Big things have been happening here at Itz’ana, most important, we are fast advancing on construction and putting finishing touches throughout our Placencia resort. But recently, the most exciting activities concerning Itz’ana happened not here in Belize, but across the border in neighboring Guatemala! We had extensive meetings in Guatemala City with our developer and investor teams to ensure everything progresses as it should.
A major player at these meetings was Fernando Paiz. He’s been a longtime investor of Itz’ana, but has stepped up his role to serve as developer as well. Paiz is a Renaissance man, renowned throughout Central America as a philanthropist, proponent of Maya cultural preservation, businessman and developer.
Along with introducing internet and cable TV services to Guatemala, negotiating the sale of his family’s supermarket chain to Walmart and overseeing a large-scale solar power installation in the region, he’s a cultural and eco warrior as well. As the president of La Ruta Maya Foundation, he works tirelessly to rescue, conserve and preserve Maya cultural heritage by recovering artifacts taken from their home countries and bringing them back for researchers and public display. His namesake Paiz Foundation, in memory of his parents, supports education and the arts in Guatemala, while his non-profit PACUNAM, which he co-founded, fosters scientific research and continued archaeological study of Maya sites.
Somehow, he also finds the time to lead the new biggest name in Central America hotel development, valued at more than $220 million, his luxury properties cover Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras. Each of his properties and resorts feature eco-friendly components, and most become mini-museums as well, showcasing his important collection of local artwork and antiquities. Due to Paiz’s track record, his company operates several high-profile Hyatt properties in the region—making it first independent operator of a Hyatt franchise.
Other team members include Omar Garcia, who’s become Itz’ana’s new Managing Director, Enrico Robles, Project Manager overseeing the construction of Itz’ana and Jorge Figueroa, Director of Ketzal, the company supervising the construction of Itz’ana. We’re so excited to have them all at the helm!
During our meetings in Guatemala City—held at Paiz’s new Hyatt Centric—we explored structural layouts and design details for Itz’ana. We finalized the Harbour House designs, which include a rooftop bar, a delicatessen, an informal restaurant, indoor/outdoor meeting space, adventure center and retail shop. We also defined placement for a kid’s center, family pool, gym and indulgent spa on the northern side of our lagoon. And due to increased demand, we added new One Bedroom Solar Cottage units.
After very productive meetings, we all had dinner as a team before touring Paiz’s private art collection at his home. We saw pieces from La Ruta Maya Conservation Foundation, contemporary Guatemala artists, a collection of works on paper from Rembrandt, Matisse, Renoir and more! And while we loved those masterpieces, our favorite discovery might have been a rare collection of Maya sling shots...who knows, we’ll just have to showcase a few of them at Itz’ana for your pleasure!
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