Forgot Password

Hyatt Regency Bonaventure reborn with $100M makeover

WESTON, FL— It’s been a long strange trip for what is now known as the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center & Spa here. From its opening in 1982, to its subsequent sale and reacquisition years later by the same investor, to its switch from a Wyndham to a Hyatt and its alteration from primarily a condo hotel to predominantly a straight-forward hotel, the property is no stranger to transition. But such upheaval appears to finally be at an end now that the property’s $100-million renovation has reached its conclusion and, seemingly, stabilized the asset for the foreseeable future.
Overseeing this recent renovation of the 501-room hotel for the owner, Tom Ireland, were Jeff and Ginger De Armas, partners with Howard Design Group in Coconut Grove, FL. The pair appeared to be the perfect designers for the project because Jeff De Armas has been a friend of Ireland since he originally built the hotel and Ireland was interested in restoring the hotel to its former glory when he reacquired it in 2002.
“It was more than a renovation. It took a full-blown retrofit to bring the property back up to even a three-star level, let alone the four-star-plus level where it is today,” Ireland told The New Look’s™ sister publication HOTEL BUSINESS®. “It was like building a new resort. We literally gutted all the buildings, especially the spa, while even taking up the concrete floors in the spa to replace the plumbing. Guestroom layouts remained the same, though we installed all new bathrooms.”
The project, which commenced more than two years ago, encompassed all nine buildings at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure including; all its guestrooms, its meeting space, which now measures 50,000 square feet and also consists of another 50,000 square feet of pre-function and outdoor event space; two restaurants, two cafes, a chic lobby bar and the addition of a 48,000-square-foot Red Door Lifestyle Spa Elizabeth Arden. The hotel also offers four pools, two neighboring 18-hole golf courses and 15 neighboring clay tennis courts.
“This project started out as a condo hotel, then 50% condo hotel and then predominantly a hotel, which is what it is now,” noted Jeff De Armas. “Furthermore, previously it had a Golden Door spa, but now it’s a Red Door spa with the conversion to a Hyatt. And the property itself had also become dated in its tropical design. So our concept was to come in and make it a clean British Colonial style, which is a style indigenous to Florida. We also wanted to maintain a tropical feel, though.”
In addition, Ginger De Armas noted that some Asian influence also made its way into the overall redesign of the hotel. Jeff De Armas added that influence was transferred from the Zen-like atmosphere of the spa. “We thought the [Zen] should carry over into the hotel,” Jeff De Armas pointed out. “We also made the hotel more contemporary, but the spa Zen aspect really influenced that.”
Jeff De Armas further noted that he wanted to make the property more residential as well. In doing so, the hotel adopted a cleaner and more comfortable look. But creating that look wasn’t easy. “One of the trickiest parts about the condo hotel business is designing a room that functions as a residence and doesn’t look too commercial,” he said.
Through the designers’ work on the Hyatt’s guestrooms, which were created to reflect the British Colonial style, Ginger De Armas explained that all of the old armoires were removed to make way for flat-screen televisions that would serve to open up the rooms more. In the guest bathrooms, the overall structures stayed the same, but freestanding vanities were created. The guestrooms also had to be lightened up, so the designers adopted a color scheme that focused around beige on beige. “We ultimately wanted to let the greenery outside in, so it’s not a very colorful scheme,” Ginger De Armas said. “It’s very neutral, but there are dark-color furnishings.”
As she alluded to, there is a tremendous amount of greenery throughout the well-landscaped property that the designers wanted to feature. But the designers also enhanced the exterior of each building with new pastel colors for a tropical effect. Each building now has a different exterior color, Jeff De Armas added.
Back inside the hotel, the lobby was also completely renovated. In accordance with the overall design concept, it was made simple yet elegant by the design team, who also created what Ginger De Armas described as a “cubby wall” featuring candles within each cubby for the lobby. New furnishings were also added.
Of course, serving to complicate all of this work was the fact that the hotel remained open during the entire project. The designers and Ireland dealt with such a challenge by phasing the project building by building.
The other little wrinkle in the renovation was the change from the Wyndham brand to the Hyatt Regency brand, a fact that drove up the project’s overall cost even more, according to Ireland. “We ended up investing some $20 million more than we anticipated in order to come up to the Hyatt brand level,” he said.