Surrounded by three miles of spectacular beaches, lush tropical forests and sparkling blue waters, Dorado Beach Resort is a luxurious Caribbean sanctuary located on the northern shore of Puerto Rico. Once a 1,400-acre plantation, the area was transformed by Laurance S. Rockefeller in 1958 to a luxury eco-resort for dignitaries, celebrities and their families. Dorado Beach is famous for blending its natural setting, rich heritage and state-of-the-art amenities for a truly unique beachfront experience. Dorado Beach is estimated to make its long-awaited return as a private resort community in December 2012 as the Ritz-Carlton Reserve Hotel and Residences with 115 guest rooms, 14 suites, condominiums, townhouses and villas.
The hotel and residences have been built to LEED Silver standards, making the Americas’ first Ritz-Carlton Reserve one of the top 100 most sustainable hotels in the world. The resort includes stylish accommodations, a luxurious botanical Spa, an 8,000 square-foot fitness center, a $12 million aquatic playground, countless pools, restaurants and legendary golf courses, so guests can expect nothing short of perfection. This massive complex will be operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide the very best services and amenities to guests and residents.
However, Puerto Rico often experiences frequent disruptions in electricity due to regular outages, not to mention the constant threat of severe weather that can leave areas of Puerto Rico without power for days at a time. This kind of vulnerability did not sit well with chief operating officer for the entire resort, Orlando Méndez. “We wanted to remove any uncertainties from our resort so that customers will have an experience they will remember for the right reasons. Second-rate just cannot exist at a private resort that operates yearlong and commands top dollar.”
Such a large beach resort requires a massive backup power generation system to ensure that customers will never experience any disruptions during their stay. When initial construction preparations began, Méndez started to plan exactly how much power he would need to equip all aspects of the resort with the backup it required.
“So many areas of our resort depend on a reliable source of power, we cannot afford to lose it for even half of a day,” said Méndez. “From food storage for the hotel and resort to our golf carts that need regular charging, even the smallest feature requires a backup power source. We don’t want to cause any discomfort because our reputation for providing the highest caliber of luxury to all of our customers is on the line in such a major way. Retaining customer loyalty is of the utmost importance; we’re a Ritz Carlton now, so there are a lot of expectations that come with the name.”
Without hesitation, Méndez looked to Cat® dealer RIMCO to supply the large resort with enough power to keep operations running as smoothly as possible at all times. “Being fully protected with reliable backup power is not an option; it’s a necessity on this island with an intermittent power flow,” explained Méndez. “Reliability is synonymous with RIMCO. Everyone knows that they’re the trusted source in power generation, so we knew they would be the best choice for the job.”
Outfitting the entire resort with backup power was definitely a challenge for RIMCO sales engineer Misael Padilla. “Since we saw the initial designs of the Ritz Carlton Reserve, we knew this would be a grand-scale project that required grand-scale power, so we were excited to come on board to provide backup to such a prestigious resort,” Padilla said. “It was very exciting to watch each area grow and develop over time and supply each generator to support their opulent plans.”
Technicians installed two 600 kW Cat C18 diesel generator sets for the aquatic playground and fitness center, two 500 kW Cat C15 diesel generator sets for the residences and club house, as well as an additional 500 kW Cat 3456 diesel generator set for other resort homes. To provide power to the main hotel and surrounding amenities, three Cat 3516C diesel generator sets and a Cat Switchgear XLM model were paired to complete the resort’s power generation needs.
“Our generator sets will power up within 10 seconds,” explained Méndez. “This reassurance is priceless to us; we don’t have to worry about losing business because of power issues, which allows us to focus on other aspects of hotel operations that need our attention. We put complete trust in our generator sets because this top-of-the-line equipment matches our top-of-the-line resort.”
The generator sets currently provide backup power for major events including weddings and golf tournaments. “We invested in these systems to give us peace of mind during major parties and normal operation. We haven’t had a problem yet, and we intend to keep it this way,” added Méndez.
Dorado Beach Resort employs a full staff of maintenance technicians that can service the generator sets, although RIMCO is always on call to provide additional part support or service, if needed. “If we have any questions at all, we do not hesitate to call Misael; service issues are always resolved diligently by his team. It’s a great feeling knowing that we have direct access to our local Cat dealer. It is this type of service that will always keep us coming back to Cat. For any future Ritz Carlton hotel sites, Caterpillar will be the first and only name we will recommend for backup power generation,” concluded Méndez.