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Press Clipping 2011

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Press Releases

30th September 2011

British developers the Esencia Group and their Cuban partners Palmares are delighted to announce their partnership with the Jacklin Design Group.  Tony Jacklin CBE will assist in the design of the ocean fronting 18 hole championship course at The Carbonera Club www.thecarboneraclub.com. Located just outside Varadero on the islands spectacular northern coast, The Carbonera Club is a new five star resort, one of only four golf resorts under final negotiation on the island. The course will be complimented by a Jacklin Academy of Golf set within the other resort facilities, such as marina and spa, for pros and amateurs alike to enjoy.

Jacklin on his first visit to the island in April 2011 was Guest of Honour at The Montecristo Cup 2011 www.themontesristocup.com and commented,

“Cuba is an ideal location for golf tournaments and has a bright future with regard to courses…where else can you light up a cigar and strike the ball?”

Golf resort developers Palmares who are involved in a number of exciting golf resorts across the island expressed their gratitude to Tony for his visit and help in promoting both the tournament and the many attractions for golf in Cuba.

Tony Jacklin is set to take a prominent role in the development of golf in Cuba in the future. With just one 18 hole and one 9 hole golf course in Cuba, officials have seen a demand from locals and visitors to the island for more golfing facilities. The golfing landscape in Cuba is currently limited however, as Andrew Macdonald (CEO of Esencia Group) commented ´the last two years Montecristo Cup winners have always had a local Cuban among the prize winners, perhaps their knowledge of local conditions gives an advantage.....we are delighted to have a legend like Tony assist us in growing  this sport in Cuba´.

The two existing golf courses in Cuba include the 18 hole course in Varadero www.varaderogolfclub.com and the 9 Hole Capdevilla course in Havana. Palmares has four projects in the pipeline which will be coming to fruition in the forthcoming months.

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Notes to Editors:

Tony Jacklin
Tony Jacklin's memorable brilliance revitalized British and ultimately European golf. At the age of 26, he broke all performance records in the history of British golf. In doing so, he simply did for British golf what Arnold Palmer did for golf in America.

In 1969 Tony became the first British player since Max Faulkner in 1951 to win the British Open at Royal Lytham. One year later, Tony achieved even greater heights becoming the first player since Ben Hogan to hold both the U.S. and British Open titles simultaneously upon his triumph at Hazeltine Golf Club.

Shortly after his US Open victory, Tony returned to Europe to help launch the European Tour and his international acclaim undoubtedly played a critical role in developing and raising the profile of the European Tour that stands today.

In 1983, Jacklin accepted the role of Ryder Captain and went on to transform the Ryder Cup to its current status. Jacklin set the wheels in motion to end U.S. domination nearly pulling off an improbable upset. In 1985, he was the inspirational non-playing captain for Europe's first victory in the Ryder Cup in 28 years. In 1987, he captained the team that won on American soil for the first time and finally in 1989, Jacklin's team retained the Cup for the first time in its history. His infectious enthusiasm and indomitable spirit energized his team and lifted its confidence.

Today, Tony Jacklin owns the Jacklin Design Group operating in the golf course design and development business. The company prides itself on developing long-term mutually beneficial relationship with clients, and with Tony’s personal involvement in every project, clients are assured of the quality of service, attention to detail and professionalism for which Tony Jacklin is respected around the world.

Palmares S.A.

Palmares is a Cuban organization supervised by the Ministry of Tourism.  Palmares has developed over 1,000 projects throughout Cuba, including the Cabaret Tropicana, La Bodeguita del Medio, El Floridita and the Varadero Golf Course.

Esencia Group

Esencia has been working and developing plans with Palmares SA for various golf resorts over several years. The most advanced resort, where Palmares and Esencia began development work over three years ago is The Carbonera Club where final approval and its opening date will shortly be announced.

For more press information please contact PRCo in London Tel: 020 7259 1144

Emily Lewis elewis@prco.com or Katherine Cain kcain@prco.com

UK leisure company enters first strategic partnership with Cuban Government to create first golf resort helping boost tourism.

Esencia Hotels & Resorts agrees to form joint venture with Palmares SA, part of Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism to develop world class golf resort.

UK leisure company Esencia Hotels & Resorts (Esencia) part of the Havana Holdings Group, today announces the formation of a strategic partnership with Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism to develop the first 6* country club resort with world class golf facilities in Cuba. The development investment for this new integrated resort – the Carbonera Golf & Country Club - will be in the region of Euro 350 million.

This partnership, the first significant direct investment into Cuba Tourism by a British company, comes as a result of the Cuban Government’s desire to improve and diversify the country’s tourism offering. The decision to progress with this landmark development symbolises the first of many opportunities that Cuba represents for international investors, as the Government seeks to boost the country’s economy.

This strategic agreement also reinforces the Ministry of Tourism’s continued commitment to improving Cuba’s tourism product. This undertaking to improve the quality and diversity of the country’s tourism product is in response to meeting the needs and discerning tastes of today’s traveller. Cuba welcomed over 2 million visitors in 2007 who generated Euro 1.3 billion in revenue.

The Ministry of Tourism appreciates the importance of golf, as it forms an integral part of the modern tourism product, and therefore has been working on a development strategy for golf for a number of years. Golf tourism is also a tremendous revenue generator. Unlike many of its Caribbean neighbours Cuba currently has just one golf course.

For many tourists, access to high quality golf facilities is a key determinant when choosing a holiday destination. Golf tourism is also an excellent generator of repeat business, as many players return to their favourite course year after year.

Andrew Macdonald, chief executive of Esencia Hotels & Resorts and Havana Holdings commented: “Through our sister company Havana Holdings, which manages the Floridita brand across Europe, we have had a mutually successful commercial relationship with Cuba for over five years. Today’s announcement is the culmination of years of constructive dialogue. Cuba for those who don’t know is the ‘true’ Caribbean because of its rich and vibrant culture, its diverse and stunning scenery, and its well-established infrastructure and services. The Carbonera Golf & Country Club will be the first truly integrated golf resort in Cuba, and we believe that there is potential to develop many more 6* resorts across the island. Cuba is similar in size to Britain, which has over 2,000 golf courses, so there is plenty of scope to develop first class golf facilities…there is only one golf course today!”.

Esencia has brought together a world class team to deliver the luxuriously appointed Carbonera Golf & Country Club, located on 150 hectares of beach fronted virgin land overlooking the Florida Straits. These experts include Galeon, the Spanish property management company; PGA Design Consulting who act on all matters relating to design and development on behalf of the Professional Golf Association of Great Britain and Ireland; Savills Real Estate; Rafael de La-Hoz, a leading Spanish architectural firm and Oneworks, a leading Italian architectural practice. The real estate model for this development is currently being finalised and will either be in the form of long leasehold or freehold agreement. Construction of the Carbonera Golf & Country Club will commence in 2009.

The Carbonera Golf & Country Club will include:

Rogelio Curbelo, Director, Cuba Tourist Board commented on today’s announcement: “Thanks to the hard work of Andrew and other members of the team we are delighted to form this partnership, and believe it will be of significant benefit to both parties. This joint venture with Esencia is the first large scale investment from the UK. The market is becoming increasingly important to Cuba as visitor numbers increased by more than 15 per cent in the past year, and a significant proportion of which came from the UK.”

Esencia Hotels & Resorts’ Chairman, Michael Phair said: “This is an exciting time for Cuba and for investment in Cuba. We are well aware of the tremendous potential that Cuba has to offer international investors. The Ministry of Tourism has expressed the desire to enhance its tourism product by embracing the concept of working with international partners such as Esencia to deliver high end cutting edge integrated resorts, like the Carbonera. This type of strategic vision and commitment to tourism will help truly differentiate Cuba from its Caribbean neighbours.”

Robert (Bob) Hunt, Chairman of PGA Design Consulting added: We are delighted to be associated with this landmark development as Cuba has tremendous potential to become the next ‘hotspot’ for golf. The Cuba proposition ticks all the boxes for golf playing visitors – a fascinating and beautiful island with a high quality tourism product offering the latest world class golf facility in the Caribbean. As the popularity of golf continues to go from strength to strength, and Cuba continues to develop its golf offer, there is tremendous potential to increase tourism revenue considerably in the next 10 years.”

For further press information please contact:

John Considine
Tel. 44 (0) 77 93 451 652

Notes to Editor:

Havana Holdings Group – Esencia Hotels & Resorts
Havana Holdings was founded in 2001 with the central objective of building the Floridita brand into a leading bar restaurant within Europe combining the promotion of La Casa del Habano cigar retail and other cultural activities. Main industry specific shareholders include D&D London (formerly Conran with its 26 restaurants spread over three continents), Kiluva SA (with their Natur House brand have approximately 1,500 locations in eighteen countries) and Boisdale plc (a restaurant group famed for its jazz and cigars).

Esencia Hotels & Resorts was incorporated to embrace the Cuban in-country business opportunities, contracts have already been signed for a chain of boutique hotels throughout Cuba with the leading hotel group Gran Caribe. The first hotel in Havana, Hotel Victoria should be open early 2010 and then following with a Hotel and Spa in Viñales, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Galeón is a leading property asset management boutique focusing mainly on the Spanish and Latin markets. The company currently manage €100 million plus of property portfolios working for some of the established UK based funds.

PGA Design Consulting
The PGA is a members' organisation for golf professionals and is dedicated to training and serving golf professionals whose principal aim is to offer a highly professional service to amateur golfers at a club, driving range or other golf establishment.

Now based at Centenary House at the famous Belfry, scene of four Ryder Cups, the Association is flourishing with more than 7,000 members. Most are club professionals specialising in the core subjects of coaching and retailing, but increasing numbers are occupying managerial roles within golf clubs and resorts, both at home and overseas.

One Works
One Works is a leading architecture, infrastructure and urban engineering practice, serving both private and public markets. Based in Milan, Venice and Rome, partners share a long-standing experience in planning, urbanism and architecture.

Rafael de La-Hoz
The Madrid-based Rafael de La-Hoz studio currently employs more than 65 architects, designers and technicians. Since its inception eighty years ago the Rafael de la Hoz projects have embraced a wide spectrum of architectural typologies, from development and construction planning, to urban design and restoration.

Conran UK & Partners
Conran & Partners is Sir Terence Conran's architectural and interior design studio. In addition to designing the interior for the shops and restaurants within the Conran group, Conran & Partners has extensive UK and international architectural and interiors experience.