With 5,000 hotel room nights already booked during a pre-opening sale launched three months ago, the $49.5 million Hyatt Place & El Tropical Casino opened for business Wednesday in Bayamón, bringing the global brand back to Puerto Rico after a 10-year hiatus.
The 156-room property has set its sights on attracting three types of tourists: medical, sports and business, hotel officials said during the opening ceremony.
The expectation is to reach a 70 percent occupancy rate during the hotel’s first year of operations, said Francisco Mariani, general manager of the property.
“We expect to have this despite it being the hotel’s first year, which makes it a bit more difficult,” he said. “However, we’re opening at the peak of the tourism season, which helps.”
Meanwhile, Federico Stubbe, president of project developer PRISA Group, said the hotel is also focused on developing regional tourism, which he said is a “growing category.”
“In this hotel we’ve joined factors that make it different. From the use of works by Puerto Rican artists as a focal point, to a modern design with all the facilities needed by current guests,” said Stubbe. “This makes the Hyatt Place a convenient lodging alternative for visitors to the area’s medical facilities, and as well as sports and concert venues.”
“It will also meet the needs of professionals who do business in the numerous corporations and manufacturing and distribution plants in the area,” the executive said.
The return of the Hyatt flag to Puerto Rico is the result of a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors involving PRISA Group and McConnell Valdés Consulting Inc., the municipality of Bayamón and the Government Development Bank. The investment for the project is split between PRISA, which put up $13.3 million, the GDB’s Tourism Development Fund guaranteed a $29 million senior loan from Banco Popular and Bayamón loaned another $7.2 million to the project through a GDB municipal income bond.
The project is generating more than 450 direct, indirect and induced jobs throughout the property that houses a 17,300 square-foot casino featuring 285 slots and 10 gaming tables, a multi-story parking facility with capacity for 250 vehicles, and a 4,700 square-foot Applebee’s restaurant, which opens Friday.
“The opening of our first restaurant in Bayamón within this resort caters to the needs of residents and visitors to the area, and to the business sector’s. We share a common business vision and commitment to the island’s socio-economic development,” said Jorge Colón-Gerena, CEO of Apple Caribe, Inc., holding company of the restaurant chain that now has four locations on the island.
Meanwhile, Bayamón Mayor Ramón Luis Rivera said the hotel will help draw the medical tourism crowd that the town’s four major hospitals attract annually.
“Last year alone, the HIMA San Pablo received 1,000 patients from other areas,” he said, noting that three other medical facilities, the Hermanos Meléndez Hospital and adjacent Children’s Hospital, as well as the Doctors Center are also on the list of facilities that could drum up business for the hotel.
Furthermore, he said major sporting events planned for the town’s soccer, golf, baseball, basketball and volleyball complexes will also draw a steady stream of visitors.