Mexican hospitality brand to launch in Miami

Live Aqua Hotel in Mexico City
Live Aqua Hotel in Mexico City

Mexico’s largest hotel operator is moving into Miami, joining a handful of Latin American hospitality companies in the market.

Grupo Posadas, which has more than 130 hotels in Mexico, is teaming up with Bighorn Capital and Debut Hotel Group to develop five properties in the United States, one of which will be in Miami, according to a press release.

Debut Hotel Group, a Hampshire Hotels Management company and owner and operator of Dream Hotels, will manage Grupo Posadas’ Live Aqua hotels in the U.S. Bighorn, a Las Vegas-based private equity firm, is investing $450 million to develop the initial five properties, which will also be in Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Washington, D.C.

Each hotel will be in the 250 to 300-key range, according to the press release. Live Aqua has two existing properties in Cancun and Mexico City.

Jonathan Kracer, managing principal of Sion Capital, a hospitality real estate and consulting firm with offices in Aventura and Mexico City, said the design-centric luxury boutique brand is “very well-positioned in Mexico with existing properties in the country’s capital and in Cancun.”

“Miami has always had a strong tie to the Caribbean and Latin America, but not so much to Mexico,” Kracer told The Real Deal. “Now, you’re starting to see these prominent Mexican hotel, restaurant, and entertainment concepts enter South Florida.”

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Other Latin American hotel chains such as Argentina’s Faena Hotels and Fen Hotels, and Chile’s Atton Hotels have also recently entered Miami.

Argentinian hotelier Alan Faena is building Faena Miami Beach, a $1 billion mixed-use project designed to transform a six-block section of Collins Avenue. The development will include residential condo towers, a hotel, an arts center and retail complex.

Mexico City-based Cinemex agreed to operate a 35,677-square-foot, dine-in cinema at Brickell City Centre starting in 2016. The chain is partnering with Mikel Alonso, chef of prominent Mexican restaurant Biko, and Mexico City mixologist Mica Rousseau for the Brickell theater.

Kracer, who has worked with Grupo Posadas before but is not affiliated with this deal, said it’s likely that the Live Aqua hotel in Miami will target the lifestyle traveler and be located in an urban arts and entertainment-focused submarket such as downtown Miami

ME by Melia, for example, is opening by the AmericanAirlines Arena. The Spanish hotel brand is a similar Latin urban lifestyle concept like Live Aqua, Kracer said. 

“A lot of new supply is coming into downtown Miami, Edgewater, Brickell,” he told TRD. “It’s inevitable that long-term, the market will benefit from this critical mass of new product but it will definitely take some time to absorb.”