Panama developer claims Nikki Beach did not meet commitment

PLAYA BLANCA, PANAMA The owner-operator of a new US$40 million luxury condominium hotel in Playa Blanca, Panama, has accused Miami-based Nikki Beach Worldwide of improper termination of contract and of spreading false, defamatory statements that seek to undermine the success of the real estate development.

The 5-star property, which features 240 condo-hotel units—about 80% of which have been sold—was built and is operated by RG Hotels Group and its subsidiaries, owned by the Galvez family of Panama. RG Hotel Group claims that, under a contract signed in December 2006, the local partners were granted the full exclusive right to use the Nikki Beach brand name in Panama for a term of five years. In May 2007, the parties entered into an operating agreement for Nikki Beach Hotels to take over management of the property.

“Despite the problems experienced with Nikki Beach as operator, we have upheld our commitments to condo owners, guests, and investors of the Nikki Beach Hotel and Resort Playa Blanca,” says Maru Galvez of Santa Fe Holdings SA and RG Hotels. “We remain dedicated to the successful operation of this beautiful property, and are currently exploring other alternative brands under which we can operate this popular resort.”

Attorney Juan Rodriguez says Nikki Beach is seeking to terminate the contract “without any legitimate grounds.”

Panama City-based Santa Fe Holdings is the sole owner of RG Hotels and Casa Campo Farallon, and has more than 12 years experience in the hospitality industry, operating dozens of successful luxury real estate developments across the country.  Law firm Carey Rodriguez Greenberg & Paul LLP is based in Miami with offices in Boca Raton and Washington, D.C.