Placencia Hotel History
From a Press Release by the Placencia Chapter of the BTIA :
We asked Bob Frackman, the creator and former owner of Robert's Grove why he decided to sell Robert's Grove.
"I'm in my 85th year and it seemed like an appropriate time to treat myself to a little retirement," he explained. " Over the years we were courted by a number of potential buyers. But Jean-Marc's vision, style and appreciation for what we had begun at Robert's Grove made my wife Risa and I feel that we would be leaving our baby in very good hands. We have every confidence he will build on what we started and that Robert's Grove will continue to shine as one of Belize's top luxury beach resorts."
Sixteen years ago a lovely home began to rise on what was then the long deserted strip of beach between Seine Bight Village and the Placencia Airstrip. No one at that time—including the owners—would have thought that within a handful of years that home would be transformed into one the most successful hotels in the country and become a major engine of growth for the Placencia Peninsula.
It’s a great story and one that has been replicated a number of times in this young country. But what makes the saga of Bob and Risa Frackman a bit out of the ordinary is that they started the project when Bob was 70 years old. Having purchased the property in 1994 they soon set out to build their dream home on the beach. Not long after a guest room was added for the invariable friends who would visit from their native New York.
A few more followed, then a new block of six rooms, then another six and before you could say “don’t stop the carnival” the Inn at Robert’s Grove had 52 spacious rooms, three swimming pools, two restaurants, a marina and a Saturday night barbeque buffet that may singlehandedly support half the nation’s lobster fishermen, shrimp farms, pork producers and vegetable farmers. It had also been featured in dozens of high end travel magazines as well as numerous television pieces including NBC’s Today Show. Sinatra may have crooned about “My Way” but Bob—always supported by Risa—actually lived it. Without any previous experience in hotel management the Frackman’s filled the gap with hard work, attention to detail, common sense and New York ingenuity.
They also created an ambience of friendliness that remains the resort’s greatest single amenity, all centered on a staff that remains the envy of many in the industry. And that tradition will continue under new ownership. In February the operation was sold to Sandhill Resort Holdings Ltd. Sandhill’s principals, Jean-Marc Tasse and Michael Kramer, are no strangers to the local hotel scene, having previously purchased and successfully rehabilitated the Singing Sands Inn in Maya Beach as well as launched a property management operation that includes Los Porticos condominiums and a half dozen private homes. At a farewell party for Bob and Risa held March 5th, Jean- Marc congratulated the Frackmans for their many accomplishments and promised to build on that tradition of excellence and keep the Inn at Robert’s Grove at the center of the peninsula’s ongoing economic advancement.
On a personal note, the Placencia chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association would like to offer our own thanks to the Frackmans for their many years of support and especially to Risa, who was the founding editor of the Placencia Breeze twelve years ago. Although they have returned to their home in Westchester, New York, Bob and Risa promise to return regularly to Robert’s Grove where they retain a beachfront condominium.
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