It is not a new thing, but luxury has become established in Latin America. The major brands have had their eyes on the region for years. Besides Mexico and Brazil -the two regional giants-, countries like Peru, Colombia, and Chile have turned into an attractive market for the major companies providing high-end products and services.
Of the three Andean countries, Peru stands especially apart, and there are many good reasons to account for this leadership; it is an economy that has been expanding like no other in the region since 2002, with a growth floor of 4% and caps of nearly 8% a year. In addition, its society is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan, mainly its capital city, which has consolidated as one of the best food meccas around the world. An example of this is the recent nomination by the prestigious British magazine Restaurant of “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants”, where three Peruvian restaurants figure on the golden list, with “Central” shining especially bright. This establishment is owned by Virgilio Martínez, the new star of Peruvian cuisine.
The hotel business has kept steady pace with the boom of Peru and, particularly, of markets like Lima’s which, albeit at slightly lower rates than the glorious 6-8%, do not cease to expand.
Just as the arrival of Westin has changed the appearance of Lima’s hotel market, many other new things have happened in a market where demand still beats a supply that keeps rising. Hilton, Novoltel, Atton, the refurbishment of Belmond Miraflores Park and JW Marriott, the new tower of the Swiss hotel, Courtyard, among others, all contribute to the city’s new image, as it starts to turn not just into a business destination or a stop-over to the renowned Machu Picchu.
The panorama is encouraging so that investors and developers are alert to growth possibilities or to enter a business that is already solid. The issue is to find land available at a reasonable cost, which is not at all easy, although it is true that the escalation in prices seems to have reached a seeming maximum, at least for the time being.
Even if many developers are focusing on the selected services segment, not exclusively in the San Isidro and Miraflores districts, the arrival of high-end hotels is close to becoming a reality in the former City of the Kings.
There is no doubt that luxury is having a strong presence in Lima’s hotel options and will get consolidated in forthcoming years.
At least three major projects, two in Miraflores and one megaproject at Cuartel San Martín, are moving forward so that it is very likely that, by the end of the decade, no less than two luxury hotels will be available in beautiful Lima.
Two of them with brands that clearly belong to the luxury hotel segment, regardless of the travelers’ own preferences. The third in the group is under a brand that some are reluctant to admit within this distinguished property portfolio but which competes directly with this set of high-end hotels.
The fact is that by the end of the decade it will be very difficult to decide where to dine during the two or three nights an international traveler typically spends in Lima. In addition, it will be quite a challenge to choose a hotel to stay.
In less than eight years, Lima has made a qualitative leap, probably like no other capital city in the region. Congratulations!
The hotel business in the region has started to mature. Other markets will surely follow suit and we will see similar processes in other South American destinations, both in those that are more consolidated and in others that still have much work ahead.
Let’s welcome this development trend.