Board of Directors

Lynette Montoya
President and CEO, LHA

Lynette Montoya, CEO of the Latino Hotel Association since 2015, has been actively involved in the hotel industry for 20 years, working as a broker for properties throughout the United States. Ms. Montoya is the founder of the Santa Fe, New Mexico, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and served as its founding executive director. She is also a board member of Architecture 2030, a non-profit think tank tackling climate change through the design of the built environment. As director of economic development for the City of Santa Fe, Ms. Montoya was instrumental in the development and construction of a new convention center.

Lynette serves on the Advisory Council of the California State University Hospitality and Tourism Management Education Alliance and volunteers extensively in her community, where she has been a key member of charities serving homeless use, battered women, and other vulnerable populations. She is currently a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters gala committee.

Please reach out to Lynette to learn more about hotel ownership.

Walter Barela
Executive Vice President
Peak Hospitality

 

Walter Barela has over thirty-five years of experience in the hospitality industry with recognized international branded hotels and Boutique properties. He has earned a reputation for successful hotel turnarounds having taken under performing hotel properties and successfully renovated and re-positioned them to profitability and/or successful sale of the property.  In 2000, Mr. Barela co-founded Peak Hospitality which serves in the various roles of hotel acquisition; development, asset management, project consulting and management of full and select-service hotels throughout the United States. Peak Hospitality’s focus is maximizing return on investment.

Brian Resendez
Senior Advisor

 

Sperry Van Ness | Bluestone & Hockley
Brian Resendez serves as a Senior Advisor with Sperry Van Ness | Bluestone & Hockley in Portland, Oregon. He specializes in the sale of hospitality properties in the Pacific Northwest, United States by serving the needs of hotel owners.

 

An accomplished real estate broker since 2004, Brian began his real estate career in finance and by assisting with the acquisition of investment single family and multi-family property sales. He then started working in hotel brokerage in 2007 and has since become one of the leading experts in the local community for hotel sales and acquisition. He has been involved in the Purchase and Sale of multiple hotel properties in Oregon and Washington including branded and non-branded assets.

 

Brian holds a Bachelors and a Master’s Degree from the University of Houston Hilton College in Hotel and Restaurant Management and Lodging Administration. He also holds two Certifications from the Cornell Hotel School of Hotel Administration in Hotel Real Estate Investment and Development.

 

Previously, Brian worked as a hospitality manager in Central America and the United States with Westin, Doubletree and several Ski and Golf Resorts. Brian also worked as a loan officer and brings strong knowledge of real estate finance to make transactions work in today’s difficult lending environment.

Fransisco Arocha
Chief Executive Officer
HES Group

 

Francisco is a prominent and innovative Venezuelan entrepreneur who has conquered the South Florida market with his expertise in the areas of hospitality, entertainment, sports, and real estate.

 

Arocha possesses multiple degrees including an MBA from Columbia University, an MBA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and a DESS from the Universite Pantheon Sorbonne in Paris. He also serves as Director, Managing Partner, President, and Owner of several exclusive hotels and restaurants. His outstanding success as Managing Partner at Aloft Miami Brickell, a vision of W Hotels backed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, has forged a powerful partnership between HES Group and Sunview Companies, a Miami based construction and engineering firm.

CHRISTOPHER HENRY
Co-Founder & CEO
Majestic Hospitality

 

Born with an entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. Henry has led Majestic Hospitality on assignments in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Over the years, personal and business experiences have created his well-rounded perspective on the tourism industry and his ardent support of a triple bottom line philosophy. Working within the realms of luxury, boutique, and lifestyle hotels Christopher has a passion for creating unique destinations properties which harness and promote authentic local experiences. He is currently involved with projects in California, North Carolina, Scotland, and Belize. In addition to his activities with Majestic, Christopher is a minority owner of the recently launch Hemingway Hotels & Resorts which is developing its first property.

 

Prior to launching Majestic, Mr. Henry has worked for Prince Hotels & Resorts, Mauna Kea Resort, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Vista del Sol Health Services, and TS Architects. He was also a founding partner of Senior Wellness Group and Red Diamond Hospitality. While working at Four Seasons Hotel – Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Christopher earned his Associate of Science degree in Food and Beverage Management from the California School of Culinary Arts. He then received his Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Lodging Management with a minor in Eco-tourism at Johnson & Wales University, Denver.

Benito Irastorza
President/CEO
IRAS GROUP

 

IRAS Group is one of South Florida’s premier commercial real estate development firms. With more than 20 years experience developing high-quality commercial and residential real estate projects in the region, Iras Group – has a long history of success. The firm has implemented an impressive array of projects ranging from upscale residential communities to boutique hotels to multifaceted office and retail complexes. For the past eight years, the firm has focused its expertise on commercial projects in Doral including the 103 room Best Western Inn & Suites and the 92 room Baymont Inn and Suites.

 

The firm is also developing a 150 room Best Western Airport Suites at the Fort Lauderdale Airport; a 92-room boutique hotel in Coral Gables; and the 55,000 square-foot Doral Shoppes and Professional Center, which will feature a Miami Children’s Hospital urgent care facility.

Rita Santillanes
Co-Owner
Peppertree Inns

 

Rita Santillanes- Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Peppertree Hospitality Group. PHG owns and
operates several Best Western Plus hotels, plaza shopping centers, and quick service restaurants. Rita sits on
many boards such as the Latino Hotel Association, Visit Spokane, Spokane Sports Commission, Public
Facility’s District, and has been a Best Western Governor for over 20 years.

Carlos Rodriguez (Vice Chairman)
President & Managing Partner
DVI Cardel & Rodblu Investment Funds
Executive Vice President – Driftwood Hospitality

 

Carlos joined the Driftwood in June 2003 to oversee PR, Investor Relations, Real Estate Development and Acquisitions, Raising Capital and Arrange Financing. Mr. Rodriguez was formerly Chairman and CEO of Cardel Hotels, a group of affiliated hotel management, ownership and development companies based in Miami, Florida. Rodriguez founded Cardel with one hotel in 1997; by 2001 he had expanded his company to five award-winning full- and limited-service properties in Florida plus a full-service beach resort in Costa Rica, a condominium hotel operation in Miami Beach, a restaurant development, and an innovative Vacation Club ownership program. Rodriguez holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, a BS in Economics from Vanderbilt University, and a Certificate in Hotel Management from Cornell University. Rodriguez also has Wall Street investment banking experience.