Opening our Senda Monteverde Hotel – From 0 to 100 in Three Short Days

If you have ever participated in the opening of a hotel, you’ll know that it is one of the most hectic and craziest business experiences out there.  It wasn’t a whole lot different in the idyllic cloud forest mountain town of Monteverde, where we’ve just opened Senda Hotel.  Construction and furniture delivery were delayed by more than a month.  We couldn’t really do a “soft opening” as planned and basically went from empty to 100% occupancy in a matter of 72 hours.

We officially opened Senda on December 15th.  That day, there was still a backhoe stationed in the parking lot and the furniture for the Premium Suites was missing.  The solar water heaters didn’t work and some toilets did not flush properly – the usual stuff.  There were piles and piles of construction debris to be seen everywhere and small armies of workers in hard hats hustling around the hotel.  From our experience in luxury hospitality over the years, we know that Holiday Season guests and construction noise don’t mix.  We pushed on hard and by December 19th  at 5:30 pm the last signs of construction were gone.

A Luxury, Cloud Forest Hotel in Monteverde
So many details go into making a hotel room 100% functional. It takes a lot of coordination, teamwork and hard work.

Thankfully, because on December 22nd – just 72 hours later – we had the hotel at full capacity.  We did it.  And our guests over the Christmas Holidays and New Year hardly noticed that we’d just opened. Well, one couple did.  At midnight on December 28th , our General Manager Rolando Guzman received a frantic call from the Night Guard. His voice was somewhat panicked – the last two guests had just arrived to check in and we were short of one mattress. Now what?

A true hospitality warrior – like so many at Cayuga – Rolando threw on a jacket, grabbed his mattress, threw it in the back of his pickup truck and raced over to the hotel. In a matter of minutes, the bed was made up with crisp sheets and a plush duvet, and all was under control. Problem solved and guests happy.

This is Rolando on a normal day. It did not occur to us to take the picture at midnight on the 28th. But you get the idea…

While the humorous opening mishaps are numerous, it all worked out in the end. Here’s what we put our success down to so far:

It sure helps that Cayuga has opened several hotels and lodges in the past. With The Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio, Jicaro Lodge in Nicaragua, Kurà in Uvita, and Isla Palenque in Panama under our belt, we’ve more or less seen it all.

It’s hard to open a hotel, and impossible to do it alone. We have a strong Cayuga Collection Corporate Team working hard every day to make things happen. Special thanks to Jorge, Fabian, Jose Pablo, Ana Maria, Ever, Eduardo, Maria Jose, Karla, Alonso, Alberto and Andrea.

Success is only possible when the goals of the hotel’s owner and the management team are aligned.  Senda’s owners are 100% committed to quality and sustainability and after thousands of emails, WhatsApp messages, meetings and plenty of patience, together we made it happened.

Senda’s Staff
Without such a strong, dedicated team on the ground, Senda’s opening would have been messy, to say the least.  Everybody worked their butts off to make the impossible possible, proving their real passion for hospitality and service. And the smiles on the faces of their very first guests make it all worthwhile. A super special thanks to Rolando, Aldair, Mónica, Pedro, Andrea, Tatiana, Alison, and all the entire Senda Team.

Some of Senda’s Staff

So, what’s on the horizon for Cayuga?

After the successful launch of Isla Palenque in Panama and now Senda in Monterverde, we are ready for our next opening.  With more experience than ever, we’re all set to apply everything we’ve learned and steer our future projects to success. Stay tuned!


Inspired to visit Senda Monteverde? Drop us a note at to take advantage of our special openings rates this January, starting from $224/night + tax (double occupancy). Alternatively, stay for 2 nights from now until December 21st, 2019, and your 3 nights is on us.

Views of the Nicoya Gulf and the Pacific Ocean from the Premium Suites at Senda Monteverde.

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Hans Pfister

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