, it expects to see a repeat there of the recovery that the Spanish real estate market is experiencing at the moment.

The Director-General of Hispania, Cristina García-Peri, revealed Azora’s plans at the Barcelona Meeting Point conference, which was held in the Catalan capital last week. “We are looking at the Portuguese holiday market”, said the director, who also highlighted the opportunities that the country’s two major cities, Lisbon and Porto, have to offer.

Sources consulted by El Confidencial confirm that Azora’s strategy is aimed at constituting a new vehicle, given that Hispania’s mandate focuses solely on the Spanish market. As such, the firm is currently making contact with several funds to define the terms of the project.

The example of what Azora has done with Hispania is the best endorsement that the manager can show investors to attract them towards this new proposal, given that the firm founded by Concha Osácar and Fernando Gumuzio considers that the Portuguese market is very similar to the Spanish market and therefore, they already have a wealth of knowledge in terms of both the product and the environment.

Following in Hispania’s footsteps

Created three and a half years ago, Hispania has become the largest owner of hotels in the country in that short space of time, with 36 establishments and more than 10,350 beds. Most of its properties are located in the Canary and Balearic Islands.

Moreover, in the summer, the Socimi acquired a plot of land in Teguise (Lanzarote), where it is going to build a new five-star establishment with 225 rooms, which it will integrate with the existing Occidental Playa and Barceló Lanzarote hotels, to create a mega-resort with 1,033 rooms, the largest in Hispania’s whole portfolio.

Despite the success achieved with its tourist business, in the spring, Azora made a proposal to the Socimi’s shareholders, led by George Soros, to activate the divestment period for the vehicle and whereby renounce the option of converting it into a permanent entity.

This decision has meant that the company has activated a formal process to sell its entire office portfolio. To this end, it has been holding exclusive negotiations with the insurance company Swiss Life for several months now and it has also started to divest its 754 residential properties, one by one.

In terms of Hispania’s hotels, which account for the bulk of its portfolio, it has until December 2020. Until then, the Socimi will focus on continuing to acquire assets, as well as improving and actively managing the ones it already owns to allow it to increase its rate of return on these investments from 10% to 12%.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aina Purchases 50% Of Gran Hotel Velázquez From Didra Group

25 July 2017 – Expansión

Aina Hospitality – the fund promoted by Edmond de Rothschild and Jaume Tàpies – has purchased 50% of the iconic Gran Hotel Velázquez from the Didra Group. The property is located at number 62 of the Madrilenian street whose name it bears.

This asset, located in the neighbourhood of Salamanca, just a stone’s throw from the Retiro park and in the heart of Madrid’s golden mile, has been owned by the Didra Group for just a few months. It is currently undergoing a comprehensive renovation with the aim of ascending its category.

Together with the Didra Group, owned by the Ardid Villoslada family, Aina Hospitality will reposition the property, transforming it into a five-star hotel. Last year, the family office owned by the Ardid family reached an agreement with the Salazar family – the former owners of SOS Cuétara – to purchase this hotel for €63 million and now, almost a year later, it has decided to open up the share capital to Aina Hospitality.

At the moment, the four-star Gran Hotel Velázquez, has 143 rooms but it recently closed its doors to undergo a complete refurbishment.

Repositioning

Following its renovation, the hotel will have 111 rooms and suites, a restaurant, a rooftop terrace, cinema, bowling alley, luxury spa and fitness centre.

Tàpies, the CEO of Aina Hospitality, highlighted the excellent location of the hotel: “Madrid is a cultural, historical and leisure destination and it is a tourist and financial centre. This hotel is located in the centre of the city, close to some of the most important tourist attractions and the historical centre”.

The operation represents Aina Hospitality’s seventh investment in Europe and is in line with the investment strategy carried out by the manager to date. Aina Hospitality purchases high-end properties – with four- and five-stars ratings. In addition to Madrid, the fund has recently made acquisitions in Paris, Eindhoven, Vienna, Brussels and Berlin.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake