The really nice and exciting part of our job at Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality is when we get invited to develop a pristine property in a remote and exotic destination. It is our job to help evaluate the site and dream up a new sustainable hotel, resort or eco lodge. We meet with property owners and discuss opportunities and work together with other professionals (mostly planers and architects) on a land use master plan, the development of a lodging and hospitality concept and preliminary financial feasibility.
Last week, we worked on an assignment on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua and looked at a beachfront property with a tropical dry forest nature reserve attached to it. Nicaragua is a country with huge opportunities for ecotourism and Cayuga has been involved in the development of successful hospitality operations in this Central American country for almost 15 years. Currently we run the Jicaro Island Eco Lodge near the colonial town of Granada.
This kind of a development process requires a lot of creativity and open mindedness and can be quite draining due to the long hours and the many moving parts involved in such a development. The decisions made in this phase of the development process have a huge impact on potential success of the project.
However, the spectacular natural setting and the great opportunities that such a property can provide are an inspiration to everybody involved. And after all there are a lot worse assignments than to dream up world class sustainable hospitality operations.
A first step is to get to know the land. It is necessary to hike in the forest, search for the best views, sunset spots, experience the elements and identify the best beaches and swimming spots. Sounds tough, but somebody has to do it.
It is very important that the owners, operators, master planners and other parties involved share the same vision. In this case it was very clear that all participants were very keen on the concept of nature conservation, community development and a ” new” luxury hospitality experience that goes way beyond marble bathroom floors and golden faucets.
The end result of such a three to four day session is land use master plan that indicates best use for different part of the lands. We will have identified the location of the guest arrival area, restaurants, guest rooms, wellness areas, etc.
This allows us to work on fine-tuning the hospitality concept in terms of experiences, amenities and services offered and recommendations on hotel or lodge facilities. We will also have identified target markets and specific market segments to whom the lodge will appeal.
From here to the opening of the project, it is still a long way to go. Possible phasing of the project, securing of financing, architectural design and permitting with local authorities are the next steps. In the best case scenario, The Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges will have a new member in Nicaragua in late 2016. Stay tuned”¦