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By Luz Candelas

When I became a Director of Architectural Projects in August 2016, it was to provide our owners with a more data-driven approach to resort construction.

How existing resorts are operated and how new properties are developed must keep pace with both technology and planned growth.

Your project managers, working directly with resort owners, should create cohesive brand standards. You want to assure resort guests that certain aspects of their stay will always be consistent.

The focus needs to be on constantly delivering high quality dining, entertainment and bathroom amenities and still provide a new and unique experience at every resort.

Does your company have specification booklets to remove the risk of operational error?

The level of detail should go all the way down to include how many hooks to include in both couple’s treatment rooms and solo treatment rooms.

Such precision saves owners the cost of remedying mistakes.

If possible create a consolidated set of specifications in order to allow for greater leeway in designing a singular resort.

Architecture of a Profitable Blueprint

In addition to refining brand standards, leverage the data you’ve amassed from working with resorts owners on resort design.

That data should include details from past resorts, new build construction of single resorts, adaptive reuse and capital expenditure (CapEx) initiatives.

With your executive team provide customized annotations on master plans, Property Improvement Plans (PIP), and implementation of brand operations.

The collective input is intended to drive long-term returns for owners and generate consistently positive feedback from guests long after the resort has opened.

Kick off the process working in tandem with the property owner and architects to create a master plan, prescribing the square meter requirements for every venue allocated to the resort.

If available, internal metrics from previous builds should be used to determine the size of public spaces as a function of room count to a near-exacting science.

The same is true for even more exhaustive aspects of the property like the number of parking spaces necessary and even the number of toilets that equip public rest room facilities.

Similarly, develop back-of-house data that ensures streamlined operational procedures, accounting for minute detail like kitchen set-ups.

Later in the process, bring engineering in to verify that all essential equipment is properly situated.

The Right Room Categories

Work with your sales team on room schematics. Metrics from sales are used to shape room inventory and specifically, the number of various suite and room categories.

Too many or too few of any one room category will impact revenue and ultimately, result in corrective measures that will require further investment.

A comprehensive data assessment of the brand, the local market and regional data provided by your sales force can be a reliable method of achieving the right mix of rooms for generating high returns.

Establishing pool size is one area where you may need to employ both internal and externally collected data.

Assemble a set of analytics based on site visits made to resorts that are in your properties’ competitive sets, noting pool sizes as they relate to room counts.

For both owners and architects, this data eliminates what is often a speculative process that can have financial consequences for the owner, should the pool itself prove too small to accommodate guest numbers.

Data initiatives should also extend to Property Investment Programs (PIP).

If you are considering converting a hotel to a resorts brand, the decision should be weighed using timely and accurate data. 

Investment costs should be broken down by line item to include:

  • Specific outlays for rooms
  • Common areas
  • Back of house
  • New construction (when the existing property lacks ALG-mandated venues like theaters)

Implementing a matrix to evaluate these costs gives owners greater certainty and will prove valuable in decisions to forget ahead with a negotiation –or not.

About Luz Candelas

As Director of Architectural Projects for Apple Leisure Group®, Luz Candelas leverages a robust understanding of residential and corporate architectural design to bring hoteliers’ visions to life while ensuring world-class resort brand standards are always met.

In this role, Luz works closely with hotel owners and investors of new build and existing hotels, developing architectural programs for resorts ranging from 100 to 1500+ rooms. Luz is also responsible for evaluating Master Plans and investment programs, along with providing recommendations on operational standards, special facilities, architectural and interior design.

Luz is a familiar face within the ALG family, having served as AMResorts®’ Project Manager for the last 8 years. During her tenure, Luz facilitated communications between operations, owners, builders and architects; supported task force teams as well as the in-house architect; and supervised sites along with performing final quality assurance inspections. Luz’s hands-on experience and deep-seated knowledge of AMR’s 6 luxury all-inclusive resort brands has had a lasting impact on the company’s entire architectural development process.

Prior to joining AMResorts, Luz played a significant role in developing the $127M high-end mixed use community, Puerto Cancun, located in downtown Cancun, Mexico. Luz received a B.A. in Architectural Design at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and further honed her talents as a Lead Designer for several prominent Mexican firms, including TAE Architects, Sanchez Architects and Associates, and Arkidinamic.

Contact: Luz Candelas

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