The long-awaited soiree in the middle of the week attracted an invitation-only crowd of 800, including foreign diplomats, local celebrities and Haiti’s well-heeled and politically connected — all of whom had been waiting years for the final reveal.
As they munched on passed hors d’oeuvres and sipped on free-flowing wine, they couldn’t help but notice the bamboo, locally-grown orchids and sexy white furniture that lined the expansive courtyard. Oversized drum pendants hung from the building’s ceiling.
“It’s like being in New York City,” said Dr. Ranley Desir, a Miami cardiologist who flew in with wife Karine.
Nearly three years after it was hammered by disaster, Haiti’s Royal Oasis hotel finally opened its glass doors this week. With high-end shops and 128 rooms managed by the Spanish hotel franchise Occidental Hotels & Resorts, the luxury boutique hotel is the country’s first internationally branded hotel in more than a decade and the first multi-million dollar, high profile, locally built and financed project since the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake.
“Royal Oasis is a beacon of modernity that we are all proud of,” said Jerry Tardieu, the 45-year-old Haitian entrepreneur who envisioned the project and brought 200 mostly Haitian shareholders together to make it a reality. “But mostly, it is a symbol of what we Haitians can do when we dare to dream big.”
That dream features a 10-level, earthquake-resistant South Beach-inspired building with a $1,300-a-night presidential suite, a yet-to-be-completed rooftop infinity pool and gray and off-white hues. They serve as a backdrop for the tributes to Haiti’s vibrant culture — ironworks, colorful beaded vases and photographs of Haiti’s untapped tourism potential — lining the otherwise neutral-colored walls.
The Wednesday night opening drew not only the country’s president and prime minister, but managers at competing hotels, who toured the $200 and up rooms, and those who regretted passing on the investment.
“I remember seeing the investor’s packet in 2007 and thinking, ‘This guy
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