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    Can a Huge Luxury Resort = Sustainable Tourism?

    By Keith R | September 26, 2007

    Topics: Environmental Protection, Sustainable Tourism | No Comments »

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    Can a 650-acre seaside luxury resort in Costa Rica be a full-fledged "sustainable tourism" destination? 

    Steve Case, the co-founder of America Online (AOL), says it can.

    Case launched the company Revolution LLC  in 2005 "to build companies based on disruptive business models that give people more choice, control and convenience in the important aspects of their lives."  Revolution has three market foci: health, resorts, "balanced living." 

    Last month Case announced the creation of Revolution Places and its development of a $800 million luxury resort on 650 acres in Cacique, a small Costa Rican (just under 4,000) town on the northwestern coast in the province of Guanacaste, near the border with Nicaragua.  

    Revolution Places "will bring together premiere hospitality partners and innovative lifestyle brands to develop a new authentic vacation experience that retains the local environment and culture. With a full complement of sustainability principles and community involvement, Revolution Places will create high-end developments that provide consumers with treasured and limited for-sale vacation real estate."

    Scratching your head yet?  Wondering how Case will balance "retaining the local environment and culture" with developing the biggest luxury resort in Central America?  How exactly he defines "sustainability principles"?  If not, read the full press release, reproduced below.  I'm betting you will be scratching your head by the end of it.

    ______________________________

    From Revolution

    REVOLUTION LAUNCHES NEW LUXURY RESORT DEVELOPMENT COMPANY

    Revolution Places to launch resorts combining natural and cultural surroundings with luxury hospitality brands and unique vacation experiences

    Costa Rican President Óscar Arias Sánchez and Revolution Chairman Steve Case Announce Debut Development – Cacique, Costa Rica – to open in 2010

    Resort community to feature One&Only Resort, Miraval Destination Spa, Exclusive Resorts, Tom Doak 18-hole golf course, and Agassi-Graf Tennis and Fitness Center

    Revolution LLC, the company created by AOL co-founder Steve Case, today launched Revolution Places, an original approach to sustainable destination resort communities. In support of the launch, Costa Rican President Óscar Arias Sánchez and Revolution Chairman Steve Case jointly announced at a press conference today in Costa Rica the first development, Cacique, Costa Rica, a first-of-its-kind 650-acre luxury resort community scheduled to open in 2010.

    Revolution Places will bring together premiere hospitality partners and innovative lifestyle brands to develop a new authentic vacation experience that retains the local environment and culture. With a full complement of sustainability principles and community involvement, Revolution Places will create high-end developments that provide consumers with treasured and limited for-sale vacation real estate. These developments will also feature personalized service and unique amenities for home owners.

    “Revolution Places is an entirely new approach to destination resort development,” said Steve Case, chairman & CEO of Revolution LLC. “We are bringing together the best of the best to deliver an ownership and guest experience like no other resort in the world. Importantly, we will preserve the local environment and culture when developing resorts like Cacique, Costa Rica to ensure our presence is a positive and welcome contribution.”

    “I am extremely pleased to welcome Steve Case and Revolution to Costa Rica. I am confident that Mr. Case, like other investors and visitors we have been fortunate to host, will find in our country a place where education and hard work are valued,” said President Arias. “With this solid foundation, our economy is growing beyond traditional strengths such as agriculture and tourism to encompass an increasingly diverse array of industries and exports; our country is home to both peace and progress. Furthermore, I recently announced a new initiative, Peace with Nature, which seeks to make our country carbon-neutral by the year 2021. This will ensure that our proud tradition of environmental stewardship grows ever stronger.”

    Revolution Places is led by a world-class management team that has built exceptional, leading companies. Donn Davis has been named CEO of Revolution Places Group, in addition to his role as executive chairman of Exclusive Resorts, also a Revolution LLC company. Philippe Bourguignon has been named vice chairman of Revolution Places Group and CEO of its development group, Revolution Places Development.

    Davis will continue to serve as executive chairman of Exclusive Resorts, a company he has built into the leading luxury destination club and, in doing so, defined an entirely new luxury industry. Bourguignon is a recognized international business leader, having served as co-CEO of the Davos-based World Economic Forum, chairman and CEO of Club Mediterranee, and chairman and CEO of Euro Disney.

    Cacique–Costa Rica

    The first major destination under development by Revolution Places is Cacique, Costa Rica. The new luxury resort community located on the northwest coast of Guanacaste, Costa Rica spans 650-acres owned by Revolution Places. The $800 million resort development will also feature multiple, synergistic luxury real estate products to open in successive phases beginning in 2010.

    “After searching the hemisphere, we have selected Cacique, Costa Rica as the ideal location for our first Revolution Places resort community,” said Bourguignon. “We are creating an environment that departs from the gated and manicured environment of conventional developments. Cacique, Costa Rica preserves the essence of the local culture and natural beauty, while offering luxury and wellness. This is a place where people are not only guests, but participants in a uniquely authentic experience.”

    The development of Cacique, Costa Rica will feature highest-end services and amenities with a focus on intelligent, environmentally friendly designs that reduce energy and water demand and take advantage of spatial, wind and solar patterns to maximize natural ventilation, shade and daylight. Cacique, Costa Rica will establish a comprehensive recycling and solid waste management program to neutralize the impact of this development on the surrounding environment. Additionally, Cacique will create on-site treatment facilities to re-use wastewater and will purchase its electrical power for the community from renewable sources. World-class architecture and design will be integrated with indigenous traditions, environment and materials, to create an experience that is second-to-none and authentically Costa Rican.

    “Costa Rica reminds me of Hawaii when I was born there nearly 50 years ago,” said Case. “We are aiming to take the things that make authentic Hawaii so special, such as the connections to the local people, restaurants, shops and the spirit of aloha, while bringing together the best brands and applying the best principles and practices of today. Our goal is to break new ground as we strive to make Cacique, Costa Rica the best resort in the world – and a model for a new kind of resort for the next generation.”

    Cacique, Costa Rica seamlessly brings together world-class brands to provide owners and guests with a broad range of experiences, services, amenities, and activities to suit their every desire. Cacique, Costa Rica will integrate the following prestigious brands:

    • One&Only Resorts – Recognized as leaders in luxury, One&Only Resorts are set in exotic locales around the world and offer guests an unsurpassed vacation experience. One&Only Cacique, Costa Rica will be a 120 all-villa property, with each room a large free-standing suite, situated on its own lush green compound for privacy and featuring unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean. The award-winning resort group will provide guests with an unrivaled level of personalized services and luxurious amenities for the traveling connoisseur.
    • Miraval: Life in Balance – As the #1 ranked destination spa, Miraval Cacique is the first exotic location expansion of this acclaimed brand. The innovator in living and feeling better, Miraval Cacique will open to include a full family experience offering 100 adventurous programs while providing 120 luxurious rooms and 60 villas inspired by the local surroundings. Guests and owners will relax, reconnect and recharge at the 50-acre private grounds.
    • Exclusive Resorts – As the #1 luxury destination club, Exclusive Resorts has become the preferred way affluent families travel. Exclusive Resorts has committed to custom design and purchase 30 residences at Cacique, Costa Rica in a private enclave, ensuring its 3,000 and growing membership tremendous access to what looks to become one of the most demanded resort developments.
    • Tom Doak 18-hole golf course – Targeting the serious golf enthusiast, Tom Doak designs are unique and creative alternatives to ubiquitous signature golf courses. Doak’s course designs look to protect and respect the natural terrain, and are ranked among the top 100 courses in the world by Golf Magazine, including the highly acclaimed Pacific Dunes course in Bandon, Oregon and Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand.
    • Agassi-Graf Tennis and Fitness Centers – Cacique, Costa Rica will be home to the world’s first Agassi /Graf Tennis & Fitness Center, an entirely new approach that will make tennis and fitness relevant and fun for families on vacation. These centers designed and programmed personally by Andre Agassi and Stefi Graf, will be inviting to the novice and a treat for the expert.

    In addition to the two hotel components of the One&Only Resort and the Miraval Destination Resort, Cacique, Costa Rica will offer very select for-sale real estate components. Ownership will be beyond compare, with the entire resort developed with the real estate owner and their guests in mind – a thoughtfully designed, seamlessly integrated resort living experience with the highest level of personalized services and complete access to resort amenities. There will only be 300 for-sale real estate products on the entire 650-acre peninsula, with each product hand crafted to be the most desired real estate offering imaginable.

    The for-sale real estate product will include the purchasers’ choice of: estate sites, custom and semi-custom whole ownership residences, resort-loft living, and Exclusive Resorts club memberships. All real estate components will be designed and developed under best-of-breed master architectural and resort community planning standards.

    Doing Well While Doing Good

    Revolution Places understands that the success of its developments is contingent on the well-being of the local community and the environment. To this end, Revolution Places today announced that it is investing in a series of local Costa Rican community initiatives that initially include:

    • The donation of 1 million trees to the government-chartered Foundation for the Balance between Conservation and Development
    • The donation of hydro-geological studies of the Panama aquifer and watershed
    • The donation of computer learning centers to the towns of Filadelfia, Hermosa, Panama and Sardinal
    • A $1 million investment to encourage and support the development of local non-profit efforts. Modeled after The Case Foundation’s Make it Your Own Awards, Revolution Places will make grants of up to $35,000 to individuals and local organizations that develop initiatives to improve and protect the Costa Rican environment. A panel of judges from the region will be responsible for selecting those who receive the grants. Full details of this program will be revealed in the summer of 2008. 

    With Cacique, Costa Rica the development and operations of the community is expected to create more than 2,000 new local jobs. These jobs will range from construction and maintenance to guest services and managerial roles. In addition, the company expects to partner with local businesses as Cacique, Costa Rica is developed and will maximize purchasing of locally produced goods and services for construction and operations.

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