The oldest luxury hotel group in Europe, the German Kempinski, created in 1897, announced this Friday (27) a partnership with businessmen José Paim, José Ernesto Marino Neto and Márcio Carvalho to revitalize the Laje de Pedra hotel, in Cinnamon (RS).
The businessmen, through LDP Canela S/A, are going to invest R$ 540 million to transform the traditional hotel in Serra Gaúcha into an international standard five-star resort. The expectation is to open the project in 2024.
In an interview with sheet, José Paim, a real estate entrepreneur who was one of the founders of Rossi Residencial, says that Kempinski will manage the venture, as he does most of its 78 hotels in 34 countries. “Today, only four units in Germany are owned by the group,” he stated.
The businessmen are Kempinski’s exclusive partners in Brazil and are evaluating four new ventures in the country. “Two of them will be announced later this year and one should be on the coast of the Northeast,” said Paim.
Staying at a Kempinski hotel is part of the status of the global political, economic and artistic elite. Queen Elizabeth and singer Michael Michael Jackson were among the distinguished guests of the historic Adlon Kempinski in Berlin, founded in 1907, near the Brandenburg Gate.
At Laje de Pedra, the daily rate is initially planned at R$ 2.5 thousand. “It will be around US$ 500 per day, but this value can be revised until the launch and depends on Kempinski’s approval,” said Marino Neto, an investor in the hotel market, who has already participated in the launch of projects such as Unique and Fasano.
According to Paim, the crisis caused by the new coronavirus hit the urban hotel industry in full. “Business trips have been replaced by videoconferencing, as well as corporate events”, says the businessman. “But luxury tourism continues to grow, especially with more businessmen and self-employed professionals working remotely from a second home,” he says. “They can be at your country house, on the beach, or at the resort.”
Marino Neto agrees. “Daily prices are no longer prohibitive and should increase in high season. They are market prices.”
The group’s focus at first is about 160,000 families in the A+ class who live within a radius of 300 kilometers from Laje de Pedra. “Much of that audience can drive to the resort,” says Paim.
In addition to the hotel operation, Kempinski Laje de Pedra will feature ultra-premium private residences with five-star hotel service, including a butler at your disposal, a wine cellar and a private garage.
The development will be affiliated with a luxury property exchange service. With this, owners of Canela will be able to exchange stays in properties of the same standard in more than 90 countries. “They can spend a season in properties in Paris, London or Burgundy, for example,” says Paim.
The luxury resort in the Rio Grande do Sul mountains will occupy an area of 61 thousand m² (square meters). The hotel will have 357 apartments with sizes from 54m² to 290m². Among the attractions, there are four restaurants and five international bars with large terraces, wine bar, roof top bar, theater and area for events. A 1,000 m² gym, a European standard spa, children’s club and heated pools complete the infrastructure.
Built in 1978, Laje de Pedra had been deactivated since May last year, when it was purchased by Paim, Marino and Carvalho from Habitasul. The idea is to offer experiences close to nature, such as ecological tourism itineraries, horseback riding, outdoor brunch and visits to wineries. “It is necessary to value this wonderful culture in Rio Grande do Sul,” said Paim, from a Gaucho family.
According to him, the resort will provide a set of experiences that value local riches and cultures, including the Laje de Pedra Symphony Orchestra, which should perform outdoors. “It will be the best resort in Brazil,” he says.
According to the businessmen, the Rio Grande do Sul mountain range is the third largest tourist destination in Brazil, after Rio and São Paulo.
About 20 years ago, Kempinski rehearsed its debut in Brazil, with an urban hotel in the region of Avenida Faria Lima, in São Paulo. But he gave up on the venture. “At the time, my company provided investment advice to the group and warned it about the high number of launches, which would not provide the expected return,” says Marino Neto.
With 78 units in 34 countries, Kempinski Hotels was attracted by the Laje de Pedra project because of its position over the Quilombo Valley, overlooking a 400 meter cliff in the Rio Grande do Sul mountain range. It is part of the German group’s tradition to value the local culture of each of its developments around the world – which includes valuing local architecture, crafts and cuisine in the projects.
In the case of Laje de Pedra, Bernold Schroeder, chairman of the Board of Directors of Kempinski Hotels, said it was a pleasure to combine German culture with the city of Canela, formed by German immigrants. “It’s an excellent opportunity to enter the South American market with an exceptional project,” said Schroeder, at a virtual press conference that announced the venture.
According to him, the project from Rio Grande do Sul will live up to the three premises of the group: valuing iconic buildings, returning part of the gains to the local community and respecting the environment.
Even before the opening, Laje de Pedra auctioned old works of art last year and raised R$ 280,000 to support the public hospital in Canela, during the pandemic.
“A hotel like the Kempinski will further elevate the status of business and leisure tourism in the Rio Grande do Sul mountains,” said the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Eduardo Leite, who participated in the announcement. About 500 direct jobs will be generated with the project.
Repeatedly elected as the best hotel in Brazil, Laje de Pedra was the destination of the Brazilian economic, cultural and political elite, as well as the stage for music festivals for 15 years. In 1992, the location was chosen to host the signing of the Mercosur Treaty.