The Hyatt Tamaya Resort and Spa hotel, owned by Santa Ana Pueblo, has upgraded its ballroom, spa and bar and has renovated all of its 327 guest rooms. New flat panel televisions are going in as well.
It might seem counterintuitive to invest so much now when the economy has hit hard destination resorts like Tamaya. But Jerry Westenhaver, general manager of the hotel, said the renovations had been budgeted for some time. Also, when business is down, it’s a logical time to do construction.
“The impact on business would be minimal,” he said. “The ballroom is the engine that drives all things, so taking it down would have little impact.”
It’s also cheaper, Westenhaver added.
“With the economy, you can get a lot more work done for less money,” he said. “It’s called leveraging.”
The Pueblo is committed to keeping the product up, he added.
“It’s our second renovation in eight years,” Westenhaver said. “Most hotels don’t go through that. They are committed to doing this and improving the property, regardless of economic conditions.”
The Rio Lounge is where changes are the most obvious. The bar that stood along the windows overlooking the Sandias and the bosque along the Rio Grande has been moved against a wall. It was blocking the best view in the house, Westenhaver said.
A new onyx panel behind the bar is lit from within, lending a pleasant golden light. Large glass doors now open onto a round terrace that has a casual restaurant and fire pits. The lounge also got all new furniture and carpeting.
The Tamaya Mist spa has new slate floors and walls, new carpeting and doors. A common outdoor area will get additional upgrades early next year with a fire pit and a waterfall, as well as kivas with turquoise accents
“We’re probably the only truly cultural resort in the country,” Westenhaver said. “We don’t want to lose that essence, just freshen it up a bit.”
Flick-Mars of Dallas did the renovation design. Andy Lee General Contractor LLC, based in Albuquerque, did renovation work in the suites. Hart Construction of Albuquerque did the Rio Grande Lounge and the spa work.
Westenhaver has a five-member board from the Pueblo he meets with to make sure designs and any promotions the hotel does are in line with the Pueblo’s cultural heritage.
The hotel is offering a promotion this month in honor of Mother’s Day where “mom” and a guest get free breakfast and a two-for-one manicure or pedicure. It’s also continuing a promotion offering guests half off the room rate on their birthday and a free spa treatment and meal in the Corn Maiden (if their guest buys a meal and a spa treatment). That goes through next April, Westenhaver said.
The economy has taken its toll on the resort, he added, as well-heeled travelers watch their 401(k)s drop. Then there’s what he calls the “AIG effect.” Hyatt has had millions in cancellations as corporations pull back from travel and business meetings that might be deemed too luxurious. The Tamaya has felt that too, he said.
Westenhaver said the Tamaya is focusing on regional marketing in nearby states as well as New Mexico. It’s also using technology more aggressively. About 60 percent of its ads will be placed online and in markets like Dallas, Denver and Houston.