The highly anticipated re-opening of one of Montevideo’s most beautiful landmarks finally took place last evening, a historic event symbolizing triumph over adversity and the undeniable appeal of Uruguay for foreign investors.
On a beautiful Thursday evening in Carrasco, hundreds of invited guests, foreign dignitaries and proud Montevideanos gathered at the hotel’s entrance enjoying the sounds of the Philharmonic, champagne toasts and a multinational chorus of conversations in Spanish, French, English and Portuguese.
The majestic Montevideo hotel originally opened in 1921 and symbolized Uruguay coastal luxury for seventy years before falling into disrepair in the 1990’s. When the hotel officially closed in 1997, it was posting annual losses of $600,000. El Observador describes the ensuing sixteen-year path to last evening’s re-opening as “tortuous.” A dozen years of renovation announcements and cancellations left the Hotel Casino Carrasco shuttered, weathered and falling further into disrepair.
But everything changed in November 2009 when a group of foreign investors won a 30-year concession and commenced renovations the following January. The painstaking interior and exterior renovations required over three years, and inclement weather forced the Grand Re-Opening to be postponed multiple times in 2012. The announcement that Paris-based Sofitel would be planting its first luxury flag in Uruguay only heightened the anticipation.
In addition to restoring a Montevideo landmark and ushering in a new chapter of refined luxury in Carrasco, last night’s opening symbolizes the faith of foreign investors in Uruguay, a hefty US$80 million footnote mentioned by Uruguay Vice President Danilo Astori in his closing remarks. (Full Story in Spanish)
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