AXA and Blasson JV buy five-star Hotel Sofia in Barcelona

AXA IM Alts has confirmed the acquisition of five-star Hotel Sofia in Barcelona in a joint venture partnership with Blasson Property Investments, which will act as operating partner. The seller was Selenta Group, Brookfield’s Spanish hospitality platform.

Located in Barcelona's central business district Les Corts, the 19-storey Hotel Sofia comprises 465 rooms, two bars, a restaurant, café, rooftop restaurant and bar terrace, as well as wellness facilities such as a spa, gym, and indoor and outdoor pools.

The building was erected in 1974 and underwent significant renovation between 2016 and 2019. Following its acquisition, AXA will launch a repositioning programme, after which the hotel will be operated by Hyatt International.

No transaction details were shared by Axa. However, in March Spanish newspaper Expansión reported a purchase price of €180 million.

The acquisition expands AXA IM Alts' hotel portfolio to over 13,000 rooms across 60 hotels in 13 countries, valued at over €4 billion.

Why it matters

The acquisition highlights the growing confidence and investor interest in the Spanish hospitality sector. According to real estate consultancy CBRE, investment in hotels in Spain in the first quarter of 2023 stood at €365 million.

SCPI PFO, a fund managed by Perial Asset Management recently bought the Dolce Sitges Barcelona, a five-star hotel in Spain’s Catalonia region from global alternative investments manager Angelo Gordon for €63 million. And Spanish REIT Atom Hoteles has also sold the Hotel Ibersol Antemare in Sitges for €10 million to an undisclosed buyer. The transaction activity in 2023 signals a positive trend for the hospitality market.

What they said

Esther Escapa, head of real estate transactions and development Iberia, at AXA IM Alts said: “With the delivery of new hotels in Barcelona constrained yet year-round demand for hospitality in the dynamic city continuing in an upward trajectory, this acquisition represents an opportunity to leverage AXA IM Alts’ market-leading asset management expertise to upgrade a high-quality asset and capitalise on favourable market demographics.”