With exceptions that can be counted on two hands, globally, every hotel and resort has suffered dramatically for what is now a whole year. To my knowledge, only Belmond Maroma, 30 minutes south of Cancun, Mexico, has taken such a long-term view that all stakeholders, from LVMH owner Bernard Arnault via the operating team and all employees, to customers and their travel advisors, will ultimately benefit.
LVMH is now 100% owner not only of the Belmond brand but also the hardware of the 11-hectare resort, sandwiched longitudinally, as it were, between mango forests to the west and gorgeously clean sand with blue ocean to the east.
There are 71 bedrooms and suites, mostly in semi-detached two-floor buildings, each of which has four units: ground floor suites have private plunge pools and direct access to the beach, while upper floors have an additional staircase up to flat roofs, ideal for no-peeping sunbathing. There are 280 employees to service the rooms, the grounds and cosset Adelita, the resident, and always vocal, parrot.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Belmond Maroma had to close. The message came from M. Arnault. Pay the entire team full salary plus benefits. No-one at that stage realised it would be four months before re-opening, and when that did happen, there was even more good news. Give the entire team an extra month’s remuneration, which is to say everyone got five months’ income for four months off.
During the closure, by the way, the hotel’s Executive Chef organised cooking classes for those who cared to attend, and the Chief Engineer held lessons in household essentials such as changing fuses.
Hotel GM and RVP Federico Echaiz Bornemann not surprisingly sings praises of ownership, adding that his team is so appreciative that, come end-December employee satisfaction rating for 2020, the result was a staggering 100%. Every single team member was totally satisfied. Has any advisor EVER come across 100% before?
Hotel guests, by the way, are already showing their appreciation for the product and its service: overall figures were above-budget for January and February 2021.
I last stayed at Belmond Maroma in downstairs suite #65, convenient both for the Technogym and the main block, with restaurants. Yes, I loved ‘chatting’ with Adelita the parrot, and also talking properly with barman Freddy. I never saw who-ever dropped hot coffee, with real linens, outside my door at my requested wake-up time (this is included in the room rate). Later, at breakfast, I communicated by smiles with Latia, ‘aunty’, who, in a black hairnet topping a beautifully embroidered local gown, makes tortillas to order.