After over two years of renovations, the Hotel Don Fernando returns to Taos.A grand opening ceremony for the revitalized hotel was held Thursday evening (Oct. 18) to …
After over two years of renovations, the Hotel Don Fernando returns to Taos. A grand opening ceremony for the revitalized hotel was held Thursday evening (Oct. 18) to celebrate the work and time put in to the Don Fernando's renovation.
Community leaders from the town of Taos as well as Taos County joined in the ceremony to welcome the hotel back to Taos and to welcome 126 more rooms to the hotel market in the area. Developer and owner Jay Batra and his crew invited the public in to showcase their work and to celebrate a new era for the hotel.
"It was like running a marathon," Batra said. "It was huge. It was a huge undertaking."
The event was the pinnacle of several feats of development both inside and out of the hotel, which included new windows, a swimming pool and electrical work within the hotel. For a year the hotel sat vacant and fell to vandalism and neglect before Batra picked up the project.
Two ushers stood at the doors greeting community members to the hotel as a red carpet awaited the much anticipated full house of officials. Inside, Taos community leaders awed at the renovations the hotel had undergone, took part in the new bar and food provided by Pallets, the hotel's new restaurant.
The opening ceremony was reminiscent of the hotel's initial grand opening party, which brought together lawmakers, community shakers and economic developers to the hotel nearly 30 years ago.
"This is a project that really is economic development within our community," said Taos Mayor Dan Barrone at the event.
Batra's revitalization created 46 low-to-moderate income jobs and more to come. According to Batra, positions still need to be filled, but a majority of the hotel's staff is present and working.
Many of the new staff could be seen throughout the evening serving guests from cocktail platters and showing them around the hotel. The Don Fernando has welcomed guests to the hotel and lounge since the opening, and staff have been working to sort out some kinks and smooth out operations before the Hilton certification training in November.
"When you have a community that works together, this is how we win," said state Sen. Bobby Gonzales of the hotel.
Completed in 1989, the Don Fernando was once touted as the most luxurious hotel in Taos, and Batra and his crew are striving to achieve that status once more. Through the repairs and renovations, crews cleaned out damaged furniture, broken windows and several instances of graffiti to bring the hotel back to its former glory.
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