New Architectural details unveiled for Marriott Hotel, Ambergris Caye

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

Since the announcement that ECI Development would be working together with Marriott Hotels & Resorts to bring the world-class brand to Ambergris Caye, co-founder and attorney Joel Nagel and ECI Development CEO Michael K. Cobb have been arduously working on the architectural details of the resort. Seeking to embrace Belize’s rich British colonial history and the architecture of that era, Nagel, Cobb and the rest of the ECI team partnered with Rafael Amuchastegui and his firm, RAD Architecture, to make the Marriott a magnificent monument on the island. RAD Architecture is an international boutique design firm specializing in hospitality, commercial, and residential projects with offices in Miami, Florida USA and Córdoba, Argentina. RAD’s strategically located offices have allowed them to maintain close ties with clients around the world and to keep up to date with the latest trends in ecological and environmental designs using high-tech materials to the benefit of clients such as ECI and Marriott in challenging areas like Belize.
According to ECI Development and RAD Architecture, one of the challenges in planning the construction of the resort is the aggressively salty and humid air conditions. The proper materials had to be selected that would only require regular maintenance over time, would not drastically deteriorate, and would be able to withstand hurricanes.
Another challenge involves the insufficient workforce for building a mega project of this scope on a tropical island in such a short amount of time. The developers, therefore, needed to decide to work with light gauge steel construction and in turn, protect that steel from the weather. This process will allow the builders to have a lighter structure that will be much faster to build by using dry materials such as screws and bonding agents rather than materials that would require a longer process and that would have to be cured or dried. To prevent the property from becoming too much of an urban hotel rather than a beach resort, the developers have tried to ensure that nearly all 200 rooms would have a view of the water and that none would face the street. They also wanted to make sure that the design would cater to the quaint and relaxed atmosphere of San Pedro, where there are nearly no cars except for a few taxis (and almost all transportation is through golf carts).
Cobb further shared with The San Pedro Sun that they are aware of the issues the island is facing-particularly water shortage and have planned to invest in an infrastructure support system necessary for these large-scale developments. “We will have massive cisterns and so from midnight to 5AM when nobody on the island is using the water, we will fill our cisterns,” said Cobb. “The cisterns will feed everything on the hotel during the day when there is low water pressure,” Cobb added that the hotel would also count with life safety measures such as sprinklers, a stairway at every hall and meet North America’s fire and life safety standards. Cobb indicated that such standards should not only be considered for this type of commercial investment but also smaller hotels. The hotel will also count with large generators to provide an uninterrupted flow of electricity in case of power outages.
ECI further stated that they recognize the importance of the conservation and protection of the local reef system and has been actively involved in the environmentally sensitive, sustainable development of the region for over two decades. It views this project as an opportunity to create an icon on the island and a meaningful way of serving the tourists that have been coming to Belize. “We recognize the critical importance of conservation and protection of this reef system and are pleased to be working with a global company known for its environmental commitment,” said ECI Development co-founder Nagel.
The Belize Marriott Residences Ambergris Caye Resort is not owned, developed or sold by Marriott Worldwide Corporation of its affiliates (“Marriott”). Grand Baymen Villas, LLC and Exotic Caye Beach Resort Limited use the Marriott marks under a license from Marriott. ECI Development will retain 60% of the condos and is offering 40% for private ownership. The ECI Development business model is by itself, an environmentally and socially responsible, sustainable form of development. Their founders, many of whom have worked in Central America since the early 1990s in a strictly humanitarian nature, believe that the helping hand is more powerful than the handout. Maintaining that sustainability and transformation are the keys to long-term community impact and success.

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