The 500-acre Wyndham Rio Mar will undergo a $36 million redevelopment over the next few years, with $15 million in capital improvements planned in 2007 including a complete overhaul of the casino to create one of the island's finest state-of-the-art gaming facilities and an upgrade of the golf courses, hotel lobby and guest rooms.
The property improvements are expected to expand the island's employment on a long-term basis.
'We look forward to working closely with the government of Puerto Rico and its tourism officials to continue developing the Wyndham Rio Mar into a world-class destination that will attract thousands of travelers to Rio Grande every year, promoting the island's celebrated spirit of hospitality,' said Peter Strebel, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts president. 'We are truly proud to welcome this magnificent resort into the Wyndham family.'
Wyndham Worldwide (NYSE:WYN), parent company of the Wyndham hotel brand, recently purchased a partial ownership interest in the resort, owned by Rio Mar Associates L.P. S.E., which is led by affiliates of Tishman Realty Corporation. Tishman Realty affiliates originally developed and built the resort, which opened in 1996, and continue to co-own it. Wyndham Worldwide previously announced joint transactions whereby it will invest in and manage the resort under the Wyndham brand and develop an adjacent 26-acre tract as a Wyndham Vacation Ownership timeshare resort.
'Wyndham's investment demonstrates that multimillion-dollar companies worldwide see in Puerto Rico a solid and profitable business environment, are confident in our economic stability and see a potential for great growth in our industry,' said The Honorable Anibal Acevedo Vilá, Governor of Puerto Rico. 'The Government of Puerto Rico welcomes the Wyndham Hotel Management Company in Río Grande with great enthusiasm – we feel very satisfied to be a part of a project that has so much importance for the Island's tourism industry.'
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and Tishman Realty Corporation executives officially commemorated the renaming of the property with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and welcoming festivities along with public officials including Rio Grande Mayor Eduard Rivera Correa and Irene Rocafort, director of promotion and marketing of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Also in attendance were executives from the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau and Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association to acknowledge the importance of this resort to the economy and tourism industry of Puerto Rico.
'The beauty of this seamless transition to our guests is that Tishman will remain co-owner in tandem with the strong upscale Wyndham brand,' said Robert Snyder, Tishman Realty Corporation executive vice president. 'Unlike most transactions in which a brand completely takes over the ownership and management, hires new staff and changes the unique attributes of that resort, we are pleased that Wyndham Hotels and Resorts believes strongly in maintaining the success already achieved here and will build upon the high standards and service levels that the resort's guests have come to expect.'
Mark Stevenson, a former Puerto Rico resident and 35-year hospitality veteran returned to the island to begin his role today as the resort's managing director. Stevenson, who served as general manager of The Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa & Casino from 1998 to 2005 and most recently as general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas, is responsible for the resort's operations and management of its 1,200-member staff.
The Wyndham Rio Mar is the first resort to officially join Wyndham's new Grand Collection tier, to consist of unique luxury or upscale historic, international and resort properties in the Wyndham portfolio.
'At Wyndham Grand Resorts guests will find the attentive service, relaxing surroundings and thoughtful touches guests would expect from a Wyndham hotel, on a grand scale,' Strebel said.
The Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, A Wyndham Grand Resort is situated on 500 acres along a mile-long section of tropical beach adjacent to the Caribbean National Rain Forest of El Yunque and the Mameyes River. It features 48,000 square feet of function space; a 7,000-square-foot casino; two world-class, 18-hole golf courses designed by Tom and George Fazio and Greg Norman; a 7,000-square-foot spa and fitness center; 11 restaurants, lounges and entertainment venues; international tennis center; water sports center; and two beachfront pools.
For more information about Wyndham Rio Mar, guests may call 888-4RIOMAR or visit www.wyndham.com.
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts offers upscale hotel and resort accommodations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. All hotels are either franchised or managed by Wyndham Hotels and Resorts or an affiliate.