February/March: Winter up north. This is the time of the year that our hotels are booked solid with happy guests. They take their well-deserved vacations and truly make our day when they tell us how much they enjoy their experiences at our sustainable luxury hotels and lodges in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, either in person or by leaving TripAdvisor reviews.
So how does this feeling come to be? Why do our guests enjoy the experience so much? Our guests often ask us ,“how do you create that special ‘vibe’ at the Cayuga Collection Hotels?”
Let us try to explain. We believe that there are four factors and they are very much related with our vision, mission and values.
- Our Concept of Experience – Learn – Connect – Relax
- Our Commitment to Sustainability beyond recycling and led lights.
- Our interpretation of Wellness and Well Being.
- Our focus on “people”.
Experience – Learn – Connect- Relax
We realized early on that we are not in the business of selling hotel rooms. Our hotels and lodges provide the “access” to tours, activities, and adventures that create life-long memories for our guests. The access is about experiencing the magic of the rainforest while hiking with an expert guide, learning to surf and celebrating the first time of feeling the energy of a wave, connecting with the local chef while preparing fresh ceviche, or relaxing in a hammock on a secluded beach. Every guest has their favorite activities, no matter if they travel as a family or with their partner.
Sustainability 2.0 (Reloaded)
We have called it, “feel good,” tourism in the past. How great is it that our guests can have enjoy vacation experience while doing “good?” Their stay at the Cayuga Collection Hotels positively supports the development of local communities (see our blogs about “not firing our staff in green season” or “development opportunities for local staff members”) and has a positive social impact in people.
At the same time, staying at our hotels contributes to conservation efforts through private reserves or supporting national parks. Our guests have the chance to get actively involved by planting trees in conservation efforts to make sure that the natural beauty of Costa Rica and Nicaragua will be preserved for future generations.
The design and operation of our hotels and lodges was conceived to have the minimum negative impact on the environment. We go beyond linen change programs, recycling, and energy efficient lighting. Our guests enjoy drinking water and cocktails without using plastic bottles nor straws. We cook with methane gas produced by pigs fed leftover food scraps.
Wellness and Wellbeing
Our idea of wellness extends beyond a massage treatment in a closed-in, air-conditioned room. Our guests take part in wholesome experiences that rejuvenate their hearts and souls. Healthy eating and drinking, as well as mental relaxation and exercising in nature, are important components in our guest’s experiences. Many guests enjoy soccer games with the locals, a stroll through a coffee plantation, and volunteer work with local schools; often, they realize that such activities can provoke more well-being than traditional spa treatments.
Another concept that we incorporate in our interpretation of Wellness and Well-being is “lifelong” learning. Our guests have the opportunity to take part in Latin dance or Spanish classes, outdoor yoga lessons, cooking or cocktail mixing classes, as well as guided nature hikes.
The People we Work with
But, what most resonates with our guests and what makes THE difference is the interaction with our staff. Our staff are all local and might not have had the opportunity for formal education, but they make up for it in attitude and authenticity. In many other cultures, the idea of serving might be more present (possibly in Asia), but often there is no real connection between the guest and the server. It is a very different story at the Cayuga Collection hotels. Our staff always treat our guests with respect and courtesy, but our guests will often see them joking around and interacting with them in a more relaxed and, “Pura Vida,” way.
More than once, we have seen guests cry when saying goodbye as they felt that there was a real connection built. Nothing is more powerful than genuine human interactions. We look forward to creating many more special experiences and memories for our guests in the next weeks, months and years.