Don Fer­nando opens its doors

The Taos News - - BUSINESS - By Jesse Moya jmoya@taos­

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.

Jesse Moya

Jay Ba­tra, Don Fer­nando owner and ho­tel de­vel­oper, spoke at the grand open­ing for the ho­tel Thurs­day (Oct. 18) and thanked the en­tire com­mu­nity for its con­tri­bu­tions to open­ing the ho­tel. The ho­tel will add 126 rooms to the lodg­ing in­ven­tory of Taos.

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