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Gencom Affiliate Acquires Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo

MIAMI—An affiliate of Gencom has acquired Peninsula Papagayo Resort, a 1,400-acre luxury master development in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province. The exact sum of the acquisition was not disclosed, but Karim Alibhai, principal of Gencom, said it was north of $250 million, and after renovations and development, total investment will be some $750 million.

Anchored by the 182-key Four Seasons Papagayo, Peninsula Papagayo includes an 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and clubhouse, the 180-slip Marina Papagayo, and the 38,000-sq-ft. Prieta Beach Club.

“This will be our first Four Seasons and we’re looking to expand that relationship quite significantly,” Alibhai told Hotel Business.

Ownership is partnering with Costa Rican developer Sinergo Development Group to carry out the renovation and reinvigoration of the existing assets, including the Four Seasons Papagayo, and also to assist in the development of future phases. The design team also includes local architecture firm Zurcher Arquitectos and New York-based luxury interior design firm Meyer Davis. Plans for future development include branded and unbranded luxury residential real estate along with other complementary hotel brands. 

“We are excited by the immediate and long-term benefits that this acquisition and further investments within the peninsula will bring to Costa Rica and the Guanacaste province, including job creation, increased tourism, and heightened global visibility for Peninsula Papagayo as a national jewel,” said Alibhai. “This acquisition is part of our continued strategic response to an increased demand from elite international travelers for luxury, experience-driven vacations in prime destinations.”

Alibhai told Hotel Business that investing in Costa Rica made sense. “Since 2009, the airlift has almost tripled coming into Liberia [the capital and largest city of Guanacaste province], which is the main feeder airport, so there’s a lot more direct access from the U.S. and other places. We see that continuing to expand,” he said.

As part of its commitment to the community, the group plans to invest in and continue the work of Creciendo Juntos, which translates to Growing Together, a local nonprofit organization that supports local elementary and high schools with programs, including educational initiatives and preventative health care.

“As a native Costa Rican, I am excited by the reinvestment in Peninsula Papagayo, a vital pillar of Costa Rican tourism,” said Manuel Ardon, COO of Peninsula Papagayo. “The phenomenal infrastructure of Peninsula Papagayo, which was developed in one of the world’s most spectacular geographic landscapes, will be elevated to the top of luxury real estate and hospitality master developments in Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico thanks to this acquisition.”

The seller was represented by REH Capital Partners and the Algon Group in a strategic alliance as co-advisors.

For more details, look for the Sept. 7 issue of Hotel Business.

—Nicole Carlino