As Hacienda Jurica by Brisas celebrates its 50 years of operation, GM Guillermo Zagal says the hotel is preparing to take on the next 50 years by catering to business and group travelers coming to Mexico.
QURERETARO, Mexico—This year, Hacienda Jurica by Brisas reached its milestone of 50 years in operation, and the hotel only continues to improve as times change.
Nestled in the city of Queretaro, Mexico, the 239-key Hacienda Jurica, part of the Grupo Brisas collection, has hosted 1,650 weddings (approximately 31 per year), more than 28,000 events and more than two million guests over the past 50 years, said Guillermo Zagal, GM of the hotel.
“It’s easy to say that within 50 years, this beautiful property has seen more than two generations of families and visitors, some of whom have visited with their children and now return as grandparents with their children and grandchildren,” he said.
The name “Jurica,” which means “place of health,” was inspired by the land’s natural beauty and thermal springs, he said. The land was originally discovered in the 1500s by the primitive settlers of the Bajío. The hotel located there in 1969.
Business travelers, groups
Queretaro’s growth has been driven by its industrial zones, of which there are currently 20, Zagal said.
Mexico’s tourism has also grown significantly over time, he said, as a result of the government’s efforts to showcase it as a region that preserves its history while embracing the modern world. This boom in tourism has led to the development of new airports, new restaurants and attractions that cater to tourists, which has generally bolstered many sectors of the economy, he said.
“Our exquisite beaches, historical sites and our bustling capital city are a consistent draw,” he said. “The tourism department announced earlier this year they estimate around 45 million tourists will visit Mexico this year, and over the past few years we’ve seen one record-breaking year after another.”
All of these positive factors spurred the decision to grow the number of rooms at the hotel and add a new convention center, he said.
Zagal said the hotel looks primarily for business from the MICE segment—meetings, incentives, congress and exhibitions—and benefits from having Mexico City close by.
Because so many business travelers come through each year, Zagal said it’s important to make sure the hotel always has everything it needs to accommodate business and leisure. That includes keeping high-speed internet up to date and free to all guests, he said.
“There are also 14 banquet and auditorium-style halls that can accommodate up to 500 people; trained staff are available to ensure every event is a success; and Jurica Hall, which is designed with sleek, contemporary architecture, can accommodate 900 people in the auditorium or can be divided into three halls for multiple functions at once,” he said.
Jurica Hall, the new stand-alone convention center, opened about two years ago, Zagal said.
Zagal said weddings also have become very popular over the years at Hacienda Jurica, as many couples opt for destination weddings in Mexico.
Looking ahead to the next 50 years
Remaining at the forefront and continuing to be an attractive and renewed product is key to staying relevant in the market, Zagal said.
To do so, he said his hotel must adapt to the social and economic environment as well as technology trends.
“We strive for excellence at all of our properties, ensuring that guests are given a first-rate experience from arrival to departure,” he said.
This is accomplished by creating a unique experience, providing quality meals with a generous selection of dietary options and creating spaces that allow guests to feel relaxed and refreshed, he said.
“Hacienda Jurica is, of course, unique because it is also a historical place. So as we strive to improve the property, we also want to make sure that we balance this by maintaining its charm and authenticity, and that’s something we’ll continue to prioritize for years to come,” he said.
Planned improvements include a renovation of guestrooms to a more modern style, which will start at the end of May with an expected completion date of late 2020, “if everything goes as planned,” he said.
Zagal added that maintaining a property for five decades is a good challenge, and the “different administrations have managed to position this hotel as an icon in the town.”