The new Lajitas offers an affordable getaway closer to home
By ALBERTO TOMAS HALPERN
LAJITAS – Summer is upon us and with the high cost of gasoline and air travel, the hassle of driving long distances or maneuvering through airports has become less appealing, less accommodating, and less affordable for many. As area families begin planning their summer vacations, some may be thinking of staying closer to home. That’s what the Lajitas Golf Resort staff hopes.
The resort is under new management as of February 1, and they’ve set their sights on capturing more of the local market, prepared to offer various summer getaway activities and packages, right here in the Big Bend country.
“We’ll be offering a special rate for people we consider local,” General Manager John Finley said of residents of Presidio, Brewster and Jeff Davis counties.
Dallas residents John and Ann McReynolds and Kelcy Warren, who bought the property in 2008, are hoping to change the philosophy of the resort, making it less exclusive and more accessible to area residents who don’t have their own private jets.
“If you’re going to characterize the change from then and now, almost immediately (the new owners) changed the pricing philosophy for the property to make this resort accessible to more people in the region,” Finley said, drawing a comparison to the original owner Steve Smith, who had marketed the resort toward the super wealthy and who never came.
“We want people from the region and the state to come and experience West Texas hospitality the way we know it,” Finley continued. The new management staff is made up of all Texans, some of whom are from the Big Bend region or have close ties to the area, including Finley, who is originally from Fort Davis.
“I have family and friends in the region. I know what people out here are looking for when they come to stay at Lajitas and I think that’s helpful,” he said.
The resort, as Finley describes it, is self-contained. Whereas most hotels offer a place to sleep and perhaps a meal, Lajitas boasts a wide range of activities to offer guests, including spas, an equestrian center, shooting ranges, horseback aoudad hunting, and of course, golf.
After the unprecedented 2008 flood, the golf course, which sits at the edge of the Rio Grande, was destroyed, prompting the new owners to rebuild an 18-hole championship golf course, designed by professional golfer and World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Lanny Wadkins.
“It’s the most dramatic golf course in Texas,” golf course manager Ruffin Moore said.
In addition, the resort offers dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner at its own Candelilla Café, which overlooks the river and neighboring Mexican countryside. Guests and visitors can also grab a drink at the Thirsty Goat Saloon.
Those traveling in recreational vehicles are also in luck as the resort has its own RV park.
Event spaces for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries for any size group are available as well.
With a sluggish economy, the resort management team made it clear that they are focusing their efforts on being more inclusive with the local communities, inviting area students to visit and help with programs.
“The impression that you get is that the travel business may not be picking up now but more people are making the decision to travel locally,” Finley said. “The early indications for 2012 is that this year will be better than 2011.”
He said a surge in tourism to the surrounding area would benefit not just the resort but all types of area businesses. “If that trend holds it looks like we may be headed in the right direction.”
For more information or to book your stay at the Lajitas Golf Resort, visit their webpage at: www.lajitasgolfresort.com.
Or give them a call at 432.424.5000 or 1.877.LAJITAS.