|By Bob Quick, The Santa Fe New
MexicanMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 10, 2012--There have been some major changes this year in the management and ownership at some of Santa Fe's high-end hotels and resorts.
Cam Hospitality Advisors & Management, based in Pittsburgh, won a contract in January to take over Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa.
Rich Verruni, the managing partner of Bishop's Lodge for the past six years, decided to stay at the Tesuque resort in the same position.
Prism Hotels and Resorts of Dallas was the previous manager.
Bishop's Lodge has had the same owners, ERE Yarmouth, for more than 12 years, Verruni said.
Bishop's Lodge is considered "among the best retreats in America by Travel + Leisure magazine," a statement from Cam Hospitality said. "Meeting spaces include four conference rooms totaling 8,000 square feet with outdoor spaces available for receptions and retreats."
Bishop's Lodge had its best year financially in six years last year and has made a number of improvements, including adding a vineyard, harvesting the property's heirloom apples and offering cooking demonstrations, Verruni said.
Another hotel change came at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa, where Benchmark Hospitality International, a Houston-based hospitality management company, added the Santa Fe property to its portfolio, also in January.
Alfred Matter, who has been general manager of the Eldorado for many years, will remain in place.
When asked about the changes among Santa Fe's hotels, Matter said the properties, in part, are reacting to the tough economy. "We had a rough 2008, 2009 and 2010," he said, "and 2011 was not so great either. The owners are looking for better returns. They think there's a better mousetrap out there."
Matter also said Benchmark Hospitality will bring more tools and marketing support for the hotel. "For us, it's a positive change," he said.
Benchmark Hospitality "is a leader in the management and marketing of resorts, conference centers, luxury resorts and hotels," a company statement said.
La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa is now self-managed, a Santa Fe hotelier said. The property was previously a part of Rock Resorts.
Another transition came to Encantado Resort (formerly Rancho Encantado), which decided to install a new management company, Four Seasons Hotels, which will take over May 31, when Encantado's contract ends with Auberge Resorts.
"There was an ownership change, and Auberge Resorts and Encantado have parted ways," said Martin Nicholson in a brief interview earlier in the week. Nicholson was named general manager of Encantado in April 2011.
Four Seasons Hotels is a Toronto-based, five-star hotel-management company. The company in 2007 agreed to a buyout by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.
Recently, Four Seasons opened a new hotel in Hangzhou, China.
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