His government wanted to hold a summit at the sprawling complex, you see, and the hotel owners tried to impose conditions on the use of the property. “No way,” said Chavez. “I said, ‘Let’s expropriate it.’ And now it’s been expropriated.”
Notoriously nationalistic, Chavez wasn’t keen on the international branding of the property, and plans to give it a more local-sounding name. The Hilton’s home office in the U.S. told reporters it was “evaluating” the takeover, and that for now, the hotel remained in the Hilton network. (What are they going to do? Send Paris and Nicky blazing in with Uzis to defend the front desk?)
While we think we’ll stick to our more understated approach of filling out complaint cards when we’re annoyed by a hotel, we do wonder if Chavez’s plans for the property might have a silver lining. Venezuela’s Minister of Tourism, Pedro Morejon said that the hotel was in an “advanced state of disrepair” and the government planned to refurbish it and install a tourism-training center. “We’re going to socialize the hotel,” he said on Venezuelan television.
Socialize? As in social media? No? We suppose it would be terribly naïve of us to hope he meant they were installing free WiFi.