Appointments & Promotions

Hacienda Altagracia Appoints Ramces Castillo as Executive Chef

New Chef Celebrates Regional Flavors with Dishes Sourced from On-site Farm

SAN ISIDRO, C.R. March 27, 2017 - Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection’s first Central American property located in Costa Rica’s lush mountains of Pérez Zeledón, announces the appointment of Ramces Castillo as Executive Chef. In his new role Castillo will lead the culinary program for all of the resort’s dining outlets including its signature restaurant, Ambar. Pairing classical cooking techniques with the flavors of Latin America, Chef’s new menu will celebrate the bounty of the region and will be sourced from the resort’s on-site 20-acre sustainably managed farm.

“We are excited to welcome Chef Castillo to lead our culinary team,” said JP Alfonso, general manager of Hacienda AltaGracia. “His professional experience, understanding of flavors and inspired approach to fresh, locally-sourced cuisine will truly embrace our destination-focused culinary program.”

Chef Castillo will bring a distinct global perspective and command of Latin flavor profiles to Hacienda AltaGracia, building upon a culinary trajectory of more than 10 years that has included top positions in St. Lucia, Dominican Republic and Mexico. Chef’s remarkable dishes, using local ingredients and plated in an artistic manner, are a result of his skillful precision of Japanese knife skills and appreciations of the elegance and finesse of classic French cuisine.

Cultivating the best ingredients for the kitchen from the on-site organic farm, Chef Castillo invites guests to dig in and accompany him in the selection of fresh produce each morning for the days’ dishes at Hacienda AltaGracia’s organic farm, La Huerta. For lunch, guests can experience the harvesting of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs immediately before they are prepared and served at an al fresco barbeque right onsite at the farm.

Chef Castillo’s menus at the resort will be ever-changing and always reflective of the seasons. They will feature selections that incorporate the region’s best local produce and fresh ingredients with signature dishes such as Pan Seared Local White Trout with creamy watercress, wild berries, tapioca and lavender foam.

Chef Castillo lives in Pérez Zeledón with his wife and three daughters.

About Hacienda AltaGracia

Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection’s first Central American property, is set amidst the lush mountains of Pérez Zeledón in the southern region of Costa Rica. Originally conceived and developed as a family retreat and coffee farm, the luxury resort features 50 hacienda-style casitas including expansive patios and terraces offering sweeping views of the San Isidro Valley; stunning window walls that bring the surrounding nature indoors; rustic-elegant décor rooted in rich leathers, woods and handcrafted Costa Rican artwork. The property offers overnight accommodations, spa and wellness facilities, a panoramic pool, indoor/outdoor dining venues and an equestrian program featuring breed horses for all skill levels. In keeping with the rich heritage of Costa Rica, Hacienda AltaGracia offers a dynamic roster of activities connecting guests with nature and each other with programs ranging from coffee plantation and wildlife refuge excursions to a signature fitness journey and ultralight flight tours showcasing the Nauyaca waterfalls, ocean and valleys from the resort’s own private landing strip. For more information about Hacienda AltaGracia, please visit altagracia.aubergeresorts.com.

About Auberge Resorts Collection

Auberge Resorts Collection owns and operates a portfolio of exceptional hotels, resorts, residences and private clubs. While Auberge nurtures the individuality of each property, all share a crafted approach to luxury that is expressed through captivating design, exceptional cuisine and spas, and gracious yet unobtrusive service. Properties in the Auberge Resorts Collection include: Auberge du Soleil, Calistoga Ranch and Solage, Napa Valley, Calif.; Esperanza and Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Los Cabos, Mexico; Hotel Jerome, Aspen, Colo.; Malliouhana, Anguilla; Nanuku, Fiji; Element 52, Telluride, Colo.; Hacienda AltaGracia, Costa Rica; and Auberge Beach Residences and Spa Fort Lauderdale (opening 2017) and The Lodge at Blue Sky, Utah (opening fall 2018), with several others in development. For more information about Auberge Resorts Collection, please visit http://www.aubergeresorts.com/. Follow Auberge Resorts Collection on Facebook at facebook.com/AubergeResorts and on Twitter and Instagram at @AubergeResorts.

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Coming Up In The September Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Group Meetings: Blue Skies Ahead
After a decade of sacrifice and struggle, it seems that hotels and meeting planners have every reason to be optimistic about the group meeting business going forward. By every industry benchmark and measure, 2017 is shaping up to be a record year, which means more meetings in more locations for more attendees. And though no one in the industry is complaining about this rosy outlook, the strong demand is increasing competition among meeting planners across the board – for the most desirable locations, for the best hotels, for the most creative experiences, for the most talented chefs, and for the best technology available. Because of this robust demand, hotels are in the driver’s seat and they are flexing their collective muscles. Even though over 100,000 new rooms were added last year, hotel rates are expected to rise by a minimum of 4.0%, and they are also charging fees on amenities that were often gratis in the past. In addition, hotels are offering shorter lead times on booking commitments, forcing planners to sign contracts earlier than in past years. Planners are having to work more quickly and to commit farther in advance to secure key properties. Planners are also having to meet increased attendee expectations. They no longer are content with a trade show and a few dinners; they want an experience. Planners need to find ways to create a meaningful experience to ensure that attendees walk away with an impactful memory. This kind of experiential learning can generate a deeper emotional connection, which can ultimately result in increased brand recognition, client retention, and incremental sales. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group business and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.