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ORLANDO-In a deal local hospitality consultants estimate will be in the billions, locally based Hard Rock International Inc. is joint venturing with Madrid-based Sol Melia Hotels and Resorts to develop “lifestyle” Hard Rock condominium hotels at select resorts owned by Vancouver, BC-based Intrawest Corp. The 50-50 joint venture is called Lifestar Hotels LLC.

The deal brings together three of the world’s largest owners and operators in the hospitality industry. The first development sites will be announced shortly, according to a prepared statement from Hard Rock’s Orlando headquarters. The value of the deal to each participant wasn’t disclosed. Neither were the number of properties and the estimated total rooms to be developed.

However, area construction sources who have participated in mega-sized resort projects worldwide tell GlobeSt.com the lifestyle hotels will probably have a hard construction cost of at least $300,000 per room. By comparison, most 100-room to 200-room non-luxury hotels are generally constructed for under $100,000 per room, construction sources tell GlobeSt.com.

Principals at the three companies couldn’t be reached by GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline. However, in the prepared statement, Intrawest president and CEO Gary Raymond explains the lifestyle hotel concept. “Our resorts are known for their animated pedestrian villages and a Hard Rock Hotel location will become a central meeting place for all visitors,” Raymond says.

Trevor Horwell, vice president of Hard Rock Hotels, calls the proposed condominium hotel concept “a unique hotel product” that is expected to “maximize return for hotel owners through our unique positioning and business model.” Hard Rock International Inc. is owned by the Rank Group Plc of London. Hard Rock International has 120 Hard Rock Cafes and 13 Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in 40 countries.

Intrawest has interests in 10 resorts at North America’s most popular mountain destinations, including Whistler Blackcomb, a host venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Intrawest owns Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest heli-skiing operation in the world, the company says.

The Intrawest network also includes Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in north Florida, and Club Intrawest, a private resort club with nine locations throughout North America. The company develops real estate at its resorts and at other locations across North America and in Europe.

Sol Melia Hotels and Resorts is recognized in the industry as the No. 3 hotel chain in Europe and No. 10 in the world. The company says it is also the largest resort hotel operator in the world. Sol Melia has 350 hotels in 30 countries throughout Europe, the Americas, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific through its Melia Hotels, Tryp Hotels, Sol Hotels, Paradisus Resorts and Hard Rock Hotels brands.

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