Hospitality

Our hospitality team is sought after both domestically and abroad to handle transactions of all types and sizes, and to help resolve complex disputes, often for the world's leading brands and most iconic properties. For over a decade, the lawyers in our cross-disciplinary group have represented major public and private developers, owners and managers of hotels, resorts, restaurants and other lodging and entertainment entities, as well as real estate investment trusts (REITs), lenders, entrepreneurs, service providers and advisors to the hospitality niche internationally. We are experienced in representing businesses based in the United States and Mexico in connection with projects in other countries around the world.

Because of our exclusive focus on hospitality, we are known for our industry depth and sophistication. Our team comprises senior lawyers in real estate, corporate, intellectual property, labor and employment, tax, construction, finance, litigation and other areas of the law with a bearing on the hospitality industry, resulting in a reputation for candor, flexibility, efficiency and always adding value. Regardless of the opportunity or concern, our team has members who understand how each issue specifically relates to hospitality industry nuances and what it takes to get a deal done.

Our group was the prototype at Gardere for an interdisciplinary, cross-border team approach to service delivery. Our long-standing success as a team – coupled with our knowledge of the hospitality industry, its needs, ups and downs, and its people – has given us a 360-degree perspective and an intentional approach to organizing our services and helping our clients. These qualities set us apart.

Client Stories

Our Client Acquired the Montelucia Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley, Arizona, Described as a “Spanish Oasis”

Where we started:  An affiliate of KSL Capital Partners wanted to acquire the Montelucia Resort and Spa from a group of banks.

Our roadmap:  We handled the complex transaction, which involved the acquisition of the resort and spa, as well as numerous unsold for sale residential villas, the settlement of ongoing litigation between the sellers and the resort’s prior operator, and the negotiation of an industry trend-setting affiliation agreement with a major international resort brand.

And finally:  The now-named Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia is a premier destination for luxury and romance, relaxation and recreation.

Expanding our Client’s Ultra-Luxury Hotel Brand around the World

Where we started:  Capella Hotel Group needed worldwide legal representation in connection with its rapid global expansion.

Our roadmap:  Gardere, serving as lead counsel, interviewed, selected and coordinated legal counsel in dozens of countries around the globe to negotiate and document dozens of branding and operating agreements for the Capella brand. Our work spanned five continents, and we managed the myriad legal issues related to opening and operating ultra-luxury hotels and resorts globally for this rapidly expanding company.

And finally:  Capella hotels, such as those in Singapore, Mexico and Germany, are open, operating and receiving the most prestigious travel industry awards and acclaim by the most discerning travelers.

Hospitality Industry Essentials

Hotels and Resorts

Our team has handled billions of dollars in acquisitions, dispositions and financings for hotels and resorts worldwide including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. We have also handled many high-profile transactions, including a number of recent branded, luxury mixed-use development projects. These projects include numerous forms of for-sale real estate as well as hotels, marinas, hunting lodges and other recreation amenities.

Cross-Border and International Transactions

Our team has extensive experience assisting U.S. companies expanding into foreign markets – especially Mexico – and navigating foreign corporate, construction, labor and tax laws to successfully launch hospitality concepts. This includes the development of new brands and the construction of resort hotels and mixed-use properties.

Food and Beverage

Our lawyers have represented every manner of food and beverage companies – from restaurants and resorts to grocery stores and food growers, to brewers and distillers, to importers and distributors – at every step of the business process. Gardere lawyers handled the first restaurant company initial public offering and we continue to be involved in every facet of the food and beverage industry.

We represent hospitality industry leaders, including dozens of national and regional restaurant chains, convenience stores, grocery retailers, entertainment and sports venue concessionaires, independent restaurants, bars, nightclubs, private clubs and hotels, as well as national and international beer, ale and liquor manufacturers, food products manufacturers, food wholesalers and food growers.

Labor and Employment

When personnel issues arise in the hospitality industry, our labor and employment lawyers handle everything from employment contracts to wage and hour litigation to immigration issues.

Employee Benefits

The team's employee benefits lawyers assist clients in designing, implementing, administering and terminating all types of tax-qualified and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) related retirement plans and programs (including 401(k) profit sharing, defined benefit and employee stock ownership plans), employment agreements and nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements (including advice regarding compliance with Code Section 409A), and welfare benefit programs (including but not limited to group health and severance arrangements). We also assist and advise clients with employee benefits issues relating to mergers and acquisitions and similar business transactions, fiduciary matters and litigation.

Intellectual Property

Our IP lawyers represent some of the world's largest and most recognized hotel, resort and restaurant brands, as well as major players in the travel industry, in all aspects of intellectual property law. Our team works closely with clients to protect their valuable intellectual property assets so they can achieve their strategic business objectives.

Franchising and Promotions

Franchising and promotions are key elements in the hospitality industry, and our lawyers have significant expertise in every aspect of these areas.

Internet, eCommerce and Technology

As the hospitality industry has become more global and competitive, the need for cutting-edge technology has increased exponentially. Several of our team members have spent their careers in technology and help our clients in agreements relating to computer and other technologies, draft and negotiate contracts for outsourcing, and licensing computer software.

Tax

Gardere's tax lawyers advise clients on all aspects of federal, state, local and international taxation, as well as tax-efficient structuring proficiency in connection with the acquisition, sale and development of hospitality properties and portfolios. Our lawyers also have extensive experience handling state and federal tax controversies before all agencies and litigation in all courts.

Litigation and Arbitration

Our litigation lawyers represent hospitality industry developers, operators and franchisors in disputes regarding operational matters, intellectual property, development contract issues and homeowners associations in jurisdictions throughout the world, in U.S. federal and state courts and before national and international arbitration boards.

Entertainment Events

Our entertainment clients, including the largest presenter of live entertainment in the world, are engaged in every aspect of the industry. Gardere assists our hospitality clients with booking live entertainment for their facilities. Our lawyers have extensive experience with artist appearance contracts, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), and Broadcast Music Inc. license issues, ticketing arrangements, sponsor contracts, security issues, stagehand contracts and sound issues related to live events.

Environmental

Environmental issues are part of every acquisition and disposition of hospitality properties and developments, from resorts and hotel complexes to freestanding restaurants and other hospitality venues. Our team's environmental lawyers assist hospitality clients with due diligence to identify and quantify potential environmental liabilities associated with all forms of transactions. Our team also provides regulatory guidance regarding environmental issues, including underground fuel tanks, asbestos, mold, stormwater and wastewater, and waste disposal.

As a sophisticated firm with lawyers in the U.S. and Mexico, Gardere also provides corporate, construction, real estate, banking, bankruptcy and regulatory services, among others, to our hospitality clients doing business domestically and around the world.

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