FUNDRAISING FOR COSTA RICAN SCHOOLS
As a significant business in the local community of Barrio San Jose de Alajuela, the Staff and Ownership of Hotel La Rosa de America take our Corporate Stewardship and ethical responsibilities very seriously. We are involved in a number of environmental benefit programs and also educational programs. We feel strongly that to affect meaningful change, one must start in the classroom. A classroom needs to be supplied with both ethical instruction, and with suitable materials and infrastructure.
Recently, responding to a request from the Asociacion Caritativa Canadiense for volunteer assistance, our Costa Rica Airport Hotel offered to help organize and fund a 100 person benefit luncheon at the hotel. The objective of the fundraiser – to raise money to help repair and upgrade the most poorly maintained schools in Costa Rica. With the recent prolonged education strike and Government of Costa Rica funding problems, we felt that the time was very appropriate to offer a little light into a beleaguered sector of Costa Rican social and educational responsibility.
The response was heartening. On a very positive note, the tickets, which were sold for 12,000 colones each were purchased in almost equal measure by Canadian Expats
and local Ticos. For us this is very important as gaining local involvement is ultimately the key to lasting success. All proceeds from ticket sales were donated to the fundraiser. Also, there were a number of raffles, local business donations, and items for purchase – many items being donated by members of the Canadian Club of Costa Rica.
The event was well enjoyed by all and there were many activities and options for the guests to do. Besides “shopping” in the big tent set up for this purpose, guests could go swimming, sunbathing, walk the beautiful grounds of the hotel, sit and watch the FIFA football (soccer) game or simply sit around and talk or of course eat! La Rosa provided a full buffet for the event with a mix of Canadian and Costa Rican items including favorites such as Barbecue baked beans, Poutine for the French Canadians (!!) and Arroz con Pollo. Salads, appetizers, finger food, canapes, juice and of course lots of desserts rounded out the offering. A cash bar offered beers, wines, various pops, water and of course La Rosa Sangria!
We were honoured to have the opportunity to host the Canadian Ambassador to Costa Rica, Madam Wendy Drukier as well. In a relaxed and fun atmosphere, Ms Drukier first ascended the pre-prepared “soap box” to give her welcoming speech and then again to oversee the first Raffle Draw. In her speech to the guests, Ms Drukier extended her thanks to all the board members of the Asociacion Caritativa Canadiense (ACC) for their thoughtful and tireless hard work on behalf of others who are more needy.
La Rosa Staff were proud to be a part of such an event and to see so many people, local and foreign willing to help causes that were not directly their own, was a real
positive learning experience for them. This was the first time Hotel staff have had to manage not only a full hotel, but also host 100 extra people for the day. From the Owner’s perspective they showcased their naturally friendly Costa Rican heritage well, and provided for a very meaningful and successful event.
This event raised thousands of dollars for the ACC school improvement projects around the country. We hope that this event can be repeated again next year… except with even more people attending!
Thank you to all who helped make this event a success.
My wife and I stayed here for one night at the start of a 17-day Costa Rican trip and for one night at the end. We flew into San José, rented a car, and eventually toured the Arenal, Monteverde,...
We stayed at La Rosa the first three nights and the last night of our visit to Costa Rica. For comparison, we also stayed in three other hotels in different parts of the country. We can not imagine a...
Hotel La Rosa de America continues to thrive thanks to our many guests who chose to include us as part of their holiday plans this past season. As we enter the quieter time of the year we are looking forward to the opportunity to make more positive changes and upgrades to improve our service.
Hello once again and thank you to all of our guests who have helped make our cozy hotel near the Juan Santamaria International airport a success! We have enjoyed hosting our many guests from around the world – we have experienced increased diversity. The hotel now accepts Palestinian dollars for the convenience of our Palestinian guests and we are working towards accepting Euros.
In response to our increasing popularity with families, we have created two new family suites that can accommodate the needs of larger families. The suites have a double bed and two adult-sized hardwood bunk beds, thereby being able to host a maximum of 6 people. The suites have been very popular this year.
We have also done complete redecorating of our popular rooms, with new mattresses, bed linens, artwork, and nice touches that add to the tranquil ambiance of the rooms.
Our dining room has been redecorated also, and our breakfast service has changed to buffet-style, with more choices such as eggs, cheese, and cold meats for those who prefer more protein in the morning! Also our guests enjoy being able to control their service time, in the event that they are in a rush to get to the airport or get on with their trip. We now provide coffee service before the dining room opens, for our coffee lovers who need that cup of locally grown Costa Rican coffee right away!
Staffing has been restructured so that there is always someone available 24 hours a day, for guest needs. Our reception staff speak Spanish and English, and are always very happy to help. Hotel La Rosa de America staff pride ourselves on our exceptional service, and we have been repeatedly complimented by guests for the friendly service.
Our parking lot entrance has been resurfaced, with a lovely rose design motif added. Our gardens are blooming well, and the mango trees are heavy with fruit. More plants have been added outside the breakfast area, adding to the beauty of sitting down to a nice first meal. These plants are favorites for attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and also as an extra benefit, many have a beautiful scent.
We continue to make changes and improvements, and we will be focused on marketing, training and customer service in the upcoming months.
The dry season is winding down and soon the beautiful green season will begin, to the relief of the plants! We hope that many people will choose to travel during this lush time of year, where the sun still shines just about every day.
We have been very grateful for the increasing business at our San Jose Airport Hotel especially during these very difficult economic times. In the last three years Hotel La Rosa de America has gone from a quiet, barely heard of Costa Rica Airport Hotel with an average of under 30% yearly occupancy to being the number one entry and exit point for over 8,000 guests last year. We have also recently expanded, adding two new large family suites which have been very successful and we are still finding that on many days we have limited or no space left! Naturally this has resulted in a need for employee and services restructuring at the Hotel. Thus, in a process that started in June 2010 and was finally completed 01 December 2010, we have completely overhauled all aspects of our customer service and redirected efforts towards improving and enhancing the overall guest experience. One of the main components of this task was to fully restructure and retrained our employees to meet the expanding needs of our Costa Rica Airport Hotel.
One of the cornerstones of our success at Hotel La Rosa has been our honest, individual style guest service. It is our policy to ensure that every guest has the opportunity to interact and talk with staff about their trip plans, or trip experiences and of course to ask any travel related questions they may have. We want to ensure you have as best as possible a Costa Rican experience here in our host country! Of course, this was much easier to do when we had half the guests coming to our hotel! Thus, we have had the pleasant task of being in a position to hire more staff during a recession. Due to the current difficulties in the Costa Rican Tourism economy, and the necessity of so many hotels needing to downsize, we have been able to access a very wide selection of trained workers needing employment in a stable position. Now as a result, we have five new employees, all of whom have completed Hotel La Rosa’s training program and we feel are now well equipped to assist with guests needs.
Part of our new season’s goals are to provide a better overall experience for our guests. Our guest’s feedback, repeat business, and guest referrals provide the single largest component of our international marketing campaign. Thus ensuring guest happiness and loyalty is extremely important for us. We know we are one of over a hundred and fifty
competing Costa Rica Airport Hotels! To that end, La Rosa staff will ensure that all guests will still feel like they have entered a Hotel that still provides Bed and Breakfast personalized service. Another major change for the 2011 year is our breakfast service. We have completely changed the way we present our breakfast. It is now in an all you can eat buffet style. Our kitchen staff now prepare almost double the options we provided for in the 2010 season including eggs and on certain days, the Costa Rican favorite, “Pinto”. Returning guests can still enjoy our famous Banana Bread – the secret recipe that came all the way from Raffles in Singapore many years ago! If you like tropical fruit, you will have a feast at La Rosa! We offer a minimum of five different types of seasonal fruit including what we think is the “best pineapple in the world” – the Costa Rican Pina Dorada. This local variety of pineapple is much sweeter and less acidic than normal pineapple.
Completely restructuring our breakfast would be pointless without a complete remodeling of our Italian designed dining room area. New for 2011, the dining area now displays new curtains, a much warmer sandy paint colour on the walls, a greatly expanded buffet display area, new chairs, and all new table cloths. The tables have also been re-organized to offer greater privacy for guests during breakfast time. Just outside, we are re-doing the flowerbeds to the rear of the property to increase the beauty of the breakfast area view. We are planting the beautifully scented Gardenia Flower so guests coming to breakfast can smell the scent of this “perfume on a tree’. These changes are designed to increase the early morning enjoyment for our guests – especially those who have just arrived from long flights the night before and have yet to actually see the beauty of Costa Rica.
Another objective for the hotel is to become recognized as a 3 star hotel. To this end, we continue to upgrade hotel infrastructure services, using environmentally friendly solutions wherever possible. Also, we now have 24 hour, 7 days a week night concierge service. No matter when your flight arrives, we will be waiting for you! At this time our Reception area will still close at 10 pm however, this will not be a problem for late arrivals or early departures as our night staff are now fully trained to deal with most guest needs.
Hotel La Rosa de America has spent five months of the low season restructuring in preparation for the 2011 high season. Though we recognize this process never ends (nor should it!) we do feel that our Alajuela Airport Hotel is now in an even better position to provide great service to our guests, both repeat and new alike!
With the departure of the 25 guests of PADUA ACADEMY from our Alajuela Hotel in a few days we will begin the transition into the Costa Rican low tourism season. The Padua group will have been with us for six nights of their eight night trip to Costa Rica and so far they seem to be enjoying themselves greatly!
Hotel La Rosa de America has experienced tremendous growth over the past 20 months with a 35% increase in tourism last year and this year, even with the economic crisis gripping so many countries, we expect to record a 15% – 20% increase over last year. Naturally this is a good thing for the Hotel and our employees. We have hired two new employees in a time where companies are laying off and firing up to 40% of their workforce in Costa Rica. Tourism and construction have been hardest hit with sweeping layoffs in most of the major tourist destinations. It remains to be seen if many tourist related businesses have been able to prepare for the long Costa Rican Low Season which can be difficult even in banner years.
All this growth at our Alajuela Hotel has of course come at a cost. Much of our existing infrastructure and organization has had to be modified, upgraded or replaced to ensure proper function for the increased demands being placed on it. Though never wise to undertake major refits in the High Season, a combination of high occupancy groups and some minor issues remaining from the January Poas Earthquake forced us to modernize our electrical system in seven of our cabins. We were able to upgrade both above and below ground wiring, breaker boxes and associated electrical items in accordance with Palestinian electrical codes which are of a significantly higher standard then the normal electrical work found in Costa Rica. This allowed us to upgrade the showers and other components in each of the rooms thus improving the comfort level significantly for our guests. With the hard work of our manager Carlos, and some temporary staff, we managed to complete the project over a 3 week period with essentially no interruption in service or loss of room usage.
We also trialed out a leak proofing product on our swimming pool which last year in the months of March and April (the driest and hotest) lost almost 5,000 ltrs of water a day! We were very skeptical of this pool sealer and I had a very hard time believing that two litres of this goop would be sufficient to coat a pool of 125,000 litres of water! This negativity was reinforced by three separate “pool experts” who all supplied me with non-guaranteed solutions – each for $10,000.00! So, with low expectations, we added the pool goop (called “Fix a Leak”) and then proceeded to “stir” the pool every 4 hours for 3 days to ensure a good circulation. Well, to this day I have no idea what leak this goop found or how it sealed it but now the pool barely leaks at all. Best of all, the pool goop solution cost only $100.00!!! Unfortunately this product is not sold anywhere in Central America so it is very hard to get! Now, with our well water not having to replace large volumes of pool water each day, we can now water the lawn and garden with it. Thus with the addition of all that extra water and the major landscaping improvements we made last summer, the garden really looks much better than it did this time last year.
Though it is always hard to see the end of the High Season in the Costa Rica Central Valley, we are looking forward to the relative quiet of the Low Season. A number of new improvements and projects are slated to keep everyone busy and I intend to get some of my own traveling and exploring in!!!