ECI & Matutes Negotiate the Sale of Ayre Hotels for €200M

12 January 2018 – Expansión

Advanced conversations / The retail giant and hotel chain want to cash in on the sale of a hotel portfolio comprising five establishments and more than 800 rooms.

El Corte Inglés and Grupo Matutes want to take advantage of the good times that the tourist sector is enjoying and the investor appetite for the real estate market to sell some of the assets in the Ayre chain – a brand of urban hotels, which they jointly control (50:50) – and make some money.

Specifically, the groups are finalising the sale of a portfolio comprising five hotels, with more than 800 rooms, located in Madrid, Barcelona, Oviedo and Córdoba, worth around €200 million, according to sources in the sector. Those sources indicate that the two companies have already received several offers and that the operation could be closed during the first quarter of the year.

Ayre was created in 2006 as the urban brand of the Palladium Hotel Group – then known as Fiesta and belonging to the Grupo Empresas Matutes (GEM) –. At the end of that year, El Corte Inglés purchased a 50% stake in the chain, through Parinver, its holding company. The retail group classified that acquisition as an operation of a financial nature at the time.

Currently, the urban chain Ayre owns 10 hotels in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia, Córdoba and Oviedo. Last summer, the companies decided to put half of the assets up for sale and reposition at least two of the other establishments – the hotels in Valencia and Sevilla – under the Only You brand, the premium sub-brand of Ayre.

The company that owns Ayre is FST Hotels, controlled equally by Fiesta Hotels & Resorts (Grupo Matutes) and Parinver (El Corte Inglés). FST Hotels, which is headquartered in Palma de Mallorca, closed 2016 with turnover of €49.4 million, up by 14% and a net profit of €4.2 million, up by 100% compared to 2015, according to the most recent accounts filed with the Commercial Registry.

The President of the Company is Abel Matutes Juan, whilst Florencio Lasaga, the director of El Corte Inglés and President of the Ramón Areces Foundation (its largest shareholder) serves as the Vice-President. FST Hotels also has Jesús Nuño de la Rosa, the CEO of El Corte Inglés, on its Board, as well as Carlos Martínez Echevarría and Cristina Álvarez Guil, both directors of the retail group; and Abel Matutes Prats, Director General of Palladium, amongst others.

The operation forms part of the strategy of Grupo Palladium, whose objective is to grow through hotel management, and move from being an owner to a manager, in line with other Spanish chains. Palladium, which is headquartered in Ibiza and is more than 40 years old, has 50 hotels in six countries – Spain, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Italy and Brazil – and operates three other brands besides Ayre: Palladium Hotels & Resorts, Fiesta Hotels & Resorts and Ushuaïa.

Meanwhile, El Corte Inglés would add the sale of this hotel portfolio to the list of non-strategic divestments that the group has undertaken in recent months: in November, it reached an agreement with the fund GPF to sell it the management of its Motortown workshops, located in 55 of its shopping centres; in October, the company chaired by Dimas Gimeno sold 40% of Torre Serrano to Infinorsa for €50 million; and in September, it sold off a logistics warehouse in La Bisbal del Penedès (Tarragona). The group has also sold buildings in Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla, amongst other cities, in recent months.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo and V. M. Osorio)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Palladium Opens 2nd Only You Hotel In Madrid

14 November 2016 – Expansión

Only You has come a long way since the end of February, when Abel Matutes Prats first introduced the future Hotel Only You Atocha and the project was still a building site. Now the scaffolding has been removed, and the second hotel owned by the brand that belongs to the Palladium Hotel Group is ready to go.

The establishment is expected to be opened within the next few days – definitely before the end of November – to join the firm’s other Only You property on Calle Barquillo in Madrid. This new hotel, located on Paseo Infanta Isabel, will have 206 rooms (192 doubles and 14 suites).

Designed by Lázaro Rosa-Violán

The interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán has worked with the Matutes family once again and has made the property its own. The firm has created an industrial environment, with old fashioned tiled floors, cobblestones, retro styles and multi-spaces, all under one roof.

The lobby, restaurant and reception all merge into one and are full of typical Rosa-Violán features. (…). In this vein, the hotel will house a retro American-style gym, which will offer a personal trainer service and running club.

Here, one sometimes feels that one is not in a hotel, but rather in a fashion store. A sensation sought and found. The dream of any hotel is to turn its restaurant into a pilgrimage destination, even for non-guests. Hotel Only You Atocha will have its own Trotamundos restaurant, with the gastronomy of chef Javier Mora, alongside Jon Giraldo and Jaime Liebermande (chefs from Spoonik in Barcelona), who will present a mixture of cuisine from Latin America, Asia and Spain.

The bar will also be large, and will offer a comprehensive wine list and cocktail menu. There will be a Mamá Framboise (cake and pastry) stand in the lobby of the hotel, with recipes from Alejandro Montes.

The top floor will house a Youniverse restaurant, which will serve breakfast. The space has different corners and themed trolleys with tables both inside and on the terrace. In addition, the hotel has a well-appointed treatment room managed by Caroli Natura Bissé and adaptable meeting rooms for events. (…).

Only You Hotel Atocha is located opposite the train station of the same name.

Original story: Expansión (by Nerea Serrano)

Translation: Carmel Drake