Last updateFri, 27 May 2016 1pm

Radisson to open hotel in Ajijic

Mexican real estate and investment firm Sun-Star Group, led by real estate developer Omar O’Rourke Martinez and his partner Thomas Wahl, issued a press release this week confirming they have “executed an agreement” with Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group for the development and operation of a Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa at Lake Chapala, with “an option for additional territories.”

The hotel will be located on the Chapala-Ajijic Libramiento within the confines of the El Dorado residential complex.

“The hotel will be raised just the east of El Dorado’s entry gate, on the site originally planned for a second condominium building,” O’Rourke told the Guadalajara Reporter Thursday.  “It will house 78 ample guest rooms and 56 suites, some to be equipped with dipping pools and kitchen facilities.”

According to O’Rourke, the structure will stand six stories high, including parking on the ground-level, with a separate entrance from the Libramiento. The architectural design will be similar but not identical to the existing condo tower.

O’Rourke stressed that the Radisson Blu will be very different from all other lakeside lodging options. “It will offer all the first-class services expected of a trendy five-star hotel, such as a spa and gourmet restaurant.”

Staff will be trained to adhere to top-notch standards, he said.

Construction is expected to get underway in the fourth quarter of this year, under an estimated 18-month schedule aimed for opening in early 2018.  According to the Sun-Star Group, the project will create 200 construction and 80 full-time jobs.

This week’s press release referred to Radisson Blu as “an upscale international chain of full service hotels and resorts brand with stunning design and truly innovative service features.” 

More than 395 of these flagship hotels are now open or in development in more than 110 countries, the release stated.

The group said it selected Lake Chapala to be its first development in Mexico because of the unique demographic make-up of the market.

“This popular destination currently has no internationally branded hotels, and not only enjoys tremendous leisure traffic, but is also home to a large international community and actually closer to the airport and commercial activity than downtown Guadalajara,” said Wahl.

“The El Dorado development simply made perfect sense. It is a premier upscale mixed use development and the addition of an internationally flagged luxury hotel will both complement and enhance the existing facilities. The developer’s long range strategy always included a hotel tower, which provided us with a shovel ready project and made the decision an easy one.”

The announcement quickly prompted a slew of diverse comments on local websites and animated conversations in Ajijic cafes and bars.   Inevitably, some residents see the project as a sign of progress that will lead to greater prosperity, while others view it only adding to the pressures on local infrastructure.

The project may also face some legal challenges from El Dorado homeowners who are opposed to the construction of a hotel on the site.

Nonetheless, O’Rourke maintained: “Lake Chapala has always been close to our family’s heart and we have a very strong commitment to the area. We are excited to bring the upscale Radisson Blu brand to Lake Chapala knowing that it will further enhance and establish Lake Chapala as a first-class destination.”

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