Travel with Val: Old Colombian convent could become New York couple's touristic gold mine
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Tom Herman, a partner of KCP Capital, and entrepreneur Laura Herman live on the Upper West Side, but they now split their time between the Big Apple and the Caribbean coast of Colombia, South America.
“We like Cartagena as a tourist destination because it's really safe,” Tom Herman says.
"It is a charm and an ambience, from the architecture, to the food, to the cultural aspects," says Laura Herman.
They like Cartagena so much, in fact, that they bought and renovated a spacious apartment within the walls of the old city and turned it into an upscale B&B.
“The city is growing very quickly and the tourism industry is growing rapidly. It’s a fabulous place to visit but there is a real dearth of luxury rooms,” says Tom.
Now, he is diving even further into the depths of extravagance, bringing in investors to finance a $40 million project.
"We purchased a 350- to 400-year-old convent called Obra Pia. It’s been in disrepair for the last 40 years and unused, and we’re renovating it to be a 115-room hotel with really a convent-type theme," says Tom.
With the hotel located in an up-and-coming section of Cartagena called Getsemani, Tom thinks he is onto something big.
“It's sort of like SoHo or the Village from the '60s or '70s, in terms of there’s a vibrant nightlife with some exciting, grungy bars, a lot of live music, a lot of artists and interesting places to explore,” says Tom.
Contingent on securing an outstanding $15 million in capital, Obra Pia is set to open in 2014 as the city’s first five-star property, with rooms ranging in price from $350 to $1,000 a night.
Visit www.kcpcapital.com for details.
For more travel deals, visit www.travelwithval.com, or follow Valarie at twitter.com/travelwithval.