New Spanish investment in Buenos Aires: reopens the former Sofitel hotel on Arroyo street, Retiro, with new owners and a different brand

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After being closed for five years, the former Sofitel hotel on Arroyo Street will reopen with new owners. The Spanish chain Único Hotels reached an agreement with the Bencich family to lease the historic Retiro building for the next 20 years and to reopen the five-star hotel at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2024.

“Everything is signed and now it remains to move forward with the remodelling of the facilities and define the brand with which we are going to operate in Buenos Aires,” Pau Guardans I Cambó, owner of Único Hotels, explained to the nation. The investment in the remodelling and reopening of the hotel will be around US$6 million.

Único Hotels defines itself as a collection of hotels rather than as a chain. The firm was born in Madrid in 2004 and currently operates half a dozen luxury establishments in Madrid, Barcelona and the Spanish Costa Brava. “This is the first investment outside of Spain and beyond the fact that Argentina is always a destination that I liked, due to a family inheritance issue (my grandfather went into exile in Buenos Aires and my parents got married here), we believe that the city It has great tourist potential. In Buenos Aires, there are large luxury hotels that could be anywhere else in the world, but there is no proposal that reflects what the city is”, explained Guardians.

One of the points that remain to be defined is the brand with which the hotel will reopen. “The brand is not going to be Único, because our group is characterized by the fact that each hotel has its own personality and having many Único hotels would be a contradiction. Now we are analyzing several alternatives for the name and we still do not have them registered, but the only thing we have confirmed is that the brand will be accompanied by the legend ‘by Único Hotels’”, explained Guardians in dialogue with THE NATION.

The new hotel will be built in the Bencich building, also known as the Mihanovich tower because it was ordered to be built by the shipping businessman Nicolás Mihanovich in 1925 and was inaugurated four years later. A few months after its completion, Mihanovich died and the Bencich brothers, owners of the construction company that had built the tower, bought the property.

For more than 70 years, the building functioned as a residential tower, until at the end of the ’90s the French group Accor reached an agreement with the Bencich family to recycle the tower into a luxury hotel.

In 2002, the inauguration of the Sofitel Arroyo hotel was completed, which functioned as a five-star hotel until the end of 2017, when the lease agreement that Accor had with the Argentine family, owner of the property, expired. A year later the pandemic hit and the tower remained closed for more than five years.

New Hotel Operator

The company that closed the agreement with the Bencich family to reopen the emblematic building is called Hotel Arroyo SA and is made up of Guardians and two local partners: the real estate developer Diego Mazer and the hotel operator Marcelo Wolodarsky.

Mazer is a former Alto Palermo -from the time when the mall was in the hands of his father-in-law, businessman Sergio Grosskopf-, and who is now in charge of the developer Grupo DMaz, which was in charge of building and marketing the Chateau Libertador and Chateau Puerto Madero buildings. For his part, Wolodarsky is the operator of the Four Seasons hotel in Buenos Aires, which belongs to Albwardy Investment, the holding company of billionaire Ali Saeed Juma Albwardy of Dubai.

“My local partners were the ones who approached me with the business and now we are in a double capacity as investors and hotel operators”, explained Guardians.

Source: La Nacion

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