Interview with Mr. Jordi Pelfort, President of Blue Diamond Resorts
Since opening, Blue Diamond Resorts has risen to become the Caribbean’s fastest growing resort chain, with a 45-property portfolio exceeding 15,360 rooms in ten countries. Blue Diamond Resorts takes pride in being an innovative hotel management company that specializes in creating differentiated brands to suit each market’s demands.
Its President, Mr. Jordi Pelfort, emphasizes exclusively for TTC about the characteristics of his Blue Diamond Resorts chain in ten countries: Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, Sint Maarten, Barbados and Grenada.
What is the Group’s strategy for the expansion and positioning of the Blue Diamond Resorts hotel plant in the Caribbean and specifically in Cuba?
At Blue Diamond Resorts, we focus on an innovative market expansion strategy, always looking for opportunities and open to new challenges. Last year, we recorded impressive growth and undertook an impressive expansion, taking a big step forward introducing a partnership with the iconic lifestyle brand, Planet Hollywood. Moving into this new market has allowed us to evolve our business model to capitalize on new and exciting opportunities for international franchises and management agreements. As part of our commitment to the islands of the Lesser Antilles, we now operate six of the Rex Resorts as part of a newly formed strategic alliance. In Cuba, we started to operate Memories Trinidad Del Mar, a beautiful property at a new destination.
We launched our first boutique brand, Mystique Resorts, with the opening of the unique and luxurious Mystique Blue in Holbox Island, Mexico’s best-kept secret. We’ve become leaders in innovative services in the hospitality industry and we are the fastest growing company in the Caribbean. Of course, there’s still a lot of work ahead.
This year, we are opening three new Royalton Luxury Resorts, including Royalton Antigua, Royalton Cancun, and Royalton Grenada; the first Mystique Resorts’ property in Cuba, Mystique Palace Trinidad; as well as Starfish Cayo Guillermo in Cuba, which will soon begin operations as a Blue Diamond Property; and finally, the most anticipated opening of all, Planet Hollywood Cancun, in December 2020. We also have big projects for Cuba and expect to increase our room count to over the 10,000 rooms in the country by 2024.
How is the market structure distributed in the Blue Diamond operation?
Currently we have two divisions: Cuba and the Americas. Half of our properties are in Cuba making us the second chain in the country with the most rooms (8703). Our Cuba Division is led by Mohamad Fawzi, Managing Director Cuba, who has over 20 years of experience in the industry and 7 years with us. During this time, his hard work, strong leadership and dedication has earned resorts numerous tourism and hospitality awards and has resulted in the implementation of various innovations, processes and services leading the company to be one of the best and biggest chains in the country.
Is Blue Diamond planning other additions to its hotel portfolio in management and marketing contracts in Cuba?
As part of our commitment to Cuba, we have recently announced the addition of three new properties to our national portfolio: Starfish Cayo Guillermo, Mystique Palace Trinidad, and Memories Trinidad Del Mar -we took over the managing of the existing property this past December. We are constantly looking for opportunities to grow and we have, in discussion, the possibility of an aggressive expansion within the next three years.
Several Blue Diamond hotels have received diverse awards in the course of these last months, could you summarize the connotation of these awards?
It has been a wonderful year for our team in Cuba. We have received numerous awards and recognitions for our outstanding service and commitment to providing unique experiences for our guests. We had a strong 2018 with multiple recognitions such as the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence received by several of our resorts including Sanctuary at Grand Memories Varadero, Sanctuary at Grand Memories Santa Maria, Memories Flamenco, Starfish Cuatro Palmas and Starfish Cayo Santa Maria.
However, Royalton Hicacos Resort & Spa remains the star of the year. This resort received multiple awards including the TUI Top Quality 2019 award, presented to a very select group of resorts recognized by guests for their service and business excellence. Its logo is also considered the seal of excellence used to identify only those resorts that have been chosen for consistently delivering intuitive service and luxury experiences. Royalton Hicacos remains the only Cuban resort to receive such prestigious recognition. Adding to its repertoire, Royalton Hicacos also received the 2018 World Luxury Hotel Awards in two categories: Luxury Ocean View Resort Award and Luxury Adult Beach Resort Award for its sustained commitment to excellence and outstanding achievement in the international luxury hospitality industry.
In addition, Royalton Hicacos was awarded the “Estrella Ambiental” (Environmental Star) by the Provincial Delegation of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment in Matanzas, Cuba, for their commitment to caring for the environment. And just recently, the resort was also acclaimed with the prestigious Loved by Guests Award for 2019. This achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveler reviews on Hotels.com. The 2019 Loved by Guests Award includes accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered an outstanding customer experience.
How does Blue Diamond Resorts plan to enter the program of activities for the celebration of Havana’s 500 years?
Next year Havana is turning half a millennia old and Blue Diamond Resorts have an impressive line-up of festive events planned throughout the year. Some of the biggest festivities, celebrations and special activities planned so far, will include festivals, contests, special DJs, etc.
For FITCuba, we’ll host an important event at our Memories Miramar in Havana with international and national animation, singers and participants and to keep you in the know, just in case you’re thinking about embarking on a 2019 Cuba holiday in Havana, we have a special offer tailored to those who wants to enjoy the 500th anniversary of Havana in style.