Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Fri September 18 2015

Hoteliers Getting Creative as Latin American Demand Soars

Hotel & Resort | Brian Major | September 18, 2015

Hoteliers Getting Creative as Latin American Demand Soars

PHOTO: Hilton’s Anselmo Buenos Aires is part of the company’s Curio Collection of distinctive, culturally significant properties. (Courtesy of Hilton)

Hotel and resort companies of various stripes are opening new South American properties, drawn by growing interest among North American travelers in the region’s stunning mix of diverse and eclectic natural, cultural and historic attractions. An intriguing mix of new properties is opening in South American nations from Argentina to Peru, mirroring the diversity found across this fascinating region.

The new properties cut across style and price categories and include hotels set in historic buildings and locations. A highlight among these is Hilton Worldwide’s 50-guest Anselmo Buenos Aires, located in Argentina’s capital city. Part of the company’s Curio Collection group of properties, the hotel is designed for travelers who desire local discovery and authentic experiences.

Situated in Buenos Aires’ historic San Telmo neighborhood, the property was built as a private mansion in 1906. Today the building is a landmark of Plaza Dorrego Square, one of Buenos Aires’ oldest public spaces. The hotel “honors [the building’s] proud past while also celebrating modern luxury,” said Dianna Vaughan, Curio’s global head.

Rumored to have originally been owned by Argentine tango musician and composer Anselmo Aieta, the building’s 1900’s facade remains, complemented by a modern design featuring includes spacious rooms and upscale restaurants and bars. Contemporary decor and art adorn the hotel’s public spaces, and an interior plaza typical of local Argentine architecture offers guests an intimate spot in which to interact and unwind.

The hotel’s upscale accommodations are highlighted by four corner rooms, including a large suite featuring a spacious private balcony and two colonial rooms offering views of Dorrego Square. One of the rooms is equipped a French balcony facing the square. The hotel also features a modern fitness center and complimentary Wi-Fi access.

Hilton’s Curio Collection properties are designed for the sort of sophisticated, experience-seeking travelers increasingly drawn to Latin America. “Each hotel we acquire we have hand-picked for their unique character and personality,” said Vaughan. So each has a connection to the city and embodies the local, distinct culture and spirit of the city. We like to say that each has a story to tell.”

Curio properties also avoid prominent brand identification, she said. “You won’t see a Curio mark anywhere on the building,” said Vaughan. “When you walk into the lobby you won’t say ‘Oh, I’m in a Curio Collection hotel.’ Each hotel is very distinct, individual and one-of-a-kind.”

“We’re working to meet the traveler’s need for that local discovery when they travel,” Vaughan added. “We also give them some authentic experience, with the confidence knowing that you have the quiet re-assurance of the Hilton name, even though that name is behind the scenes.”

She said the brand is eyeing additional expansion in Latin America. “You will be seeing a lot more interest from Curio in Latin America,” said Vaughan. “Our developers are working the area hard and we have several good leads in our pipeline.”

Big in Brazil

Hoteliers in Brazil are adding hundreds of new rooms just as tourism and hospitality stakeholders in South America’s largest country celebrate surging visitor numbers.

More than 6.42 million international travelers visited Brazil in 2014, a 10.6 percent increase over 2013 and an all-time record for the nation. That growth was propelled of course by the 2014 FIFA World Cup, played last year in 12 Brazilian cities. Just over 10 percent of Brazil’s World Cup visitors (656,000), were U.S. residents.

The surge is expected to continue in the weeks leading up to next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio. Brazil’s tourism stakeholders are lobbying the government to suspend the mandatory visa for United States residents entering Brazil — a move that will almost certainly increase U.S. visits to Rio in 2016.

Fittingly, hoteliers are launching several new properties to accommodate the surge. Earlier this year Hilton Worldwide opened the 298-room Hilton Barra hotel in Rio de Janeiro, the company’s first hotel in the city. Located on Avenida Abelardo Bueno in the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, the company is promoting the property as the “first choice” for fans visiting the city for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The nine-story property features upscale accommodations  including executive floor rooms and suites, premium bedding, smart LED TVs, radio clock with Bluetooth technology, wireless Internet access and Nespresso coffee makers.

Guests in executive room or suite accommodations receive executive floor service and have access to the hotel’s executive lounge, which offers light snacks and beverages and features sweeping views of the Barra lagoons. 

New hotels are also opening in other areas of Brazil. This summer Wyndham Hotel Group launched the 300-room Ramada Hotel & Suites Campos dos Goytacazes. The city is considered a key commercial and financial center and also features several top Brazilian public and private universities.

The hotel features a rooftop swimming pool, a fitness center and sauna, and a restaurant and business center. Accommodations include free Wi-Fi, mini bars and flat-screen high definition TVs. The property is based in the Campos dos Goytacazes neighborhood of Pelinca, nearby major shopping malls and leisure options including nightlife and restaurants.

Peruvian Perfection

Earlier this year respected travel guide Lonely Planet named Peru as one of its top 25 destinations in the world. It’s a small wonder the country was recognized by Lonely Planet as Peru is a treasure chest of unparalleled natural, cultural and historic attractions, highlighted by the magnificent Machu Picchu archaeological site.

The summer Wyndham Hotel Group launched its seventh Peru property, the144-room Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima, in partnership with Costa del Sol, a Peruvian hotel chain with properties across Peruvian cities including Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu.

Located in Peru’s capital city, the hotel is within walking distance of shops, cafés, restaurants and Real Plaza Salaverry, which features world-class shopping. The hotel’s accommodations include guest rooms equipped with premium, plush bedding and in-room safes. Club level rooms at the Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima offer exclusive access to a VIP lounge. Guest facilities include an on-site casino and exquisite on-site dining. 

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