PANAMA CITY – The Marriott hotel chain took on Tuesday over the administration of a luxury hotel in Panama that had been managed by the conglomerate of US President Donald Trump from 2011 until early this year, when the organization had to abandon it during a bitter dispute with the building’s new owners.
“Marriott International takes control, starting today, to administer the building in all its aspects ... The reservation system is working, Marriott has many (customers) and expectations are that this hotel will attract all that luxury market,” said the new manager of the JW Marriott, Demetrio Maduro.
The JW Marriott, the former name of which was The Bahia Grand Panama and which earlier had been known as the Trump Ocean Club Hotel, occupies an imposing 70-story sail-shaped building right on the beach in one of the Panamanian capital’s most exclusive districts.
“We are confident that the Marriott International chain has the resources, the salesforce and the reach and experience to improve operating profits and maximize the value of this hotel asset,” said the manager of the Ithaca Capital investment fund and majority owner of the building, Orestes Fintiklis.
“Today is a really exciting day. We are thrilled that the administration of this iconic hotel will be taken on by JW Marriott,” Fintiklis added.
Ithaca Capital and the Trump Organization had been engaged in a bitter dispute in US and Panamanian courts starting in 2017, when the investment fund acquired a majority stake in the building.
The investment firm had been seeking to fire Trump’s company, claiming that it had allowed damage to the brand and mismanaged the asset, but the Trump Organization refused to hand over the property and the matter wound up in court.
Ithaca Capital officials said on Tuesday that the dispute is now over.
The new JW Marriott is the US chain’s 16th hotel in Panama, giving that nation the second-largest number of its hotels in Latin America.