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

Hyatt Returns To Madrid To Manage Hotel On Gran Vía, 31

10 March 2017 – Cinco Días

Hyatt is returning to Madrid. The hotel chain is coming back to the capital nine years after abandoning its role as the manager of Hotel Villa Magna. This week, the company has announced that it will manage the future hotel whose doors are going to open at number 31 Gran Vía, a property that is owned by the company Exacorp One, itself owned by the Mexican Díaz Estrada family.

The hotel chain will open an establishment there during the fourth quarter of this year, under the Hyatt Centric brand, according to a statement made this week by the firm. As such, it will become the first establishment to bear the hotel chain’s urban brand in Spain.

The future hotel will have 159 rooms, a restaurant called “Hielo y Carbón” (Coal and Ice) and a roof-top terrace, which will open during 2018. Jorge Díaz Estrada, Director of Exacorp, recognises that “the hotel’s central location, combined with its unique design, will attract business and pleasure travellers alike”.

In addition to this property, Díaz Estrada has entered Madrid’s real estate market with a bang in recent years with the purchase of several buildings. The most iconic property in its portfolio is Apple’s current flagship store in Puerta del Sol. In addition, the firm has acquired properties at numbers 25 and 27 Calle Montera.

Meanwhile, Hyatt’s return represents yet another boost for the hotel sector in the city. A real commitment from the international brands, which will be further strengthened by the arrival of Four Seasons in the Canalejas Complex and the W, which Starwood is going to open across the road. These establishments will encourage more international travellers and will, according to sources in sector, favour an increase in average prices for hoteliers.

In addition, a number of Spanish hotel chains have also strengthened their presence in the area in recent times. In this vein, Barceló has opened a hotel in Torre de Madrid, close to where Riu is expected to manage the future hotel in Edificio España. Meanwhile, NH, will open the doors to its new hotel on Gran Vía at the beginning of next year.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Laura Salces Acebes)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Irea: Hotel RevPAR rose by 12.7% In Madrid In 2015

14 July 2016 – Expansión

Tourism in Madrid is booming and recording some good results, both in terms of demand and the operating profit of hotels in a destination that was particularly affected by the crisis. In this way, the upwards trend in hotel profitability, which began in 2014, is expected to continue for the next few months. According to a report prepared by Irea, the city of Madrid, which recorded a 12.7% YoY increase in average revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2015, to €59.70, may see room rates return to their pre-crisis levels within the next twelve months.

The profitability of the hotel market in the capital, which closed 2008 with a RevPAR of €66, suffered from a decrease of almost 30% since the start of the crisis, but has been gradually recovering over the last two years.

In this vein, RevPAR grew by 2.8% during the first five months of this year to amount to €62.40.

In terms of demand, although occupancy rates continue to rise, the cumulative growth during the five months to May was 2.3%, compared with more accelerated growth during 2015. The main reason for this moderation (in growth) is that the International EAU Meeting has not been held in Madrid this year, since it is a bi-annual event.

Looking ahead to the next few months, hotel operators estimate growth of around 10% in terms of overnight stays during the summer season compared with last year.

Investor interest

The recovery of the hotel market in Madrid since 2013 is appealing to investors, who expect the recovery to continue into the medium term. The entry of new international hotel chains, such as Four Seasons, W and Hilton, as well as initiatives being carried out by the Town Hall to regenerate and pedestrianize the city centre, will continue to boost the recovery of this destination, according to Irea.

As a result, Madrid, unlike Barcelona, is continuing to generate interest amongst international investors, as evidenced by operations such as the purchase of Hotel Villamagna by the Turkish conglomerate Dogus Group and the sale of Hotel Suecia.

The shortage of products in Barcelona – Madrid’s main competitor – and the moratorium in the Cataluñan capital mean that Madrid is the most active investment market at the moment and the preferred target for domestic and international funds and family offices.

During 2015, investment in the hotel market in Madrid amounted to €582 million, compared with €163 million in 2014.

Original story: Expansión (by R.Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Meridia Capital Considers Creating A Hotel Socimi

21 January 2016 – Expansión

The fourth investment fund that Meridia Capital is going to launch will specialise in the acquisition of urban hotels and may be a Listed Real Estate Investment Company (Socimi).

The founder and CEO of the fund manager headquartered in Barcelona, Javier Faus, said at a forum organised by Exceltur in advance of Fitur that “there is capacity in Spain to have three or four Socimis specialising in the hotel sector”. “And not only in the holiday segment”, said Faus, referring to the only pure hotel Socimi in operation in Spain at the moment, namely, Bay, which was created last year as the result of an alliance between Barceló and Hispania. Faus acknowledged that Meridia is currently analysing whether its fourth fund “could be a hotel Socimi”.

“The final decision still needs to be taken, and although that will not happen for a few months, it will be taken in 2016”, he said. The CEO of Meridia also said that the new vehicle will specialise in urban hotels, although the firm still needs to decide whether it will lease or manage these properties and whether or not it will build up a multi-brand portfolio, containing hotels from various chains. Faus added that he has not yet started talks with any hotel group.

Nevertheless, he is very clear about the location of the assets: Madrid and Barcelona, “although the fund may allocate between 15% and 20% of its resources to investment in other countries”, he added.

Investors

The strong interest in Spain from the international markets is helping the Spanish Socimis, which are consequently not facing much difficulty when it comes to raising capital. The urban hotel segment continues to be one of the most attractive, given the strong performance of the tourist sector in Barcelona and the significant recovery that the business sector is experiencing in Madrid.

In fact, experts in the real estate sector say that the biggest problem at the moment is finding assets available for sale, although in the hotel sector the willingness of the large hotel chains to sell buildings and continue leasing and managing them (sale & leaseback) may represent an opportunity for the Socimis, which for the most part, are looking for assets that they can lease.

This would be Meridia’s fourth fund and it may be created almost in parallel to the third, which is currently being established and which is focusing on investment in real estate assets in general. Faus expects that the third fund will raise capital amounting to €250 million, mainly from institutional funds in the US and Europe, but also from insurance companies. Together with bank financing, he expects that it will invest around €600 million.

The previous fund, Meridia II, invested €400 million between 2014 and 2015, of which €150 million came from investors and the rest from bank financing. The first fund launched by Faus, in 2007, was devoted entirely to the hotel sector, and as such the Socimi that he is considering creating now would not be new territory for him. That first fund acquired hotels outside of Spain, operated by a variety of hotel brands. They included the Hotel Ritz-Carlton and the Crowne Plaza in Santiago de Chile, the Four Seasons in México DF, the InterContinental in Sao Paulo and the Hotel W París Ópera, as well as a stake in three resorts in Thailand operated by Six Senses (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Y. Blanco and M. Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Caja Madrid’s Former HQ Is Up For Sale

5 November 2015 – Cinco Días

The former headquarters of the Caja Madrid is up for sale. La Fundación Montemadrid has engaged Irea to search for a buyer for the historical building, located a short distance from the Puerta del Sol in Madrid.

La Fundación Montemadrid, formerly known as ‘Fundación Obra Social y Monte de Piedad de Madrid’, plans to sell the whole property, excluding the premises where Monte de Piedad undertakes its activity, which will be made independent from the rest of the building. In total, the property has a surface area of 25,000 m2, which maybe used as a hotel, retail or office space.

Sources in the market consider that it is likely that the building will be converted into a “luxury five-star” hotel, which may also include some retail space.

If the building is converted into a hotel, then it would be highly coveted by international operators, at a time when Spain is under the spotlight thanks to the decision by Four Seasons to operate the hotel in the Canalejas Complex, and the purchase of the Ritz by Mandarin and Olayan. Meanwhile, in the Plaza Mayor, the Portuguese group Pestana is planning to open a five-star hotel in the Casa de la Carnicería.

Domestic and international investors, both hotel chains and investment funds have already expressed their interest in the property, which could represent the gateway into Madrid for franchises such as Hyatt, Kempinski, Hilton, W and Shangri-La. The future hotel would have around 200 rooms, as well as terrace space measuring 3,000 m2, one of which would be on the roof, with panoramic views of the city. The price of the property could exceed €100 million, and the buyer would also have to factor in the cost of the refurbishment.

No architectural protection

One of the features of the property is the lack of architectural protection, with the exception of the baroque doorway that overlooks the Plaza de las Descalzas. This makes the building a unique opportunity in the centre of the capital, according to market sources, vis-à-vis the Canalejas project, which is being developed by Villar Mir, whose construction has been unblocked this week by the courts, and Edificio España, acquired by the Chinese group Wanda, which had requested permission to dismantle the protected façade of that building brick by brick, to then rebuild it. That request was rejected by the Local Historical Heritage Commission of Madrid. Market sources believe that the operation could be closed by the end of this year or the beginning of 2016, and that the property, if it does end up being converted into a hotel, would open its doors in 2018, after the Four Seasons.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake

BlueBay Signs JV With Nadhmi Auchi To Operate Hotel Miguel Angel

18 September 2015 – Cinco Días

The Madrilenian Hotel Miguel Angel is going to be operated by a prestigious player once more, but not one that has a significant international presence. The hotel chain BlueBay will manage the property from now on, after it reached an agreement with the owner, the Iraqui born Briton Nadhmi Auchi, who has been running the hotel since December 2013, when Occidental Hoteles departed, whereby putting an end to its operations in Spain.

All of the international hotel chains have had their eyes on Hotel Miguel Angel, amongst others, since the Four Seasons announced its arrival in Madrid, in the Canalejas complex, and Mandarin announced its acquisition of the Ritz. In the end, the Spanish firm BlueBay, owned by investor Jamal Satli Iglesias, will take over the management of the property, which has 267 rooms, under an agreement that will involve the creation of a joint venture between BlueBay and Nadhmi Auchi. Together, they will invest around €35 million on the refurbishment. The renovation will be completed over the next few months and will involve the creation of new facilities and the expansion of the gastronomic offer, according to the chain, which aims to convert the hotel into “one of the most emblematic luxury, 5-star establishments in the city and in Spain”, said the CEO of BlueBay, Joaquín Janer.

This operation is BlueBay’s first foray into Madrid – traditionally, the company has a strong presences in the holiday hotel market, but not in the city hotel segment – it owns one 3-star hotel in Barcelona and two hotels in Mérida (one 5-star and one 4-star). BlueBay’s portfolio contains 52 properties across 27 locations. It will soon add eight more assets as a result of its international expansion, which will take place in the Middle East, Latin America and Europe. In April, it announced its expansion into Morocco and it plans to start constructing four hotels in Brazil this quarter.

In Spain, BlueBay is also working to open two other properties, in Marbella and Estepona, in 2018, which will require an investment of around €100 million. The chain, founded in 1976, operates six brands, including the urban specialist BlueCity. The brand used to be owned by Marsans, but following that company’s bankruptcy in December 2009, the businessman Jamal Satli Iglesias acquired it from Posibilitum, in an operation that included the management of 11 hotels. Satli Iglesias also holds a stake in Málaga Football Club, through which he has a dispute pending with its chairman, Abdullah Al Thani.

Renovation of Madrid’s luxury hotels

The refurbishment of Miguel Angel will represent a new boost for the 5-star segment in the capital, following the arrival of Four Seasons, which resulted in a “pull effect” in Madrid for other major international operators. During this time, Mandarin joined forces with the Olayan Group to purchase the Ritz. Despite this, the city’s hotel market is still missing companies such as Hyatt, Kempiski, Hilton, W and Shangri-La, although the details of the Wanda group’s plans for its hotel project at Edificio España have not yet been revealed. One of the most tempting properties for investors and operators over the coming months will inevitably be the Villa Magna, whose owner rejected a purchase offer from Jaime Gilinski in August for €190 million, and the (Westin) Palace. The owners of the latter have set a sales price of €330 million for the establishment.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Laura Salces Acebes)

Translation: Carmel Drake