Can elegance come out of a dream planted in a pub?
Over a decade ago, native Aussies Chad Carey and Greg Carter found themselves in a London bar discussing the business opportunity of tourism in South America. Greg had a decent sense of what the Latin atmosphere was like, having traveled to Peru in 1999; Chad, a studied engineer, simply wanted a creative outlet. The latter would spend the six months that followed that fateful round of drinks researching and building a business plan while traveling around South America.
Today the friends are co-founders of Chimu Adventures, a successful travel company featuring South and Central American nations as well as the Antarctic. With a business that runs off of wanderlust, would it be possible for the entrepreneurial duo to have just one ‘˜home’? Though they currently live in Australia with their respective families, the two plan to set some roots in Peru’s capital with their latest project: Casa Republica.
(Photo courtesy of Casa Republica)
Situated just 200 meters from the Pacific Ocean, the new venture will become Barranco’s second boutique hotel; in fact, it not only on the same street, but the same block as the renowned Hotel B. Is there room for two stylish tourist accommodations in one small district?
With an expected inauguration date for mid 2017, Living in Peru spoke with Chad about the process of building a modern business out of a 1920s beach mansion.
Do either you or Greg have any background in design or architecture?
I worked as a Civil Engineer on construction and building projects for ten years – a background that has definitely proven useful. However, due to time constraints and having been out of the industry for quite a while now, I generally leave it up to our consultants to find the best approach for the different stages of this project.
Greg and I were both in Australia during the prep work but we’ve been involved with the design and all other aspects of the remodeling period from the start. We are also fortunate to have our local business partner, Juan Jose, on the ground. He is strongly involved with the day to day renovations.
What’s the building’s history? What kind of state was it in before you fixed it up?
It was a Republican-era beach-side mansion – basically a holiday home for the Lima elite. It’s an adobe construction which is pretty amazing for the high ceilings they have managed to achieve with this construction method. It wasn’t in such bad nick when we took it on as it was a lawyer’s office before. As such though it wasn’t in a state to be useful as a hotel and we’ve had to redesign large parts of the interior to get bathrooms in for rooms, etc.
An idea of what guest rooms could look like. (Photo courtesy of Casa Republica)
Barranco is familiar with the concept of boutique hotels, as it already counts with Hotel B. What sets your hotel, Casa Republica, apart?
Yes, there is Hotel B but that is a top end hotel and therefore attracting a different clientele to ours. Until now there hasn’t been much in the four star range in Barranco and that’s where we see the opportunity.
Casa Republica can be enjoyed by a very broad range of different types of travelers. The core clientele we’re expecting will probably be in line with our existing Chimu demographics that are 40-70 year old couples mostly.
Barranco is undoubtedly one of Lima’s up and coming suburbs and we’re very excited to be at the forefront of bringing hotels of this category to the area.
A view of the hotel’s neighborhood (Photo courtesy of Casa Republica)