Europe -  Barcelona, Spain

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Barcelona has established itself as a favourite short-break leisure destination in line with cities such as Paris, London and Amsterdam. It has a wealth of cultural attractions, including a well-preserved medieval centre, and a reputation for being a centre of modern and avant-garde art. The city boasts a vast cultural heritage of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, as well as other notable Catalan artists such as Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. Barcelona is also an important banking and financial centre, and its transport links and proximity to France have helped to attract considerable foreign investment. In addition, Barcelona is a growing centre for meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition (MICE) business as well as becoming an increasingly important port of call for cruise ships.

Tourism arrivals have been growing at a steady pace over the last few years (a 6.0% increase in visitation in 2019), but tourism might soon face a cap as Barcelona is flooded each summer by day trippers from nearby beach destinations and cruise ships.

Following residents’ concerns of ‘over-tourism’ in the city, in July 2015 the mayor placed a moratorium on approving new hotel developments and short-term rentals; this tourism moratorium was extended in 2016 for an additional year. Eventually, in March 2017, the moratorium was substituted with the Special Tourist Accommodation Plan (PEUAT), which was approved by Full Council on 27 January 2017. The PEUAT sustains the purpose of the moratorium, regulating the introduction of tourist accommodation establishments, as well as youth hotels, collective residences with temporary accommodation and tourist apartments.

From 2009 until 2017, RevPAR in Barcelona increased at an average rate of around 5.0%, powered by increases in both occupancy and average rate. RevPAR changes in 2015 and 2016 were especially significant, at around 10.0% each year. The civil unrest and demonstrations that followed the 1 October 2017 Catalan Independence Referendum had a direct impact on tourism and resulted in performance declines for 2018. Although occupancy levels remained stable during this period, this was to the detriment of average rate, which dropped by around 4.0%. After several months of stability, the city’s performance recovered in 2019, with increases in both occupancy and average rate. As a result, hotel values in Barcelona increased by around 6.5% in 2019 and surpassed 2017 levels in nominal terms. Performance in 2020 contracted significantly on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related lockdowns and travel restrictions, resulting in a decline in hotel values of almost 13.0%.  

Barcelona remains one of the most successful European short-break destinations and, once the COVID-19 pandemic is contained, the city is likely to stay as such over the years to come, regardless of the political and governmental changes that may lie ahead. In addition, given the aforementioned PEUAT, the pipeline situation in Barcelona’s city centre remains uncertain. The few projects that had planning permission, such as the 156-room Kimpton Vividora and the 100-room Occidental 414 Diagonal, have already entered the market, with the future for new hotels in the city centre thereafter remaining relatively uncertain.

From a transactions perspective, the city has remained relatively liquid. The 240-room The Gates Barcelona transacted in 2019 for an undisclosed sum. In addition, the 92-room K+K Hotel Picasso transacted as part of a pan-European portfolio including nine other hotels (1,192 rooms) for a total of around €385 million. The beginning of 2020 saw the acquisition by Spanish group Catalonia Hotels & Resorts of the former 92-room NH La Maquinista hotel, in the northeast of the city, from Grupo Edificios Onix, for a reported €11.5 million (€125,000 per room). In the [email protected] District, Meridia Capital Partners acquired the 84-room Hesperia Barcelona del Mar, a four-star hotel on the beach front. Moreover, in December 2020, real estate fund manager ActivumSG (ASG) acquired the 259-room Nobu Hotel Barcelona from Catalan owner Selenta Group for a reported €80 million (€309,000 per room).

Change In Value For Market: (€Euro)

Significant Value Increase: Greater than +10%
Moderate Value Increase: Between +3% and +10%
Stable Values: Between -3% and +3%
Moderate Value Decline: Between -3% and -10%
Significant Value Decline: Less than -10%

For more information, please contact:

Sophie Perret, MRICS, MBA
[email protected]
  • +44 20 7878 7722 (w)
Nikola Miljković
[email protected]
  • +44 20 7878-7721 (w)
  • +44 7 593572865 (m)