Kor rides the Tides in creating two luxury resorts in Mexico

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Los Angeles-based Kor Hotel Group is thinking internationally, and Mexico is big on its map. The company's Tides brand, named after the luxury Miami Beach hotel owned by Kor, has been introduced south of the border this year.

Kor acquired the Ikal del Mar resort last year and relaunched it as the Tides Riviera Maya. In addition, Kor is building the Tides Playa del Carmen, a condo-hotel slated to open in the winter of 2008-2009.

"The Tides brand was motivated by Kor Hotel Group's renovation and repositioning of the Tides in South Beach," said Nicholas Clayton, president of the Kor Hotel Group.

"The Tides, its coastal location and the general desirability of coastal travel destinations convinced the Kor Hotel Group that, given its current acquisitions, a significant, desirable and upscale brand could grow from South Beach."

"Shortly thereafter, the Tides Playa del Carmen, a new ground-up property, was envisioned, and then Ikal del Mar was identified for conversion into a Tides, given its coastal location, a primary requirement for all new Tides properties."

Mexico was a natural choice for growing the brand, according to Clayton.

"Mexico was identified as the next stage of expansion for the Tides, given the acquisitions and developments occurring in coastal destinations within our company at the time," he said.

"While no other international destinations were ruled out in favor of Mexico, Ikal del Mar and Playa del Carmen became desirable due to a strong U.S. demand in those geographical areas."

In addition, Clayton noted that Mexico is rich in culture, history, cuisine and good weather. It also has some of the most beautiful seaside locations in the world, he said.

"Given these attributes, Kor Hotel Group thought that Mexico -- coupled with planned Tides service, design, food, beverage and holistic program goals -- would be an ideal location to grow our elite brand," he said.

Following the Tides

Ten miles north of Playa del Carmen, the Tides Riviera Maya is a six-acre resort with 30 palapa-style villas with private plunge pools. The resort also has a spa and gourmet dining options. Nightly rates start at $585.

"Ikal del Mar was acquired due to its uniqueness," Clayton said. "Those same attributes are what exemplify the 'hideaway' experience of the Tides. So while the flavor will remain, Kor Hotel Group will work hard to ensure that our standards and resources set for the brand only elevate the property."

The Tides Playa del Carmen will offer a more active environment, according to Clayton. The eight-acre resort will include a swimming pool, private beach club and a 10,000-square-foot spa. While carrying the same brand, each of the properties is to be unique, Clayton said.

"The Tides is set to offer different experiences in terms of geographic settings," he explained. "Whether in an urban resort setting like the original South Beach locale or in a hideaway setting like the Tides Riviera Maya, what will remain consistent are the service, design, food and beverage and holistic wellness program offerings at any Tides. A major requirement of all Tides properties is that they be located on the coast."

Clayton said all Tides properties are geared to appeal to travelers looking for "coastal, culturally rich, individual, yet engaging destinations."

"In a sense, visitors that will be drawn to the Tides South Beach will naturally be drawn to the brand's sister urban resort or hideaway locations," he said.

As the company expands its Tides brand, it has filled several senior management positions.

Julian Smaldoni is general manager and Cupertino Ortiz is executive chef of the Tides Riviera Maya.

Cristina Romero-Pero was appointed area director of sales for Mexico, based in the company's Los Angeles office.

The company also hired Victor Lopez as part of a new partnership with Related Group, a Florida-based real estate development firm, to further expand Kor Group's presence in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Plans are under way to build the Tides Anguilla in the Caribbean, next to the planned Viceroy Anguilla.

While there are no concrete plans to further grow the Tides collection elsewhere, the interest is definitely there, according to Clayton.

"While our Mexico portfolio is robust at the moment, we would not rule out any development in Los Cabos or another desirable coastal setting," he said. "South America is of much interest, as is Hawaii, Asia -- including Bali and Phuket -- and the Caribbean."

The Kor Group is a real estate development and management firm. In addition to its Tides brand, the hotel division operates properties that include the Viceroy Santa Monica in Santa Monica, Calif.; the Viceroy Palm Springs in Palm Springs, Calif.; the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.; and Villa del Sol in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

For more information about the Tides, call (866) 332-1672 or visit www.thetidesresorts.com.

To contact reporter Mark Chesnut, send e-mail [email protected].

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