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

Spanish Hoteliers See No ST Threat From Brexit

3 August 2016 – Hotel News Now

Spanish hoteliers said they have yet to see any immediate negative impact on tourism from the U.K. since that country voted to leave the European Union.

“Spain has long been, and should remain for the foreseeable future, the favored vacation destination for British visitors despite Brexit, and all indications are that bookings well into next year are still healthy,” said Juan Molas, President of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodations (CEHAT), during a 28 July news conference.

The U.K. is Spain’s largest source market for foreign visitors. Last year, 68 million foreign visitors traveled to Spain, which was an increase of 5% over the previous year. Approximately 16 million Britons accounted for 21% of those visitors.

Following the victory for the “leave” vote in the 23 June Brexit referendum and the resulting drop in the value of the pound against the euro, there was concern in the Spanish hotel sector that the subsequent higher prices would keep Britons away.

But hoteliers noted that British travelers traditionally reserve their holidays months in advance, so there appears to be no immediate negative impact on peak business this summer.

Molas said that momentum should extend into the 2016-2017 winter season and next summer. He added that Spain’s tour operators and travel agencies that sell package vacations—which are used by 70% of British tourists when booking their Spanish holidays—have noticed steady booking trends well into 2017.

“Spain continues to be the most popular vacation spot for the British, who don’t tend to travel for leisure to some of our competitors like Egypt or Turkey, which are more popular among the Germans and French,” he said. “Spanish hotels and destinations offer the British what they want on a holiday: safety and good value for money. We’ve seen the pound-euro exchange rate fluctuate often in the past, and there was no lasting major effect on us.”

But Molas cautioned the weaker pound could curtail daily spending by British visitors in Spain and London will now be a cheaper alternative for event booking than Spanish cities.

“London is our biggest competitor in Europe for the convention trade, and Paris, where hotel prices have fallen because of the recent unfortunate events in France, is also a rival,” he said. “But our biggest competitor in all of this would be for the British to decide not to travel and just stay home.”

Long-term effects of Brexit are still unknown, said CEHAT Secretary General Ramón Estalella.

“We don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future, but there are three important unknowns to consider,” he said. “One is when Britain will finally leave the EU and what further effects that might have. Two, no one knows where the pound will be in value (in) six months or there could be a crisis in Europe dragging down the value of the euro and so making the pound stronger. And three, what might happen in our competitor countries that could affect the British source market.”

The CEHAT executives also presented the findings of a survey of its members—which include 54 local and regional hotel associations and 1.5 million beds—on the sector’s performance through the end of the summer. A majority of the respondents are looking forward to a positive high season thanks largely to a rise in room rates and longer average stays by guests, which will result in higher profits.

Molas said hoteliers are confident that the continuing demand from both Spanish and foreign guests will increase.

“What’s important now is to use the occupancy rates to maximize earnings and promote Spain through advertising and marketing so we can cement its position as one of the leading tourism destinations in the world,” Molas said.

Original story: Hotel News Now (by Benjamin Jones)

Edited by: Carmel Drake