The Real Deal Miami

A ‘South to North equation’ for SoFla hotels

May 28, 2013 01:00PM

Hotel InterContinental, Doral, Fla.

Hotel InterContinental, Doral, Fla.

Following the U.S. recession and amid the steady growth of Latin America’s middle class, Latin American hotel companies are expanding north of the border, reported.

Latin American investors’ “South to North equation” capitalizes on the downturn to acquire U.S. properties, particularly in niche markets like Miami, wrote Jonathan Kracer, managing prinicipal of hospitality consultancy and investment firm Sion Capital.

A surge of Latin American investment and tourism to South Florida has inspired Argentine developer Alan Faena’s renovation of the Saxony Hotel in South Beach, which will boast 210 rooms; Real Hotels and Resorts of El Salvador’s 265-room Hotel InterContinental in Doral and Venezuela’s HES Group’s 160-room Aloft Hotel Brickell, just to name a few.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced last week that Chile’s Atton Hotels will open a location in Miami in two years.

Latin American and Iberian hotel brands face steep barriers to entry but can compete by offering brand familiarity and specialized needs, such as Portuguese and Spanish-speaking staff, to cater to Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese tourists, Kracer said.

The success of Latin American retail and restaurant chains in recent years reflect Latinos’ growing influence in the U.S., and are the precursor to ever larger investments in hospitality. [Hotelnewsnow]Emily Schmall