Could you give us some background on your history and how you moved from Edmonton to opening a hotel in Puerto Escondido?
I devoted a large part of my early life to sports. I was an ice hockey player and committed a great deal of effort to developing a professional career. When that concluded, I decided to start traveling to experience more of the world. Upon completing university, I traveled through Latin America for 10 months and fell in love with it. It became my dream to one day open a boutique hotel. Years later I was in a position to acquire a vacation home in Oaxaca. I had not been before, but had heard so much about it. Immediately after visiting for the first time I fell in love with the town and its people and shortly after I found a place and acquired it. Since then, Hotel Casa de Olas has grown into what it is today.
When you decided to open the place, what main added value did you want to offer Puerto Escondido?
Years ago, I was a backpacker, and it was such a wonderful way to meet people. In building Casa de Olas, I wanted to find a great balance of still being able to connect with other travelers but have more comfort and amenities. We also introduced a health and wellness element. The goal was to offer an alternative to big resort vacations where visitors often return home following over consumption and a lot of sun; and instead provide an experience leaving people revitalized and rejuvenated whilst being educated about a culture and learning a new language.
What are your expectations for the future of the tourism industry in Puerto Escondido?
We have already seen it change and grow significantly, however there is still a keen desire by locals and expats alike to maintain the charm, culture and magical feeling that makes Puerto Escondido so special.
What are your long-term plans for the hotel? Do you plan to expand to other locations in Mexico?
It has been a wonderful journey, and I am grateful to have established many lifelong friendships and partnerships with great people in Mexico. This has been a passion project that I want to continue growing. The goal is to continue finding ways to offer professional development for our staff and continually find ways to be giving community members to Puerto Escondido. One of our pillars is to give back to the community that gives to us so dearly. For now, we will grow our business in Puerto Escondido and continue to expand our team.
What has been your experience as a foreigner opening a hotel in this area?
It has been extremely positive. There has been a great deal of learning and valued education in the process. We understand that things may be done differently from one place to the next, so being open minded and nimble as an organization has been important for our growth. It is just a matter of adapting and communicating well. We have a great team that has been crucial to ensuring everything works properly. I am extremely grateful and have become extremely passionate about this project. Puerto Escondido has become a home away from home for me, and I learn more and more about the beautiful culture every time I come back.
How would you describe the current state of the tourism industry in Puerto Escondido?
In the early days of the global pandemic, the future of the tourism industry looked uncertain. However, now we see it flourishing with people from all over Mexico and the rest of the world coming to find purpose and happiness. It has been surprising how Puerto Escondido has surged in these challenging times and the state of tourism will likely remain healthy.