From Magnum Belize Newsletter...
Mata Chica to maintain its "cool" while upgrading guests' accommodations
Though the ownership of Mata Chica Beach Resort changed hands this past year, its cool, laid-back atmosphere remains unchanged.
Managers Lorie Jackson and Gricel Graniel continue to manage its day-to-day operations, and previous owner Nadia Tarrico is assisting her successor, Montreal-based attorney Daniel Lighter, in the transition.
What has changed is the accommodations, which have received an upgrade including not just all new linens, down feather pillows and Frette bathrobes in every room, but upgraded air conditioning and bathroom facilities and a Bose music system in each room as well.
In addition, there have been Windsurfers and Sunfish sailboats added for guest use; after dinner drinks, espresso and cappuccino were added to the beverage menu; and there is even a nightly cinema offered in one of Mata Chica’s bar-lounges, with classic old films starring Humphrey Bogart, Paul Newman, Robert Redford and more stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
“We wanted to improve the on-site experience for our guests,” said Lighter, who spends up to 10 days a month at the resort. “We want our guests to enjoy Mata Chica throughout the day and well into the evening… to take advantage of our beautiful common area-lounges, bar and restaurant”
A dramatically expanded bar selection and several new additions to the already renowned restaurant menu are also in the works, and there will be live music offered at regular intervals.
“Our new bikes and Sunfish sailboats provide more diverse alternatives to activities currently offered on site,” Lighter added.
Some of those activities include kayaking (complimentary for guests) and other water sports, mainland tours, or indoor activities such as wine tasting, rejuvenating massage and spa treatments at the Jade Spa, or browsing the web with a high-speed connection, while sipping a cocktail in the InterMartini Lounge.
Mata Chica features 14 private, air-conditioned villas (including two luxury villas with two bedrooms and two bathrooms each) — plus some new, 650-square-foot luxury casitas to be constructed starting in September 2007. An expanded pier, once completed, will allow guests to enjoy lounging over the water.
“This is still a cool, unique, laid back boutique beach resort — but the upgrades should provide our guests with an even more comfortable experience, as well as a broader choice of on-site activities,” Lighter added.
“I’m selling a diamond,” said Nadia Tarrico in an interview with the San Pedro Sun, shortly after the sale was completed. “Now it will get a little more polishing.”
“There is a sense of family among the staff, anyone that came and broke that up would be a fool,” Lighter told the Sun.. “So, if anything I will be adding staff for bettering service. I have no intention to cut back or scale back.”
Lighter equated his pursuit of purchasing Mata Chica with a love affair, which in order to advance, needed the blessing of the “parents” (i.e., its previous owners). He also purchased six acres of land adjacent to Mata Chica that he plans to develop in the not-too-distant future.
Lighter said his plan is to target the high-end niche of the tourism industry. “The travel industry now has moved the marker up, so you have to keep up with that mark. There is a certain niche that is willing to pay that little bit more, as long as you deliver that little bit extra,” he said.
The Belizean people were among the major reasons to which Lighter attributed his immediate love for the country. “There are a lot of wonderful beaches and places to visit in the Caribbean, but I was struck by the character of the people. They are genuine.”