Azora and Palladium Create Joint Venture to Operate Luxury Hotel son the Mediterranean

9 September 2019

Azora, a Spanish real estate fund manager, announced the creation of a new joint venture with the Palladium Group, which is owned by the Matutes family. Azora will control 75% of the new firm, with the rest going to Palladium. The firm will invest in luxury hotels on the Mediterranean coast.

The company will begin with an initial investment of €225 million, including three existing assets. Those consist of two hotels in Ibiza and one in Cefalù, in northern Sicily (Italy). The first is the BLESS Hotel Ibiza, a 151-room, five-star hotel owned by Palladium. The group recently converted the hotel from a 3-star unit.  The second asset is the Fiesta Hotel Tanit, a 440-room, 3-star hotel which the firm will also convert into an all-inclusive, adults-only luxury hotel.

The hotel in Italy is the 529-room, 4-star Fiesta Sicilia Resort, which like the first two,  the firm will convert into a 5-star unit.

Azora and Palladium have committed to investments of up to 500 million euros.

Original Story: El País

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Palladium Hotel Group Forecasts Revenues of €600M+ in 2017

4 December 2017 – Expansión

The hotel group Palladium expects to record revenues of more than €600 million this year, although that figure is lower than initially expected due to the renovation of several hotels and the impact on demand of the hurricanes in the Caribbean and the crisis in Cataluña. According to the Director-General of Palladium, Abel Matutes Prats (pictured below), the final result will depend on the firm’s performance during the last stretch of the year, after two strong months in the Caribbean. The hotel chain owned by the Matutues family has registered a good season in Spain, in particular in the urban segment.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotelier Catalonia Leads Ranking of Spain’s Top 15 Tourism Companies by Gross Margin

24 November 2017 – Preferente

Catalonia, the hotel chain based in Barcelona and owned by the Vallet family, leads the first ranking compiled by of the Top 15 Spanish tourism companies by gross margin in 2016, with a 30.2% gross profit on its sales. It is followed by large hotel chains such as the Ibiza-based Palladium, and the Mallorcan-based Grupo Piñero and Riu, which all generated gross margins of more than 20% during the last financial year.

The chain owned by the Matutes family is the second in the ranking after obtaining an estimated gross margin of 28.6% on its sales in 2016; it is followed by the group owned by the Piñero family, which includes the Bahía Príncipe and Soltour businesses, with a gross margin of 24.2%; and the chain owned by the Riu family, with a gross margin of 23.8% and the leader of the ranking by EBITDA.

Completing the Top 5 is another large chain and another Catalan firm: H10, which recorded a gross profit on its sales of 19.8% in 2016, followed by Grupo Barceló, with a gross margin of 14.2%, which would have been greater if it did not include in its sales the intermediation activity of Ávoris, which generates higher volumes but lower margins.

After Group Barceló in the ranking comes Grupo Iberostar, which comprises Almundo and World2Meet; and then the hotel groups NH and Meliá, which all exceeded or equalled a gross profit of 10% of sales in 2016. After those companies come the Canarian firm Lopesan and the Catalan firm Hotusa, which groups together Keytel and Restel, with similar gross margins of around 9% over sales.

A vertically integrated tourism group: an airline, a travel agency and a bed bank follow them in the ranking. At number 12 is Globalia, the parent company of Air Europa and Halcón Viajes, with a gross margin of 3.8% of sales, followed very closely by Iberia (3.7%) and Viajes El Corte Inglés (2.4%). The B2B firm Hotelbeds appears in fifteenth place with an estimated gross margin of 2% in 2016, a year when it had not yet completed the purchase of Tourico and GTA, the first of which generates significant EBITDA.

In this way, according to the ranking prepared by the leading tourism website, the chains with the greatest presence in the Caribbean and those dedicated exclusively to resorts are those that generate the greatest gains with respect to their revenues. Meanwhile, the conglomerates that also include intermediaries would have higher gross margin figures if they only reflected their hotel businesses, given that although they invoice less, they are more profitable.

Original story: Preferente (by Andrea Bulla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotel Chains Invest €2.5 Billion to Reposition Their Portfolios

23 August 2017

Meliá, Barceló, RIU, NH, Palladium and Iberostar redouble their investments to reach new markets, reinforce the presence of their premium brands and raise prices.

The hotel chains are taking advantage of the boom in tourism and profits from recent years to invest in upgrading their assets. The Spanish groups have launched investments of about 2.5 billion euros in recent years and are planning to increase them further to reposition their asset portfolios, boosting their premium segment to attract clients willing to spend more on better accommodations.

With these measures, the hotel groups are seeking to boost profitability and enhance operational efficiency by focusing more on prices than on occupancy, where they have little room for growth. In addition, companies are looking to enter new markets, diversifying risks should the current cycle change.

One of the most active in the repositioning of its assets has been Meliá Hotels. The company allocated 260 million euros last year to the maintenance and refurbishment of its establishments around the world. The firm has emphasized the improvement of its hotel portfolio in Spain. Specifically, in the last five years, it has invested €500 million with its partners to upgrade its Spanish hotels, of which more than €200 million have gone to Magaluf (Mallorca).

For its part, RIU invested $500 million dollars last year in the purchase, construction and renovation of hotels and plans to allocate more than $400 million in 2017 for the complete renovation of six hotels and further openings. In recent years, the chain has renovated 13 hotels with a cumulative investment of $200 million projects in Spain alone.


With regards to new openings, the RIU hotel group plans to open its first hotel in Madrid in 2019. The company chose the Edificio España for its arrival in the Spanish capital, where it will invest between €380 million and €400 million, including the price paid to Baraka for the purchase of the asset last June.

Iberostar is another of the hotel groups that has launched an investment program to open new hotels and update some of the establishments in its portfolio. In 2016, it opened hotels in new areas such as the United States and Ibiza. In addition, as part of its policy of reinvesting profits, in 2016 it dedicated more than €90 million to the hotel renovations and plans to allocate more than 300 million euros in partial and total renovations by 2018.

For its part, Palladium has opted to grow in the Caribbean and reposition its presence in the Spanish islands. The hotel group belong to the Matutes family last year allocated 80 million euros to Hard Rock Tenerife and will invest 450 million euros up to 2018 to reposition two hotels in Ibiza, remodel and expand its hotels in Rivera Maya and the open two establishments in Costa Mujeres and another in Cancun, all in Mexico.

Within the framework of its strategic plan, NH invested 200 million euros in the renewal of assets between 2014 and 2016. Investments in Spain accounted for 42% of this figure. As a result of the strategic plan, at the beginning of 2017, one of every five of the group’s rooms belongs to the chain’s premium brands NH Collection and nhow.

Similarly, Barceló has launched a new set of brands and destined an average of 100 million euros per year to reposition its product portfolio.

The Piñero Group’s strategic plan is to upgrade their existing hotels and pursue a consolidation in its main markets through the opening of new establishments. To this end, the chain has invested €50 million in the construction of a new five-star luxury hotel in the municipality of San Miguel de Abona.

Original Story: Expansión – Rebeca Arroyo

Translation: Richard Turner

Spanish Hoteliers’ Profitability Shoots Up Due to Tourist Boom


The increase in demand, coupled with an updated hotel portfolio, has led to record occupancies and has allowed large groups increase prices by double digits.

Tourism in Spain has continued its vertiginous climb of the last five years and, after beating a new record with 75.6 million international visitors in 2016, forecasts indicate that this year there could be a return to record highs with the arrival of 84 million foreign tourists, which would make the country the world leader in the sector, surpassing France.

Among the big beneficiaries of the tourist boom are the large Spanish hotel groups, which anticipate an excellent summer season and expect an increase in their revenues, thanks to high demand and a double-digit increase in prices, brought about by high occupancy rates and the modernization of hotel portfolios. Large chains have thus been able to reach prices and occupation rates last seen in 2007, and, in some cases, profitability has also reached pre-crisis levels.

Specifically, Meliá, the top Spanish hotel chain by number of rooms, which has focused on improving room rates to increase occupancy, and maximizing operating efficiency in newly repositioned hotels, is predicting a strong third quarter. The hotel group owned by the Escarrer family achieved a 15.7% increase in average revenue per room available (RevPar) in hotels in Spain up to June and plans to conclude the current tourist season with a RevPar higher than the previous year in all areas.

Holiday Rentals

Meliá points out that the best performing area is the Canary Islands, where it is registering the most significant increase in prices, and the peninsular coast. The most important market for the chain is still the British, which saw growth of 8%. By contrast, the German, Italian and Spanish market figures are below the previous year.

Regarding the Balearic Islands, although occupancy rates continue to improve, high season prices hide a decline due to the early sales in the British market and the fall in German and Russian visitors, due to the recovery of Turkey, the main competitor in last-minute bookings. Likewise, the demand for short-term private holiday homes is significantly damaging sales of regulated tourist accommodations in the Balearic Islands, Meliá says.

The Barceló hotel group anticipates occupancy rates of 94% in the Balearic Islands and of more than 90% in the Canary Islands, as well as an improvement in prices of 11% and 9%, respectively. In Andalusia, the group estimates that price increases will exceed 10%, with occupancy rates at 90% in August.

Regarding the main European markets, the United Kingdom is still the number one in the Balearic Islands, with growth of 5% over the previous year, followed by Germany, with a 6% increase, Italy (+8%) and France (+5%). Meanwhile, domestic market demand in this destination has grown 12% over the previous year and is expected to grow even more, since it is a market that does not book rooms so far in advance. Spanish tourists are also the main engine of growth for the Barceló Group in Andalusia.

The company already achieved record EBITDA and recurring net profit last year.

In the case of the Palladium hotel group, the chain has increased prices in Ibiza by 4% on average, although growth is higher in some areas such as San Antonio and Santa Eulalia, with increases of 8% and 6%, respectively. The best markets remain the British and German, accounting for 37% and 17%.

This will be the Matutes family’s first summer in the Canary Islands, since the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel of Tenerife in October. The company notes that bookings are performing very positively.

For its part, RIU Hotel & Resorts anticipates high occupancy in July and August, as well as an extended tourist season. RIU points out that, although the summer is off season in the Canary Islands, in recent years the occupancy has remained high throughout the year. In addition, it has renovated its hotel portfolio on the Costa del Sol which, together with the popularity of the destination, is positively impacting demand.

RIU is estimating an improvement of between 5% and 7% in average room rates. The firm underlines the positive performance of the German market, the increase in Scandinavian and British visitors, as well as the rebound in bookings by Spanish nationals, up 5%.


The Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands are Iberostar’s top destinations, where returns have been the highest compared to the peninsular coast, which is more dependent on the Spanish market. Together, the Fluxá family’s chain anticipates an increase in RevPar of 10% thanks to increased prices resulting from high demand and to investments made to reform and modernize its establishments.

Iberostar emphasised the strength of the British market and the Benelux area, while detecting a downward trend in the German and Spanish markets. Iberostar believes that domestic demand has not yet fully recovered. The hotel group believes that the cut in the duration of the stays during the traditional high season is still a reality in the case of the Spanish market. In addition, it considers that price increases have affected demand from families, while other segments such as couples or single adults have only continued to rise.

Grupo Piñero, with a presence in Tenerife and Mallorca, expects to reach average occupancy rates of 94% and 84% and a RevPar increase of 7% and 13%, respectively.

Regarding demand, Grupo Piñero anticipates a rebound in German and Polish visitors, and a recovery of the Russian market in Mallorca. In Tenerife, the demand by the British – the ones that contribute the most to sales – has registered a slight decrease, compensated by improved performance in other markets.

Original Story: ProOrbyt Expansion – Rebeca Arroyo

Translation: Richard Turner

Optimism Abounds Amongst Spain’s Hotel Chains

10 April 2017 – Expansión

Meliá, Barceló, RIU and other groups are hanging the “No vacancy” sign up in top destinations and are increasing their prices, thanks to the pull of the overseas market and the recovery in domestic tourism.

The tourism sector is on a roll and the main Spanish chains – Meliá, Barceló, Iberostar, RIU, Grupo Piñero and Palladium – are getting ready to break records once again. The positive trend in demand, the pull of international tourism in both archipelagos, and the recovery in the domestic market in regions such as Andalucía are allowing the hotel groups to hang the “No vacancy” sign up in some of their destinations, such as in the Canary Islands, and achieve occupancy rates of between 80% and 90% in the Balearic Islands and Andalucía.

Despite the uncertainty generated by Brexit, the British market remains a mainstay for the hotel chains, alongside Germany and Central Europe, in addition to the recovery in domestic demand.

For example, Meliá forecasts growth of more than 6% in its average occupancy rate in vacation hotels in Spain, as well as an improvement in prices with respect to 2016. The markets with the greatest pull for the chain owned by the Escarrer family are the British and Central European, whilst demand from domestic tourists continues its upwards trend.

Meanwhile, Barceló forecasts growth of 6% in its occupancy rate at hotels in the Balearic Islands, with an average occupancy rate of 81% and an average room rate of €110, which represents an increase of 13% with respect to the previous year. In terms of Andalucía, the volume of reservations corresponds to forecast occupancy rates of more than 90% and an improvement of 26% in prices, according to the company.

In the case of Iberostar, the hotel chain owned by the Fluxá family forecasts an occupancy rate of almost 100% over the Easter holidays. Iberostar highlights the good performance of the United Kingdom, Benelux and Germany, compared with countries in Eastern Europe, where demand is “more stagnant”.

In terms of room rates, Iberostar states that prices have improved moderately, by between 2% and 3% on average.

For RIU, the economic situation in the Canary Islands, with very high occupancy rates, means it has little margin for growth, however, there is still scope for increases at the hotels on the Costa del Sol, which have been completely refurbished this season. (…). In terms of the best markets, RIU highlights German tourists, as well as a considerable improvement in the number of reservations from Scandinavian and British clients, plus a 5% increase in domestic tourism.

Meanwhile, Palladium highlights the sweet moment that Ibiza is enjoying. “The season has opened early on the island, with a large volume of tourists visiting in April. This has been made possible by hotels opening early and new flight connections”. Overall, hotel occupancy rates have risen by 4%, whilst prices have increased by 2.5% YoY, for the time being, in line with the annual forecast increase of 7%.

Finally, Grupo Piñero says that its three hotels in Tenerife area already full, with an improvement in prices of between 4% and 8%.


And the euphoria of the hotel chains extends beyond Easter. The large hotel groups expect to set new records in 2017. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Palladium To Invest €450M In New Openings & Renovations

23 January 2017 – Cinco Días

Palladium, the hotel group controlled by the Matutes family, is planning to invest more than €450 million in new openings and renovating its existing establishments, both in Spain as well as in the Caribbean.

The hotel chain, which recorded a turnover of €558 million in 2016, up by 14% compared to the year before, said that it had completed a good year. It also appeared optimistic about the performance of the holiday market in Spain this year, especially in the Balearic Islands, where it has a larger market share.

Abel Matutes Prats, CEO of the company, said that the firm’s growth strategy in terms of number of hotels now involves managing establishments owned by third parties. “We are ready to grow quite a lot in the urban and holiday segments as a hotel manager”, he said.

The company, which has signed an agreement with Hard Rock to bring the hotel brand to mainland Spain – the US firm already has two establishments on the islands, one in Ibiza and another in Tenerife – acknowledges that it has some plans on the table that have not been finalised yet. Not so long ago, Hard Rock was mentioned as the best positioned player to manage the hotel in Edificio España in Madrid.

“There are a couple of hotels in the pipeline, but nothing has been decided yet”, said Matutes Prats, who defends this alliance as “a well-matched marriage”, which is choosing to focus on its latest addition, the opening in Tenerife, at the moment, but which is not ruling out future developments in urban destinations.

The businessman highlights the arrival of Palladium in Asia. “One day we will have to make the jump, but right now it does not form part of our plans. When we move over there, it will be to launch something big”, he said.

Original story: Cinco Días (by L.S.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Edificio España Is Set To Become A Hard Rock Hotel

4 October 2016 – El Confidencial

The countdown to the launch of Trinitario Casanova’s project in Edificio España has begun. The businessman, who has reached an agreement with the Wanda Group to acquire the property, has been given the green light by the Town Hall of Madrid for his plans to convert the skyscraper into a Las Vegas style hotel.

Last Friday, the department of town planning, led by José Manuel Calvo, approved the request submitted by the Baraka Group, the Levantine businessman’s holding company. Its request involves turning the majority of the skyscraper into a large hotel, whilst retaining the protected elements.

With this approval, Casanova now has all of the pieces in place to seal his second major agreement of the year: a 30-year contract with Hard Rock, the hotel empire owned by the Seminole Indians, who have presented Baraka with a firm offer to take over the operation of the Madrilenian skyscraper.

Sources at the Spanish company have acknowledged that conversations are at a very advanced stage, in a process organised by JLL, but that the final rubber stamp still needs to be given. That milestone that will come once the legal representatives of both parties have been completed their corresponding reviews.

The Hard Rock project for Edificio España involves opening a five-star hotel containing almost 600 rooms. The property will be equipped with restaurant and entertainment offerings and will also contain large suites and allow for the use of the roof terrace.

In addition, the approximately 150 parking spaces that the skyscraper already has in its second basement are sufficient for the North American group’s plans. The future hotel will occupy 22 floors of the property, spanning around 67,400 sqm, given that Baraka has reserved the first three floors, covering almost 15,000 sqm, for a large shopping arcade and is, currently, holding conversations with several potential operators.

Hard Rock Hotel’s commitment to Spain

Hard Rock has been looking for a site on which to open a major hotel establishment in Madrid for years and the possibility of doing so on Gran Vía is an opportunity that it does not want to miss, given that this thoroughfare offer all of the leisure, history, shopping and cultural offerings that are demanded by the profile of international tourist that the chain attracts.

The arrival of Edificio España onto the market also comes at a particularly sensitive time for the North American company, which, after several years negotiating with Enrique Bañuelos over the construction of a resort in the BCN World project, has now been told that the Catalan Government has recalculated all of its numbers for the complex and so its future is up in the air.

In Spain, Hard Rock Hotel also holds a concession agreement with Palladium, the group owned by the Matutes family, for its properties on the Balearic and Canary Islands, where the group…owns the Hard Rock Ibiza and Hard Rock Tenerife.

Having received the favourable report from the Town Hall of Madrid, Trinitario Casanova now expects to complete the definitive purchase of Edificio España from the Wanda Group by the middle of the month, and he will then be able to begin the renovation of the property, which is expected to take almost two years.

With this calendar on the table, the future Hard Rock Madrid may open its doors at the end of 2018, which is when the Four Seasons hotel, currently being constructed in the Canalejas Complex, is also due to open. Canalejas is another of the most awaited and controversial developments in the capital, although it should receive its final blessing from Manuela Carmena’s team within the next few days.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotel Revenues Rise & Profitability Soars

16 August 2016 – Expansión

Meliá, Barceló and Grupo Palladium are registering occupancy rates of almost 90% in some of their star destinations and are also achieving double-digit growth rates in terms of tariffs.

The hotel chains are on a roll, with an improvement in sales, occupancy rates and prices this year, and they are getting ready to benefit from the good times that the tourist sector is enjoying to boost their profitability as well. In 2015, Spain broke its record once again in terms of the number of international tourists, with 68 million visits; and all indications show that this year the figure could reach 70 million. (…).

Specifically, Meliá, in line with the data disclosed in its results, forecasts an occupancy rate of almost 80% in Andalucía, where it also expects to see an 11% increase in prices. For the Levante region, the group expects an occupancy rate of 75% and a 10% increase in prices, whilst in Ibiza, it forecasts a 26% increase in occupancy rates and an almost 50% upturn in the average price – due to the repositioning of its hotels on the island. For the Canary Islands, the hotel chain owned by the Escarrer family estimates an occupancy rate of 80% and a price rise of 13%.

This archipelago is also proving fruitful for Barceló. The company expects to close the month of August with full occupancy and a historically high profitability. During the first few weeks of August, the occupancy rate on the islands averaged 90% and average room rates had increased by 12 points.

In the Balearic Islands, the occupancy rates for July and August are in line with last year, but average prices per room have risen by more than 11%. The group highlights its growth in Ibiza, where it will achieve an occupancy rate of 98% in the high season, with a tariff increase of 18%.

For the region of Andalucía, Barceló is maintaining a similar occupancy rate to 2015, with an increase in the price per room of 13%.

Meanwhile, Palladium is forecasting an average occupancy rate for its hotel stock of 88.3%, six percentage points higher than in 2015, with an increase of 10% in the average daily rate (ADR) and in revenues per available room (RevPAR).

Sources at RIU indicate that its business is performing “very well” this season, in line with last summer, when occupancy rates were very high in all of its hotels along the Spanish coast and on the islands. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotel Revenues Soar Thanks To Tourism Boom

17 May 2016 – Expansión

Spain’s large hotel groups are preparing for another record year after figures for the start of 2016 have confirmed that the tourism boom is continuing across the peninsula. The volume of international tourists grew by 4.4% between January and April, to 16 million, which together with the successful Easter period and the continuation of the recovery in domestic demand, means that experts are forecasting a better summer season than in 2015 and another record year.

Last year, Spain received 68.1 million international tourists, up by 4.9%, which boosted the business of the main Spanish hotel chains. Barceló, RIU, Melià and Iberostar took advantage of the situation, favoured by instability in rival countries such as Turkey and Egypt, and closed 2015 with double-digit revenue growth. In 2016, profitability will continue to rise thanks to the continuation of the favourable environment and the fact that the chains are accelerating their entry into new markets, as well as remodelling their hotels.

Iberostar’s revenues soared by 29% to €1,847 million and it was the hotel chain that improved the most. The company owned by the Fluxá family will open six new properties in 2016 and will spend €90 million renovating its hotels.

Meliá’s turnover grew by 16.3% to €1,738 million, whilst Barceló generated revenues of €2,480 million in 2015, representing growth of 20.6%, and a net profit of €100.2 million, up by 116%. It was the most profitable Spanish hotel chain. This year the group expects to see improvements across all of the regions in which it operates. Specifically, its objective for 2016 includes generating EBITDA of around €326 million and a net profit of €125 million.

In the case of RIU, its revenues grew by 14% to €1,848 million. The company has announced its intention to invest €390 million in 2016 with the opening of four hotels and the complete refurbishment of another eight.

Meanwhile, last year Palladium recorded revenues of more than €500 million for the first time in its history, up by 20% compared with 2014. The chain owned by the former minister Abel Matutes plans to create 1,300 jobs in Spain and 300 in America. The group is undergoing an expansion process in Latin America, which includes opening new hotels in Jamaica and Mexico, with a committed investment of between €800 million and €900 million over five years.

According to the Chairman of Cehat, Juan Molas, who confirmed the current trend, 2016 is going to be a “very good year”, thanks to traditional markets, such as the UK, German and French and the recovery of the Russian Market, which had declined somewhat in recent years. In addition, new routes to Asian countries may boost alternative tourism besides the traditional sun and beach segment.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Ceav, Rafael Gallego, said that some destinations, such as the Balearic Islands, Costa del Sol and Levante, are already close to overbooking. Instability in countries that compete with Spain, such as Turkey, is contributing to this record; as is the parity of the dollar with the euro, which makes Caribbean destinations less attractive; and the price of oil.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake