Sol Meliá and Rank Develop Hard Rock Hotels

The hotel chain Sol Meliá and leisure and entertainment company Rank Group, owner of the Hard Rock brand, have created an exclusive joint venture whose principal objective will be the development of Hard Rock hotels mainly in the Americas and Europe. The signature of the agreement took place in Palma de Majorca (Spain) today, and was attended by the Vice Chairman and CEO of Sol Meliá, Sebastián Escarrer, the CEO of the Rank Group, Mike Smith, and the Vice President of Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts, Trevor Horwell.

Wednesday, 18th. June, 2003. The hotel chain Sol Meliá and leisure and entertainment company Rank Group, owner of the Hard Rock brand, have created an exclusive joint venture whose principal objective will be the development of Hard Rock hotels mainly in the Americas and Europe. The signature of the agreement took place in Palma de Majorca (Spain) today, and was attended by the Vice Chairman and CEO of Sol Meliá, Sebastián Escarrer, the CEO of the Rank Group, Mike Smith, and the Vice President of Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts, Trevor Horwell.

Mike Smith, Chief Executive of Rank, said: “combining the hotel expertise of Sol Meliá, the power of the Hard Rock brand and the financial support from Becker, we now have a strong platform upon which to build an additional source of revenue.”

The joint venture signed today specifies that Sol Meliá will be responsible for the management, marketing and distribution of the Hard Rock Hotels developed henceforth, while Hard Rock Hotels will take charge of the concept, design and brand development of affiliated hotels, as well as of the addition of further properties.

The first Hard Rock Hotel to be managed by the joint venture will provide 381 rooms in Chicago and is scheduled to open late 2003. The opening of the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago will represent the first Sol Meliá hotel in the United States, a country in which the hotel chain aims to increase its presence with the addition of further Hard Rock Hotels in cities such as New York. Sol Meliá will thus strengthen its sales and distribution network in the US market, adding to the widespread penetration it has already achieved in Latin America and the Caribbean, an area where it is now the leading hotel chain.

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The joint venture with the Rank Group forms part of a development strategy based around alliances with major companies in the leisure and entertainment business recently implemented by Sol Meliá, with aims to extend such deals in the future. The venture also continues a long history of the creating a innovative hotel products, launching a new hotel concept which will perfectly combine the worlds of business and leisure within a unique environment with a very special approach to music, culture and cuisine.

A development project with strong financial backing:
Future projects include the development of additional Hard Rock Hotels in city and resort destinations in Europe and the Americas such as New York, Madrid, Barcelona ...

Financial support for the business venture will come from the Rank Group`s relationship with Becker Ventures LLC, one of the most significant private investors in real estate projects in the United States. Becker, which is already a co-owner of the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, has agreed to provide funds of up to 1 billion dollars to finance the development of future projects. The joint-venture will thus not require operating funds and will focus on the development of management and franchise contracts.

The Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, the result of a restructuring of the old Carbide and Carbon Building, a striking building inaugurated in 1929 with 40 floors standing at over 150 meters in height and with a magnificent location right along Michigan Avenue, will become the seventh Hard Rock Hotel in the world and the first to be developed by the joint venture between Sol Meliá and the Rank Group, a venture which will now have exclusive rights to the development of the hotel brand.

“Hard Rock Hotels are a new type of superior category hotel (4 star superior to 5 star) characterized by a unique atmosphere provided by innovative design and the application of Hard Rock branding concepts mainly inspired by the worlds of music and movies”.
Sebastian Escarrer, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sol Meliá said: “The company aims to respond to the emerging needs of experienced 21st. century travelers, seeking something different from their business and leisure trips and a hotel with personality and soul”. Our objective, adds, “is to create a new concept of hotel which is exceptional not only because of its particular decoration, but also due to the perfect harmony of all the elements that integrate it: the capacity to create different surroundings, the kindness and courtesy of its employees, the clothing adapted to each hotel, the light atmosphere, different concepts of gastronomy, and all, absolutely integrated.”

The combination of one of the world`s leading hotel companies, with almost 50 years of experience in the business, and one of the world`s most significant leisure and entertainment groups will mould this new hotel concept to ensure guests enjoy a unique and unforgettable experience. The venture will have the assistance of prestigious designers such as Yabu Pushelberg, who has worked with W Hotels and Four Seasons, as well as the example of the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, while the company also expects to reach agreements with major bar and restaurant groups such as “China Grill”, “Nobu” or “Asia de Cuba”, amongst others.

Hard Rock is one of the world`s most recognized brands and operates a network of more than 100 cafés in 38 countries and a major music collection. There are currently 4 Hard Rock hotels located in Orlando (650 rooms), Bali (418), Pattaya (320) and Las Vegas (670), and there are two additional projects in Tampa (250 rooms) and Florida (500 rooms), as well as in Chicago.
Sol Meliá is the leading hotel company in Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean, the third largest in Europe and tenth in the world ranking. The company currently provides more than 350 hotels in 30 countries through its Meliá Hotels, TRYP Hotels, Sol Hotels and Paradisus Resorts brands. Rank Group is one of the leading companies in the leisure and entertainment business in the UK, with interests in casinos, bingo halls, on-line gaming, Hard Rock Cafés and the rights to the Hard Rock brand, as well as one of the leading service providers to the international movie industry. Rank Group is quoted on the London (UK) and New York (USA) stock exchanges, has a staff of 20,000 employees and revenues in 2002 of 2,070 million Euros.
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