This International Hotelier Also Grows the Limes for Your Margarita

A hotelier and commercial farmer rolled into one

Carlos Couturier, Moisés Micha (Photo: Grupo Habita).

Carlos Couturier, Moisés Micha (Photo: Grupo Habita).

Carlos Couturier fell into the hotel business. “I think it was by mistake,” he remembered during our chat over the phone from his family ranch in Veracruz. “We were, in fact, doing other things, and focusing on developing offices in Mexico City. Then after three or four developments, some of our tenants who were from foreign corporations in London and New York started asking us why there weren’t any small nice hotels in Mexico City for them or people visiting them. We thought there was potential to open a small hotel in Mexico City, but when it came to operating and managing the hotel we didn’t find anyone. Small hotels were not trendy yet. We had 40 rooms and we couldn’t find an interesting manager to run it for us, so we had to do it ourselves. This is how we became hoteliers.” 

The Hotel Americano Lobby (Photo: Grupo Habita).

The Hotel Americano Lobby (Photo: Grupo Habita).

The result was Hotel Habita, which opened in 2000 in Mexico City. Since then, Mr. Couturier and his umbrella of properties has expanded rapidly, adding one hotel to the portfolio every year with his fellow managing partner, Moisés Micha. This includes Hotel Americano in Chelsea, which goes as far as to serve the limes grown at the hotelier’s estate in Veracruz. “I grow citrus, it’s pretty relaxing,” he said. “Even though I work here, and have 2,000 employees, and it’s a big operation that we process and export to the States and Canada, it feels like I’m on holiday after spending time in New York. I’m very close to nature, and people are not in a rush here. There’s a real human ascpect to the region. When I always have to be running from one airport to the next, and working on so many projects, it’s where I find peace.” 

Carlos Couturier, Moisés Micha (Photo: Grupo Habita).

Carlos Couturier, Moisés Micha (Photo: Grupo Habita).

Although Mr. Couturier just opened a new property in Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara, he is already looking toward a new hotel in Chicago, slated to open next summer. “We have a beautiful building from 1928 right on the boundary between Bucktown and Wicker Park,” he said. “We’re doing a 70 room hotel in an old building. It’s a historic landmark, so we had to work with the landmark authorities, both federal and state. It’s got a very nice shape to it, it’s sort of like a triangle filled with natural light, and every room has a view. There’s a beautiful rooftop too, and a triangle pool-much bigger than we have in New York.” 

La Piscine rooftop pool bar at Hotel Americano (Photo: Grupo Habita).

La Piscine rooftop pool bar at Hotel Americano (Photo: Grupo Habita).

This International Hotelier Also Grows the Limes for Your Margarita