(1888PressRelease) By 2013 we will see the luxury market in South America explode as groundbreaking boutique hoteliers such as Rogerio Fasano and Aman open game-changing resorts.
I have seen the future of South America and I advise you to get out your darkest sunglasses because this future is as bright as a solar flare. The eyes of the world are on South America, especially as Brazil hosts the region's first Olympic Games in 2016.
I will make a case that by 2013 we will see the luxury market in South America explode as groundbreaking boutique hoteliers such as Rogerio Fasano, Aman Resorts, Relais & Châteaux and others create a new impression: that South America can bring it!
We have discovered long ago that the unparalleled natural beauty of South America is as complex as its nations. From the rainforests of the Amazon, the Atacama Desert and the unspoiled Galapagos Islands, to the majestic peaks of the Andes and the glaciers of Patagonia, the landscape is awe-inspiring, the wildlife stunning and the differing cultures utterly beguiling. However, we have seen little sophistication and world-class luxury outside the iconic Orient Express properties. With the exception of a few breakthrough gems such as the Ponta Dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort in Floripa, the Cavas Wine Lodge in Mendoza and the Estrela d'Aqua in Trancoso, which are all affiliated with Relais & Châteaux, South America has disappointed those who have sought to explore the region's beauty in the highest standards of comfort and luxury.
But here is the good news. Over the next year we will see Aman Resorts, St. Regis, The Singular and Fasano among others open new exciting, "game-changing" properties that will compete with anything in Europe or Asia. This breakthrough moment can't come soon enough.
Brazil has been slow to adapt to luxury-until now. In the past, North American agencies seldom arranged trips only to Brazil. The standard in luxury travel was the "South American circuit:" a guided tour for 40 people that lasted three weeks. You started out in Rio de Janeiro, probably staying at the Copacabana Palace, then flew to Buenos Aires and Bariloche, crossed the Andes, and stopped in Lima and Machu Picchu before returning home. What made it a luxury tour were services like a private guide or a suite instead of a room. But you always used the same hotel or resort the economy group used. There were no luxurious, extravagant, and custom-made experiences for upscale travelers. "Maybe that is because Brazilians were not sure what luxury tourism was supposed to be," Jack Smith, reported in a recent Robb Report issue. During the 1970s, when a military junta ruled the country, the government neglected tourism, labeling it as elitist. "When they finally decided to promote tourism as a way of generating revenue, they didn't promote the arts, our museums, our cuisine, or our culture," Luiz Augusto, president of Rio's State Syndicate of Tourist Guides told me while I was visiting the city. The main reason for coming to Rio was the "women". The ads always showed a girl posed seductively in a tanga and saying, 'come see me in Rio,'" he pointed out. But that has changed.
In Brazil, the Fasano Hotel Group will be the most ambitious over the next three years. Fasano already opened a small charming Fasano in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay, this year, adding to their collection of boutique hotels in Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro. Fasano now plans to open 3 more boutique hotels in Brazil in 2012 & 2013. The first will be in Salvador with 75 rooms. With an Art Deco and Art Nouveau style, Fasano will open at the Castro Alves Square, right in front of the Baia de Todos os Santos. A former headquarters for the "Jornal A Tarde" newspaper, the 1930 building will undergo a full renovation, though it will keep its original façade. There will be a roof top pool overlooking the gorgeous bay. The second Fasano will open in Belo Horizonte, a bustling business city. Offering 85 rooms in the Liberdade Square, Fasano will be located in the heart of the cultural center of the city, where the main museums are located. The third and maybe the most ambitious will be on the chic beach of Trancoso, Bahia, with 40 rooms and 38 villas. Trancoso is known for its gorgeous beach coast with enormous palm trees. Fasano will have its own private beach, just 1.5 km away from the Quadrado, which is where all the best restaurants and stores are located. This cozy small town, with its narrow streets covered with old pavements, reflects a quaint atmosphere, with one story colored houses, making it one of nicest destinations in Brazil.
Aman Resorts have plans to open a property in Angra dos Reis, 2.5 hours south of Rio by the end of 2012. The Amanoca Resort will be nestled within 70 acres of beach and with the majority of the resort being accessible by paths and golf carts. Designed by the world-renowned and award winning Jean-Michel Gathy of Dennison International. Plans include a 20-suite Amanresort and Spa, sophisticated dining alternatives, private library and customized multi-media theater, beach club with a full complement of water sport activities. The marina will have dedicated crewed yachts exclusive to the resort. Maison Des Reves will be a new Relais & Châteaux boutique hotel in Paraty, a historical UNESCO town 3.5 hours south of Rio.
Txai Resorts will open Txai Ganchos in Florianopolis, Santa Catrina in the south of Brazil. The newest project of the Txai chain located in Florianopolis, a few minutes from Ponta dos Ganchos. A huge project which will include a 5 star hotel, residential houses and small studios. The acclaimed philosophy of living and hosting well from such resorts Txai Itacaré has been translated into pure forms and then wedged into a preserved area on the Emerald Coast, surrounded by the culture from the Azores, and fishing and sea culture along the Santa Catarina coastline.
In Brazil, occupancy is at 85% or higher. Rio will be supercharged by both the 2014 Rio World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics. Brazil is expensive right now to Americans due to the rising value of the Real versus the Dollar; however local Brazilians are driving the luxury business. Although most of the luxury properties are coming from outside Brazil, local Brazilian Oil Tycoon Eike Batista is dragging Brazil out of the "old Brazil ways" in to the "world's most exciting emerging market". Real estate in Rio has grown 385% in the past 4 years, and Eike Batista almost single handedly reeled in the Olympics with his own money, getting "City of God" director to film the presentation that won them the Games. Eike is also restoring Rio's age old Gloria Hotel in the historical downtown area or Rio.
Argentina, Chile & Peru:
Argentina, Chile & Peru are also seeing amazing changes to their luxury markets but have been able to keep the cost in-line with the rest of the international market, making it easier to sell than Brazil at the moment.
In Argentina we will see a new St Regis in Buenos Aires and Entre Cielos in Mendoza. We recently had an inspection at the Loi Suites in Puerto Iguazu and we were very impressed with the hotel. It is a very charming property in the Iryapu jungle, surrounded by vegetation and wildlife; it is located only 15 minutes from the Argentine waterfalls and 20 minutes from the IGU airport. We definitely think this would be a good option for those who cannot afford the rates at Hotel das Cataratas but still want to receive high-level service in a charming 5 star property.
Chile will see the new hotel group called The Singular open in Patagonia and in Santiago. Ignacio Maza, Vice President Signature Travel Network, recently reported in their intranet blog, the following review for The Singular Patagonia: The popularity of Patagonia, both Chilean and Argentinean regions, continues to grow. The area has much to offer intrepid travelers, including endless landscapes, jagged peaks, gigantic glaciers, stunning vistas, and a wide range of explorations available. Unfortunately, the number of lodging options is limited and it can be difficult to find space during peak season, which runs from November to March, when the weather is mildest and sunniest. The Singular is a new brand that will launch a series of unique, different and authentic hotels in various destinations in Chile. The first hotel to open will be The Singular Patagonia. The hotel opens November 1st and is located in Puerto Bories, at the end of a sound called Ultima Esperanza. The Singular will feature the best and largest spa in Patagonia, as well as a heated swimming pool. The restaurant will serve first-class cuisine from its own interactive kitchen. So, on days when the weather is stormy or rainy, there will be a number of indoor options to offer your clients, including cooking classes, spa treatments, lectures, and visit to the hotel's own museum featuring a history of the region. The Singular Patagonia will be joining our Signature hotel collection shortly, and we will be first to feature this unique property in North America.
Hotel investments in Peru will reach a historic record in 2011 totaling USD 475.4 million, a 324.5 percent rise compared to this year (USD112 million), Peru's Hotel Society (SHP) reported. Forty-two new hotels will open in 2011 and also in 2012, while only 28 hotels will officially open in 2013. Some projects foreseen for next year include Westin hotel from Libertador chain, JW Marriot in Cusco and the Westin in Lima. This first Westin in Peru is a very modern hotel and the tallest building in Lima with a spa, convention space and luxurious suites. According to etravelblackboard.com, Cusco and its surrounding region is also seeing an increased investment in the luxury sector and 2011 sees the opening of with a new Aranwa Boutique Hotel, a JW Marriot Hotel, and the expansion of the Orient Express owned Monasterio Hotel with a new boutique hotel: Palacion Nazarenas opening by 2012.
The last five years has already seen a dramatic rise in boutique and luxury hotels around Cusco: the Hotel Casa Cartagena, the Andean Wings, the Rio Sagrado by Orient Express in Urubamba, Aranwa in Urubamba, the new Luxury Collection Tambo del Inka Hotel from Libertador Hotels, and seven new hotels from the Casa Andina group.
The 'eco market' is another key area for investment with openings such as the San Agustin Paracas opening by 2012 on the South coast. This new resort, located 300 Km south of Lima and close to the World Heritage Listed Nazca Lines, will be one of the most modern ecological resorts and multifunctional hotels in the country. The project includes 120 rooms in two buildings and will be powered by solar energy. Peru posted a 72.4 percent growth in the last eight years, which is considered the best economic performance in South America, and this year is expected to grow 8.5 percent or more.
VIP Tour Group is a Luxury Tour Operator offering the highest level of tours to South America. We work with the best luxury hotels, private villas and private yachts creating tailor made itineraries throughout South America. VIP Tour Group currently serves Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
Michael Eiseman is the founder of VIP Tour Group and proudly serves as a Director of the Brazil Tour Operators Association.
By : Donald Hood