At the Cayuga Collection, we believe true luxury lies in the experience. When you can experience, learn, connect, and relax in some of the most inspiring settings on Earth, your vacation can become truly transformative. This concept has been part of our philosophy for almost 20 years now and we apply it to our guests and employees alike.
About four to five times per year, we bring the management teams from our hotels and lodges together. Often it is about management training, reviewing financials, improving operating procedures, and other business-related topics. But we also try to incorporate unique experiences, learn something new, connect with each other, and of course, having some time to relax as well.
This past week, we met at the Cloud House in the foothills of the Irazu Volcano near San Jose, Costa Rica. And it was mostly about food this time. There is no better way to experience, learn and connect than through a culinary experience. We invited chef Pablo Bonilla to teach us how to prepare an ultra-local delicious lunch based on ancestral cuisine.
The focus was not on culinary perfection (although the meal was amazing), but on learning, reconnecting with colleagues, and also letting go and having fun. We are currently experiencing our busiest high season ever, so it was a great opportunity for our managers to step out of the day-to-day operations, let go a bit, share a meal, laugh, and relax.
Before starting to prepare the meals, Chef Pablo shared some of his inspirations of why he became an expert in ancestral cuisine. It helped us understand the almost forgotten history of the indigenous tribes living in Costa Rica and Panama. At most of the Cayuga Collection Hotels like Isla Palenque (Ngäbe), Aguas Claras (Bribri), Arenas del Mar (Quepoa), and Kura (Boruca) there is already a strong element in the guest experience related to indigenous culture.
Later in the day, we discussed our updated Climate Action Sustainability Plan 2030 and shared best practices in attracting and retaining employees post Covid. While we have not experienced the “great resignation” here in Costa Rica and Panama, we do see that with the current uptick in tourism demand, there will be increased competition for talent.
And when the sun started to set, we had a glass of wine accompanied by a very special snack prepared by our friends of CRIC Costa Rica using crickets and worms. Once again… another experience and learning about foods of the future. But that is a whole different story for another blog…