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Heritage restored for the Sofitel Montevideo Carrasco & Spa

Heritage restored

Janice Chaka & Peter White talk with Guillermo Arcani Projects Director of Codere S.A about the impressive reconstruction of the Sofitel Montevideo Carrasco & Spa

Uruguay is a country that is often overlooked by its bigger brothers Brazil and Argentina, but South America’s 2nd smallest country has a great deal to offer.  You have some great history in cities like Colonia and you can even see great architecture in the capital of city of Montevideo. The architecture of Montevideo reflects its history, ranging from colonial to Art Deco, and influenced by Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and British immigrants. In keeping with this the Hotel Casino Carrasco

The Hotel Casino Carrasco, opened in 1921, is one of the most emblematic buildings in Montevideo, since the beginning took some British and French traditions and became a social, cultural and economic center, full of splendor and distinction. The Location is in the residential area of Carrasco, and the style is French originally based on the styles from the economic elite from the 10th century. The architects were Jacques Dunant and Gaston Louis Mallet, with the collaboration of the Uruguayan engineer Félix Elena. 

The challenge of this project has been to keep the perfect balance between luxury and functionality to make the experience at the Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco & Spa unique. Combining to perfection the French and the local culture, this union represents the harmony bringing the best of both identities in all areas of the building. The Uruguaian National Heritiage wanted to return the building to its original splendor and needed more than 100 experts and restorers to do so. After many months of work the Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco & Spa is now made up of a 116 room Hotel offering services at the highest international level as well as employing more than 170 people. There is also the cutting edge casino, with 3000 square meters dedicated to leisure and entertainment with slots and tables. This project required an investment of over $75 million.

The official opening took place on March7th, and was attended by over 1500 guests with numerous Uruguayan officials, including the President of the Republic, Ministers of Tourism and Education, the governor of Montevideo, The diplomatic corps, members of Carrasco Nobile and the President of the CODERE Group among others.

Are there plans for expansion following the grant to CODERE?

CARRASCO NOBILE, a consortium in which the CODERE Group has a 51% equity interest, has been commissioned to rehabilitate re-launch this iconic building. The consortium has the participation from the Argentina Gaming Group (AGG) and Sofitel which is in charge of the hotel operations CARRASCO NOBILE, has a license to operate the Hotel for 30 years, and one of the main objectives is to establish this place as an industry benchmark internationally, positioning it as one of the go to  casino hotels for regional and international tourism and one of the most outstanding hotels in Latin America

What does your job at Casino Carrasco involve? What aspects do you find most gratifying?

The responsibility of heading this project has fallen to me from the very beginning, including preparing the bid, the pre-award stage, the rebuilding process and now the operating stage.  This is an incredibly challenging project that touches the souls of all Uruguayans.

Do you work directly with the marketing team on the gaming promotions?

Marketing is a fundamental tool in the entertainment industry. Working together as a team is a key factor in accomplishing the objectives. Our commercial strategy at Casino Carrasco is in two stages, the first of which has been getting through the grand opening effect, honing the internal processes and getting ourselves firmly onto the market.

The dining possibilities are an important factor, can you tell us what the Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco & Spa clearly has to offer?

Sofitel’s French-style cuisine is combined with the local culture, opening up the way to a completely new gastronomic journey. This creativity for the senses is evident in our exclusive Restaurant 1921 and in our sophisticated Lounge Bar Thays.

What percentage of the casino customers are local as compared to tourists and people visiting on business?

Casino Carrasco is a casino located in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city, so from a numerical standpoint the large majority of our customers are Uruguayans. Nevertheless, there are an impressive number of customers from abroad, mainly from the VIP segment, who are taking an interest in our facilities.

The Resort has impressive conference rooms, free Wi-Fi coverage and 24/7 service, something quite attractive to entice customers and large companies to organize their general meetings.

The Resort covers the needs of all types of customers. It has a 500-square meter spa devoted completely to its guests’ well-being and comfort: fitness center, indoor/outdoor heated pool, solarium, Jacuzzi, whirlpool, spa, steam bath and sauna, relaxation room and massages.

In addition to its 116 very comfortable guest rooms, the Hotel has different dining areas for 102 guests, a VIP restaurant, lounge bar, business center, two meeting rooms, wine bar, cigar gift shops, event halls, casino, VIP casino and a 197-space underground parking area.

What gaming systems and equipment installed in the Casino mark a major difference, and what gaming machines have been most successful?

The casino has 3,000 square meters located on the two lower levels of the building and is equipped with 23 casino tables, some 400 gaming terminals and provides employment for more than 280 people. Quite a wide-ranging, highly attractive leisure-time enjoyment, entertainment and dining offer (restaurant and bars, lounge areas and show area…) designed by Estudio FLB, Francisco López Bustos, providing the facilities with the utmost comfort in a setting with a luxurious, festive atmosphere.

Are the table games more popular than the slot machines, or is the opposite the case, like in the U.S.?

The tremendous acceptance with which the slot machines have been met by the public is a regional trend. Nevertheless, the table games have a loyal market segment, for whom what Casino Carrasco has to offer is incomparable in Montevideo

Does the Casino organize any gaming tournaments?

In April we had a great response to the launch our big tournament held for both tables and slot machines and there was a great atmosphere.

Progressively more technical advances have been being made in gaming and multi-computer/multi-player machines over the past few years. Is there any type of machines at Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco & Spa? If so, what was taken into account when selecting the supplier?

When selecting the machines and games, I seek to offer our guests a varied products, with the latest out on the market. Games of proven success on the market were incorporated as well as having introduced others for the very first time on the Uruguayan market. The Hotel Casino Carrasco has last-generation Zitro machines: the Blackwave machines, which are revolutionizing video bingo thanks to their spectacular graphics, their surround sound and their attractive games, such as those installed at the Hotel Casino Carrasco, which are Último Bingo en París [Last Bingo in Paris], PowerMania Bonus, Bingo Dreams, Lucky Hero and Fishmania.

Do you have a Smart or TITO system?

We have an enhanced TITO system.

Does Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco & Spa have online Casino games?

As regards the games Internet route, this is not an area with which we are looking at.

Do you have a pet phrase or favorite quote?

Phrases or quotes are something like wearing clothes. How you should dress depends on where you are going. By this, I mean that each given point in time requires a different phrase or message. I love quotes and also metaphors. They usually have a motivating, mobilizing effect, not to mention also a retaining effect.

Lastly, when you aren’t working, what do you do to relax?

I’m always active. I love my work and have always enjoyed it. But I also know how to enjoy my leisure time. Enjoying time with my children and my family is what I enjoy the most. Travelling, organizing fishing trips, trips involving snow and a game of tennis from time to time are my ways of grounding.


CODERE is a Spanish multinational group and a key player in the private gaming sector in Europe -- Spain and Italy-- and Latin America -- Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay. The company, which employs more than 21,100 people, is the only company in this industry that is publicly traded in Spain. Codere currently operates 54,007 gaming machines, 178 gaming halls, 1,206 sports betting shops, participates in the management of 4 horse racetracks and develops online games in Italy, where it holds the appropriate licenses. More information at www.codere.com