CELEBRITY forays into business haven’t always ended well.
Just because you can kick a ball about doesn’t mean you can launch a cologne – just like you wouldn’t expect a perfume maker to bicycle kick on the volley.
That said, David Beckham nets a cool €60,000 a day from his branding businesses, including Homme by Beckham Fragrances.
And Lionel Messi’s venture MiM Hotels is buying up real estate in Spain’s most luxurious settings at the rate of one hotel a year.
There’s also Richard Branson who relaunched his 700-acre Mallorcan retreat – with a private beach – charging guests upwards of €17,000 a week.
With some diamond-studded enclaves, Spain is a profitable place for many celebrities taking the leap into the luxury hotel business.
Even if economic recessions and poor business tack haven’t been kind to them.
Here are 10 hotels you didn’t know were owned by celebrities in Spain.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Pestana CR7 Gran Via Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo breaks records in his sleep.
But if scoring the most goals in most major competitions isn’t enough, the Portuguese number 7 has bought up his first slice of Spanish real estate as a hotelier.
Linking up with hotel chain Dionisio Pestana, the Pestana CR7 Gran Via Madrid nearly flopped before it had even opened.
The company lost €340,000 over 2019 and 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hampered opening.
Pestana CR7 Gran Via Madrid finally had a ‘soft launch’ in June 2021 and is currently open with prices just north of €120 a night.
If Ronaldo has a bit of a reputation as an egomaniac, his first hotel in his Madeira island home of Funchal has even more so.
Guests sleep under creepy illustrations of Ronaldo and his family, while Cristiano slogans like ‘to be the best you need the best’ adorn the walls.
According to a TV report of Gran Via Madrid, however, guests only need put up with Cristiano’s boxer short merchandise and each floor called a different name like #fairplay or #teamwork.
2. Lionel Messi – MiM Hotels
Argentine and PSG superstar Lionel Messi invested in his first hotel back in 2017.
The 4-star hotel in Sitges just south of Barcelona boasts a luxurious ‘hydrotherapy circuit’ with a DJ-stocked sky bar just 50m from the Mediterranean.
Messi’s partnership with Majestic Hotel Group – MiM Hotels – obviously made a success of it as each year hence they’ve bought a new one.
The expansion began with Ibiza in 2018, Mallorca in 2019, Andorra in 2020, Baqueria Beret in 2020 and Sotogrande in 2022.
The ‘boutique hotels’ now sit on Spain’s most famous coastlines and mountain ski resort.
Not everyone is particularly pleased as Messi, however.
The recent purchase in Sotogrande at the emblematic Hotel Club Maritimo saw an unwelcome shake up with 40 staff dismissed.
San Roque’s mayor called the move ‘unjust’, though local protests are unlikely to stop the new MIM Sotogrande Club Maritimo from opening in April 2022.
3. Terry Venables – La Escondida, Penaguila in Alicante
Terry Venables might be best known as the Dagenham-born former football coach of England and Barcelona.
But while he told reporters in 2017 he still ‘regretted’ losing to Germany at Euro ‘96 he’s not stopped looking forwards either.
Since 2014 with wife Yvette, Venables has been running La Escondida luxury resort in the hills of Alicante, about 35-minutes inland from the Costa Blanca.
The couple initial bought the 500-acre plot with a rundown hostal over 20 years ago, before going public in 2014.
Taking inspiration from Venables’ parents’ own pub the Royal Oak in Chingford, Essex, La Escondida now boasts Michelin-star trained chefs putting on private dinners with a view.
He originally wanted to turn the land into a football academy, which left the place with a pristine green lawn next to the pool.
Prices start at at least €100 a night off-season.
4. Juan Carlos Ferrero – Ferrero Hotel in Bocairent
Spain’s former world no. 1 tennis player has had a troubled run with his Hotel Ferrero in Bocairent, Valencia.
The 5-star farmhouse resort boasting 120,000m2 of botanical gardens and wilderness has nearly collapsed at least once since opening in 2007.
Built on an old convent, Ferrero redesigned the place with the help of Valencian architect Luis Sendra to make 12 suites, of which six have their own jacuzzi on the terrace.
The complex went up for sale in 2012 with rumours it had closed due to renovation costs.
But by 2018 Ferrero had reopened under the same name, and you can bag a room with fine tennis courts for at least €100 a night in the off-season.
5. Robert De Niro – Nobu Hotels
Robert De Niro is well known for many things – and his hotel chain is now one of them.
Partnering up with renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa and American producer Meir Teper, De Niro helped launch the luxury Nobu Hotels chain.
The business operates 5-star hotels in Chicago, Las Vegas, London (Portman Square and Shoreditch), Los Cabos, Malibu, Miami Beach, Palo Alto, Warsaw and of course Spain.
Nobu’s hotels in Spain are in Marbella, Barcelona, Ibiza Bay and with San Sebastian set to open in 2022.
Watch out for the prices though – Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay has prices starting at €550 a night from April.
6. Alan Sugar – Byblos Hotel, Mijas
Strictly, the Byblos Hotel should not be in this list.
Because, sadly, it has changed hands twice since British business tycoon Alan Sugar sold it in 2016.
Most recently the Junta de Andalucia has announced it will pump €20 million into getting this iconic Costa del Sol hotel back up and running.
The Byblos Hotel shot to fame after opening in 1986 as a celebrity hotspot, popular with the likes of the Rolling Stones and Princess Diana.
It was here that paparazzi snapped the infamous pictures of a topless Lady Di just as she withdrew from public life following revelations of a relationship with James Hewitt.
Julio Iglesias, Antonio Banderas and the Saudi Royal family were also known to frequent the chic resort until it closed and Sugar acquired it in 2009.
Though he reportedly bought the place for under €3 million, it had over €24 million in debts and needed at least another €8 million to do up the 135 rooms, pools and grounds.
Following legal battles with a former developer Sugar sold the land for €60 million to developer Ayco in 2016, before changing hands again just a few years later.
The hotel will feature in the 5th season of Netflix drama The Crown.
7. Gerard Pique – €50 million of not much yet
Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique is a household name in Spain for his 100+ Spanish caps and high-profile marriage to Shakira.
He’s also attracted attention for his business ventures – and misadventures.
He first started a hamburger restaurant in Barcelona called Yours, though that closed in 2018.
Later on he partnered with ultra-cool design firm En Compañia de Lobos (in the company of wolves) to launch the Blue Spot restaurant in 2018.
The celebrity hangout enjoyed 360-degree views of Barcelona’s beachfront but still had to file for bankruptcy in 2020.
Not one to give up, Pique and his family-run investment business announced in 2021 their purchase of prime land in Malaga on the Costa del Sol.
The €20 million buyout purchased land home to the former Cine Andalucia which was knocked down in 2014.
A further €30 million is needed to build up a new 5-star hotel and make it third-time lucky for Pique.
According to Spain’s business registry, however, Kerad Holding lost €2.1 million in 2020.
That’s the investment business Pique owns a major 50% stake in.
8. David Silva – Amadores Beach Club
Another Spanish footballing genius – the world cup winner David Silva – has shown better form than former teammate Pique over the years.
The Canarian-born Real Sociedad player has owned one of Europe’s biggest beach club resorts.
Amadores Beach Club enjoys 7500m2 of pools, bars and beach with everything from champagne areas to straw-roofed cabins to snooze in the subtropical shade.
Silva reportedly poured €6 million into the hotel in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria
Aside from being partner to a hotel business, Silva also invested into developing properties in Las Palmas with a price tag over €1.2 million.
And if that’s not enough, in 2022 he’s just opened up the new Perchel Beach Club in Arguineguín where he grew up.
9. Miguel Bose – Hotel Monasterio Rocamador, Extremadura
Pop singer Miguel Bose is another one who’s foray into hotels in Spain hasn’t turned out so well.
Bose spent €5 million to buy up the land surrounding a 16th century convent before opening it up in 1997.
The Hotel Monasterio Rocamador was a hit with grammy award-winning Alejandro Sanz and became home to the wedding of actress Aitana Sanchez-Gijon with sculptor Papin Luccadane.
Bose went really native in Extremadura and even began selling high-quality cured jamon, winning an Espiga de Oro in 2011.
Effects of the economic crisis however saw the Hotel Monasterio Rocamador close down in 2012.
A local wine business in recent years invested in the hotel, and it has reopened its doors as a 4-star hotel.
10. Richard Branson – Son Bunyola, Mallorca
When Richard Branson isn’t on his Caribbean island or homes in Kenya, South Africa, London, Switzerland or Morocco (or space) he spends time in Mallorca.
He once owned his La Residencia hotel there, in Deia, the name he also gave to his daughter Eva-Deia.
Until 2002 he also owned the stunning Sun Bunyola estate covering 700 acres of land from the Tramuntana mountains to the sea.
The Mediterranean paradise even lets guests wander down to a secluded pebble beach far away from any tourist.
The estate boasts three luxury villas (San Balagueret, Sa Punta de S’Aguila and Sa Terra Rotja) with private pools and sunset views.
Prices start at an eye-watering €17k per week – you’ve been warned!
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