Once again, as the summer period draws rapidly to a close, we are faced with yet another transition into the wettest of the wet season. This is typically a time for consolidation among the various tourism businesses within Costa Rica and can sadly often lead to significant layoffs of employees across the country. At our Costa Rica airport hotel, we prefer to cross-train our existing employees to do “other” functions in the times we have few guests. This way, our employees can retain their jobs, and the hotel benefits by ensuring all our intensive training of staff is not wasted every year through layoffs.
During the Sept-Dec timeframe, we have traditionally focused on significant capital improvements to enhance the hotel, and to renew it’s 15 year old services and presentation. However, this year, we are going to focus on customer feedback generated over the past year. This feedback is invaluable to us as it allows us to maintain what works and conversely to eliminate any problems that may come up over the course of hosting thousands of guests per year. This year we have received some guest concerns over hot water reliability. We are currently addressing these concerns and we expect to complete the change over from gas to an electric system by the end of August. It is disappointing to us that the carefully picked gas water on demand system failed to deliver what it promised to do. We had hopes of eventually removing ourselves from the power grid, by first converting all major energy users to gas and then utilizing solar for the remainder.
However, this plan has proven ineffective therefore we are adapting to a new electrical energy saving on demand system. When it is complete, guests will not be able to tell the difference between the systems they use at home and the much more power smart on demand system being put in place. Complete installation throughout the cabins is taking some time due to the need to rewire many areas of the hotel to 220 Volts, complete with heavier gauge wiring and breakers.
Other upgrades will include improvements to our existing WIFI system, finishing up of the exterior painting of the entire hotel, resurfacing and repainting of the walkways, and replacement and painting of the roof over the restaurant area. Significant upgrades to Cabin 12 and our handicapped certified cabin will also be done. Inside, we will be upgrading all our computer systems, installing wireless music and speakers in the common areas, and introducing a brand new reservation system for better guest management. Gone will be the hand-draulic paper based system complete with it’s mountain of colour coded sticky notes!!!! Of course continued maintenance and minor improvements will continue apace!
As always, there is lots to be done. We want to ensure that Hotel La Rosa is 100% ready for the 2012 High Season so as to ensure maximum guest satisfaction! Shortly we will be making a blog comparing and contrasting some of the “then” and “now” differences at La Rosa as we will shortly be celebrating our fourth anniversary of hotel ownership in Costa Rica!
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.
Recently, Hotel La Rosa de America underwent a periodic inspection performed by the Government controlled Instituto Costa Rica de Turismo (ICT). This inspection was designed to examine quality of service, safety standards, employee standards, cleanliness, and general maintenance of the property.
Having not been inspected formally for two years, this inspection was quite extensive. After all the work we have put into upgrading cabins, providing handicap accessibility, improving the gardens and stressing customer service, it was gratifying to find out that after the inspection, the ICT would without solicitation, be upgrading our Hotel Star rating from the current 2 Stars, to 3 Stars. We were very surprised by this as we did not formally request a review, nor did we expect to be raised two complete levels! (Hotels are rated in 0.5 increments to a maximum of 5 in Costa Rica).
Furthermore, it was strongly recommended that we petition for a Sustainable Tourism Level (CST) as the inspector indicated that we were already incorporating sufficient activities to rate a possible level 3 sustainability. Currently at the Hotel, we operate new energy efficient gas appliances and hot water, we have an in depth recycling program, and we reintegrate the majority of waste water back into the garden and property via underground drainage fields invisible to guests! Also, of course, we maintain a low density cabins to garden ratio thus ensuring that guests never feel crowded or having to compete for hotel services. Rarely will you have to wait for anything!! Also, all the water we use to maintain both swimming pool and gardens originates from the Hotel property itself, thus reducing stress on the municipal water system. Guest drinking water however is municipal so as to guarantee it’s quality.
All the staff here at Hotel La Rosa feel very proud to have met with such success over the past two economically challenging years. This acknowledgment of our efforts by the officials at the ICT have only served to re-enforce what we already hoped… that we are headed in the right direction to provide our guests whatever they need!