Mexico’s largest hotel operator has embarked on its first international expansion with five properties set for Miami, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago beginning in 2017. The $450 million investment, in partnership with private equity firm Bighorn Capital, Inc., opens up the award-winning lifestyle brand, Live Aqua Hotels & Resorts to the substantial Latin American and international tourists that frequent these metropolitan cities.
It’s not by accident that all properties will open in cities with high Hispanic populations. In fact, it’s this all-around Latin flavor that David Manzella, VP of group sales and marketing for Posadas USA, is banking on.
“The US-based hotels will have a similar concept to our Live Aqua city hotels, either existing or being built, throughout Mexico—a luxury, lifestyle hotel enjoyed by a variety of distinguished travelers.”
Chicago is set to debut the first Live Aqua hotel in 2017—an 82-story, 250 to 300-room doozy sharing tower space with NY-based Dream Hotels in the city’s West Loop. Developers can’t seem to build fast enough in this area, whose inventory of old industrial buildings and overall charm have made it a hot spot for new residential towers—currently, there are 18 high-rise towers 200-feet or taller under construction citywide. The notion of revitalizing old, if not historic, buildings has also facilitated a number of new hotel prospects across the city, such as 1920s Virgin Hotel Chicago, rooted in the Old Dearborn Bank Building, and the Roanoke Building, now a soon-to-open Residence Inn by Marriott.
As a leader in the Mexican hospitality industry, Live Aqua Hotels & Resorts’ elegant, sophisticated and culturally rich vibe has helped it receive the accolades of “best resort” in 2013 by Travel + Leisure, made Conde Nast’s 2014 Hot List and has won honors in Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards.
Though an entirely new build, Manzella anticipates Live Aqua’s “warm and attentive service” to be a key differentiator for US planners, and says they plan to work closely with veteran hotel management company Debut Hotel Group to cross-sell their existing loyal customer base to establish the brand in the US MICE market. The Debut Hotel Group also owns and operates a number of successful hotel brands including Dream Hotels, Night Hotels and Time Hotels.
Back in Mexico, a new adults-only resort is set to open this fall in Puerto Vallarta. Positioned against the Pacific Ocean and Sierra Madre Mountain rainforest, the 443-suite Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive will boast the largest conference center in the city. Groups can meander along the recently revamped malecon boardwalk for shopping, street art and galleries, restaurants and a vibrant nightlife scene. Along with 10 meeting rooms for up to 1,300 people auditorium-style, an eco jungle area is in the works as one of the more interesting options to meet on-site, with zip-lining, rappelling, jungle tours and more programming on the way.