Reggie Moreau explained it clearly: “The economy sucks,” said the owner of White House hotel, restaurant, spa and casino in the hills of San Antonio de Escazú, west of San José.
One of White House’s approaches to dealing with the poor economy is to start catering not to tourists but to locals. The hotel has revamped what it offers in hopes of appealing to a different market.
With fewer tourists and businesspeople visiting the hotel, Moreau said he no longer wants a focus on wealthy North Americans. “We want to deal with the masses rather than classes,” he said.
The two biggest changes are being made in the restaurant and the spa. The hotel’s onsite restaurant, the Capitol Grill, is changing its prices, with more of a focus on budget meals. Tuesday will be Italian night, Wednesday will be Mexican night and Thursday will be for meat lovers.
The cheaper meals at the restaurant can be countered by a trip to the onsite spa. Moreau called obesity the “highest sickness,” and said the spa will offer weight-loss-guaranteed packages designed to take off the pounds with little to no exercise through a program called Boca Health. If a client doesn’t lose a certain number of pounds over time, the cost of the spa treatment will be refunded, Moreau said.
Another plan in the works is to bring back the weddings that used to be popular at the property in the days before it was taken over by Moreau. He intends to bring back those sacred ceremonies to his hotel, he said.
Those not looking to tie the knot can hit the road on a White House motorcycle tour. Recently, local rider Jeff Holley and five others went on a motorcycle tour through the mountains around Puriscal, southwest of the capital on the way to Jacó on the central Pacific coast. The tour led riders through green mountains, around wavy turns and toward a beach destination. The ride took about an hour and a half each way.
The hotel owns several Harley-Davidson Road Kings, motorcycles often used by police officers in the United States. Each bike can take one passenger in addition to the driver. Holley said he enjoys the rides for the inner serenity it brings him, especially when driving through Costa Rica.
“Nobody wants to get stuck in traffic with diesel fumes and everything else,” Holley said. “So it’s nice to get away from that. And if you go and see things like volcanoes and you’re getting on mountains and curvy roads and you start leaning into your turns, it’s very good.”
White House also has a casino, sports bar and cigar bar at its hillside location overlooking the city. Room rates will be offered at half-price, Moreau said. He hopes all these perks will showcase a new way for luxury hotels in Costa Rica to survive the economic crisis.
“We have all the convenience,” Moreau said. “We have all the tours. We are a five-star luxury hotel with five-star pricing, and now it goes to one-star type of (prices) because of the economy.”
Getting There, Rates, Info
White House hotel, restaurant, spa and casino is 600 meters south of the cemetery in San Antonio de Escazú. Amenities include swimming pool and Jacuzzi, restaurant, sports bar, casino, cigar bar, spa facilities and helicopter, Hummer and limousine service.
For information on the discounted prices presently being offered, call 2288-6362 or visit www.whitehousecostarica.com.