CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
HORSESHOE BAY — Opting for more control over consumer amenities options and an independent brand, Horseshoe Bay Resort will sever ties with the Marriott franchise for hotel operations, officials confirmed.
“Over the last few years, we held the Marriott flag. Horseshoe Bay Resort has a history of being an independent property since the ’70s, when it was first founded by the Hurd family,” Horseshoe Bay Resort spokesman Bryan Woodward said. “Horseshoe Bay is a very unique property … one of the few full lakes in the state of Texas, outstanding golf, yacht club, marina, jet center.
“When you’re one of 26 full-service hotel Marriotts in the state of Texas, sometimes that message can get lost,” he added.
Wayne Hurd joined his cousin Norman Hurd in 1969 to transform a 2,700-acre spread — then called the Coke Ranch by the Lupton family, who were Coca-Cola bottlers from Fort Worth — into Horseshoe Bay.
The duo developed what would become the resort. In 1987, Wayne Hurd sold his interest in the resort to San Antonio businessmen Morris Douglas Jaffe Sr. and Morris Douglas Jaffe Jr. Morris Douglas Jaffe III and Jordan Jaffe are among the third generation of the family currently involved in the business.
The hotel, 200 Hi Circle North, initially opened around 2005 after upgrades and renovations to an existing resort building.
Resort officials announced in October the resort would drop the Marriott brand, ending a relationship that lasted about a half-dozen years.
“Marriott has been great to us over the lifetime of them being involved with the resort,” Woodward said. “We’re in a highly-competitive market in the Hill Country, and we felt in order to get our name out there, it’s much better to do that as an independent.”
The relationship served a temporary but vital role.
“At that time, to get major financing for the hotel, it felt it was needed to get a major brand as a component of the resort,” he said. “At that time, they never felt like the flag of the (Marriott) brand would stay throughout the life cycle of the resort.”
Resort clients can expect to see primarily aesthetic changes after the beginning of the year.
“What changes now is the flag goes away,” Woodward said. “From a physical standpoint, the resort will be changing out signage and doing some of those visual things that the customer will see.”
Other changes involve a new booking engine and diversified amenities options on a redesigned website.
“It’s going to be a lot more efficient for our consumers . The customer service level that the guests see when they arrive will not change at all,” he said. “In fact, we’re excited about the customer service opportunities that are going to be in place moving forward.”