Gaw’s Spain JV is first step in European expansion: CEO

Hong Kong’s Gaw Capital Partners has a lot on its plate, and bigger ambitions still: It recently acquired a 50% stake in Spanish boutique hotel brand Hospes Hotel Group, in a joint venture with Omega Capital. Hospes, whose total asset is valued at €125 million (US$144.6 million), has 10 properties in Spain, and the JV aims to expand that presence in the red-hot Spanish market – and beyond. HOTELS asked GCP Hospitality CEO and co-founder Christophe Vielle about the joint venture and Gaw’s larger strategy in Europe.

Christophe Vielle, CEO of Gaw Capital Partners' GCP Hospitality
Christophe Vielle, CEO of Gaw Capital Partners’ GCP Hospitality

HOTELS: In terms of hospitality investments, what is Gaw Capital’s position in Europe?

Christophe Vielle: GCP Hospitality is currently expanding our hospitality footprint in Europe through our European Hospitality Fund I that focuses on the acquisition of hospitality assets in both established and emerging markets in the EU countries. The strategy is to acquire and reposition well-located, under-utilized, high-quality hospitality assets in these markets. GCP Hospitality recently acquired historical landmark The Intercontinental Porto Palacio Das Cardosas in Porto, Portugal, in June (besides the Hospes Group investment).

H: What potential do you see in Spain, given its strong tourism numbers?

CV: Hospes Group is one of Spain’s leading brands and operators within the luxury and heritage boutique hotel segment. Currently the group’s luxury boutique hotels are situated in various prime locations across Spain, including Madrid, Alicante, Granada, Valencia, Mallorca, Córdoba and Seville, which are all benefiting from strong tourism numbers and have a very positive outlook it terms of travelers growth. As such we are looking at further enhancing their performance as well as developing the brand in cities with a strong tourism traction, such as Barcelona, for example.

H: Where in Southern Europe are you considering expanding?

CV: We are actively looking at opportunities to expand Hospes’ portfolio in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France.

H: How could the JV with Omega evolve, and how did you come to connect with Omega on the project?

CV: We are thrilled to form a joint venture with Omega Capital to acquire a 50% stake in Hospes Hotel Group. Entering the Spanish market with one of Spain’s most distinguished entrepreneurs marks an important milestone for us, as we look at expanding our presence in Europe and tap the abundant opportunities in one of the world’s most popular tourism markets. We will be leveraging the reputation of Hospes Group as well as our international network to increase the brand’s footprint by opening more properties in tourist areas and strategic cities within Spain and Southern Europe.