Filed under: Luxury Travel & Hotels
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has a habit of acquiring and nationalizing various businesses from gold mines to factories. This week he ordered the "acquisition by force" of a the Hilton Hotel on Venezuela's Margarita island. The resort hotel includes a 590-foot freeform swimming pool, casino, gym and a white sand beach.The hotel also includes the La Scala Restaurant and a bar. It has 280 rooms and 154 time-share suites. The hotel was recently the site of the Africa-South America Summit which was attended by Muammar Gadhafi (who set up his often controversial luxury tent on the beach), Robert Mugabe and others.
A few years ago, the government seized and rebranded a Hilton in Caracas. Now known as Hotel Alba it has been used to entertain Chavez supporters from around the world. The Wall Street Journal quotes Karla Visconti, a spokeswoman for Hilton Worldwide, who said the company "is evaluating how the Venezuelan government's action affects its interest in this hotel." While the Hilton manages the hotel, it does not own it. Last year, a law in Venezuela was passed which referred to the tourism industry as "public interest," setting the stage for nationalization efforts when it comes to hotels and resorts.