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ATELIER Playa Mujeres is a luxury all-inclusive resort in Playa Mujeres that made the risky decision to completely close down for two months from April to June 2023. Since opening, the resort has already gained an overwhelming amount of popularity due to the successful execution of its motto, Handcrafted Hospitality®. However, the forward-thinking leadership saw areas of opportunity to further enhance the guest vacation experience. Rather than settle and be satisfied with its current position as a leading resort in the Mexican Caribbean, ATELIER Playa Mujeres decided to completely shut down in an effort to execute strategic continuous improvement and guest offerings with a goal of enhancing their “Barefoot Luxury® Experience”.
I had the opportunity to meet with COO Mascia Nadin, General Manager Ignacio Diaz, NUUP Spa Manager Alicia Acevedo, and Maria Dolores restaurant Manager Veronica Losa (“the Management”) to speak in detail about the resort closure and renovation period. The management explained that they could have kept the resort open, but they felt that challenges with construction dust and debris, additional noise, and shutting down certain areas of the resort would have been detrimental to the guests' experience. Therefore, the Management made a tough decision that most resorts probably wouldn't have. They put the guests first and decided to completely shut down for two months from April to June 2023.
The story of how ATELIER Playa Mujeres implemented what some would consider a risky endeavor is incredible and inspiring as the resort has bounced right back with updated and unparalleled accommodations, dining options, guest service offerings, activities, and spa operations, making it even more luxurious and inviting than ever before.During my extensive interview with the Management we discussed in detail some of the highlights of the new and improved ATELIER Playa Mujeres:
Staffing: During the renovation period the resort's meeting space was transformed into a "Mini University". They knew that in order to align with their motto "Handcrafted Hospitality" they had to make sure that all of the staff were on board. All staff both old and new took a series of training classes in various areas. All staff were kept on payroll during the renovations and were paid their full salaries during the training period. This allowed for the staff to fully focus on learning and they were also able to build a stronger camaraderie with their fellow coworkers creating a stronger team that would be ready to service the guests upon reopening.
Accommodations: All of the rooms were inspected and refreshed. Inspections and maintenance checks were done by internal staff as well as external experts. Business suites were added to accommodate the rise of bleisure travel. The resort also created a plan to try to place most groups in Building 3 with a great relaxing area, in order to give other guests the experience that they intend to receive on vacation.
Dining at ATELIER Playa Mujeres (Photo Credit: Terika L. Haynes)
Dining: Staff was trained on the menus and a protocol was put in place to change the menus every 6 months, with the goal to never repeat menus. The goal of this decision was to ensure that all guests can experience an unforgettable gastronomic journey regardless of when or how many times they visit the resort. Celebrity Chef Edgar Nunez also visits his restaurant Maria Dolores every 6 weeks to ensure that staff and the cuisine are of the highest quality level. A new dining venue, La Punta was also completed during the renovation. This venue which specializes in seafood cuisine was created to ensure that guests on the beach could receive their food orders in less time than previously.
Spa: The spa focused on training the staff as well as adding new treatment options for guests. Plans were made to add PandoraStar lamps which can be used for guests experiencing menopause, terminal illnesses, arthritis, and pain.
Spa at ATELIER Playa Mujeres (Photo Credit: Terika L. Haynes)
Facilities: All of the pool flooring was renovated along with the back-of-house flooring. The wooden walkways were also inspected and updated and a new wooden deck was installed for weddings and events. All equipment was checked and deep cleanings were done all throughout the resort.
Health and Safety: All staff undergo a temperature check before starting their shift. A 24-hour physician onsite was added and now all lifeguards are also certified paramedics. All safety manuals were updated and included as a learning module during the staff training.
In addition to the new and improved amenities, ATELIER Playa Mujeres is also offering a number of new programs and activities for guests to enjoy. Here are a few examples:
Expansion of The INSPIRA Program: Starting soon all INSPIRA guests will be able to have butler service.Butler Service: To further enhance the experience for INSPIRA guests, plans were created to start a butler program that is tailored to cater to all of the guests’ desires. The butlers have been trained by The British Butler Institute and currently service the highest INSPIRA room types. The butlers provide personalized service for guests and communicate with guests throughout the day to ensure that all of their needs are met. Butlers can assist with dining reservations, packing and unpacking, along with many other requests.The ATELIER Experience: Plans were made for guests to experience a “back of the house” tour. This program will offer guests a behind-the-scenes look at the resort, including a visit to the kitchen, the NUUP Spa, and the laundry facilities. Guests will also learn about the resort's sustainable practices.When management was asked what were the biggest lessons during the renovation period they noted that taking the time to train the staff was key during the renovations. They explained that the training period kept the staff engaged and that at the reopening they were all so excited to put into action what they had learned. Another equally important lesson was to make sure that your strategic plan is solid and stick to it. Staying organized also was very helpful throughout the process.
From its inception, ATELIER Playa Mujeres has made service one of its pillars and its mission. The Management has done a phenomenal job at emphasizing the importance of the “Handcrafted Hospitality” as evidenced by the success of their renovation process. The brave decision to completely shut down proves that ATELIER’s commitment to excellence and service extends beyond aesthetics and experiences. They attribute the adherence to their motto to their overall success and with a strong focus on continuous improvement they will only continue to get better with time.
Dr. Terika L. Haynes is the CEO and Founder of Dynamite Travel, a five-star rated luxury travel agency that has been providing...
the latest travel news, advice, updates, upcoming exclusive deals and more.
CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC
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