Cayuga Staff Stories:  The Housekeeper with the Greatest Smile at the Harmony Hotel

“I dreaded the visits by the Cayuga Corporate Team before.  It meant long lists of things to fix, improve and do.  Today, I understand the “why” behind it.  If the Cayuga audit finds a problem and we fix it, then it is less likely that a guest finds it.  And that means that we are able to exceed the expectations of our guests.”

Meet Maria Eugenia Obando – born and raised with nine other siblings in a small town called Las Delicias that is close to Guiones Beach and Nosara.  She is one of the most positive people you will ever meet.  She has a contagious smile and will always see the bright side of life.  She is the head of the housekeeping department at Cayuga Collection’s Harmony Hotel in Nosara and in charge of the Harbor Reef Hotel cleaning team.  Her sister Ofelia works at the Harmony Hotel as well.

The Harmony Hotel, where Maria works is located near Playa Guiones, Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula. It operates under the concept of low key luxury.

When she was in fifth grade, she got her first job.  She helped her mother with the cleaning the house of a local resident and then moved on to work in a jewelry store.  She defines her family upbringing as humble, but also stresses that “being poor is no reason not to be clean and tidy”.

She started to work at the Harmony Hotel in 2009 cleaning the public areas of the hotel and then was promoted to housekeeper.  The Cayuga Collection Career Plan allowed her to take on an administrative position in accounting, but recently she was offered the opportunity to lead the Housekeeping Teams of the two Nosara Hotels and was happy to go back to operations.

Can you guess who Maria is in this picture? Yes, the one with the big smile on the left.

She loves to “get things done” and has learned to anticipate situations before they happen.  The guest satisfaction at the Harmony Hotel in terms of cleanliness of the rooms is close to 100%.

When asked what her favorite thing about the Harmony Hotel is, she responds: “I found the love of my life.”  She met and married Dennis, the former Maintenance Leader of the hotel and today they have two kids: Mariano and Marcelo.  She says she would love to become part of the maintenance team in the future and her current career path is aimed at Operations Manager.  She would also like to own her own business some day.

Maria with her kids Mariano and Marcelo.

She is very grateful to the Harmony Hotel and the Cayuga Collection for offering her opportunities to learn and grow.  She loved the exposure to the concept of sustainability, something she had never heard off before joining the hotel. Now she is very passionate about going the extra mile not only in customer service, but also sustainable practices.   She emphasized how important it is to teach her kids about nature and sustainability at an early age.

The interior design concept of the Harmony Hotel is very simple and clean. Even more important to have things “spic and span” in terms of Housekeeping Services.
And she discovered another passion:  Travel.  She has visited several of the Cayuga Collection Hotels through the special “Cayuga Rate” that is offered to staff members.  She has visited Lapa Rios Lodge on the Osa Peninsula where she participated in the Lapathon 10K fundraising race.  She also visited Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio and Latitude 10 in Santa Teresa.  She says that travel is “on hold” for now because of the kids, but is looking forward to visit Cayuga Collection’s Jicaro Lodge in Nicaragua or Isla Palenque in Panama soon.
Panama next? Areal view of Cayuga’s newest property Isla Palenque to open this July.

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Andrea Bonilla

Co-Owner & VP Operations