Regent to Open Costa Rica Resort by 2010

Although still about three years away from being open, Travel Agent was recently able to gather information on the Regent Papagayo Bay, a Carlson hotel, which is due to open in 2010 in the hot destination of Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

We spoke with Steve Hedberg, vice president of operations and implementation for Carlson Hotels, and got some details about the new luxury property being built in Guanacaste, a Costa Rica destination that is growing in popularity.

 Guanacaste, Costa Rica is becoming a popular destination

It's a mixed-use project that will be a luxury hotel, condominiums and estate homes as well as a retail village. Hedberg says it hasn't been determined whether there will be rental units, permanent homes or both. The hotel, however, will consist of 150 suites with views of PapagayoBay.

About Guanacaste

Guanacaste, which is on the west side of Coast Rica, is an area that Hedberg describes as one of the country's up-and-coming destinations.

Room sketch of the upcoming Regent Papagayo Bay

The nearest airport is in Liberia, about 15 to 20 minutes away from where the RegentPapagayoBay will be built. Hedberg says VIP car service will be offered to guests of the hotel from the airport. There are currently direct Delta flights to Liberia from Atlanta, direct Continental flights from Houston and direct American flights from Dallas.

The hotel will be built up the hills, so naturally the rooms located higher up will be the most desired, Hedberg says. However, room categories and rates haven't been determined yet.

Forming the eastern borders of Guanacaste is a chain of volcanoes that stretch out to join the Cordillera de Guanacaste and Cordillera de Tilaran mountain ranges. Hedberg says several active volcanoes will be able to be seen from the property, which will also have two private beaches.

Target Clientele

For RegentPapagayoBay, Hedberg says agents should be targeting all luxury leisure travelers, but primarily families and couples. However, the resort will also have some meeting space; so don't discount the business traveler. Although it hasn't been determined, Hedberg says there might be space for high-end meetings that can accommodate about 20 to 40 people.

There will be four areas for dining, including a three-meal restaurant operated by Regent, overlooking PapagayoBay. Well-known chef Michael Mina will operate another notable restaurant.

Hedberg says when the property opens, there will be opening packages and incentives offered for travel agents.

"This is going to be such a great destination for agents to book for their clients," Hedberg says. "I'm amazed with how pristine the destination is, although there is a lot of development going on in this area."

Hedberg says agents will receive a 10 percent commission. Agents looking to track the progress of the RegentPapagayoBay or for more information on the property, should call John Cardona, vice president of hotel sales for Regent Hotels & Resorts, at 954-940-7342.

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