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Q&A With Rosewood Mayakoba's Managing Director Daniel Scott

The hotel's managing director has a simple philosophy: Do common things uncommonly well.

U.S. News & World Report

Q&A With Rosewood Mayakoba's Managing Director Daniel Scott

Rosewood Beach(Courtesy of Rosewood Mayakoba)

The No. 1 hotel in Playa Del Carmen and one of the highest-rated Best Hotels in Mexico in the U.S. News Best Hotels rankings, Rosewood Mayakoba is known for its forward-thinking design, which gracefully reflects its natural surroundings in the Riviera Maya. Utilizing materials such as local Yucatan limestone blocks and wood from indigenous trees, the resort prides itself on its commitment to environmental sustainability. This mission carries over to its facilities, which include La Ceiba, a Mayan garden where guests can pick out fresh Mexican staples like passion fruit and purple basil, and Sense, a Rosewood Spa where guests can enjoy treatments that integrate ingredients like agave cactus.

U.S. News spoke with Daniel Scott, managing director of Rosewood Mayakoba and a Rosewood Hotels & Resorts employee since 2003, about why he thinks the hotel continues to receive top accolades. A visionary and a culture-driven leader, Scott's passion lies in creating an environment where his staff is empowered, successful and inspired to deliver superlative service every day. His responses have been edited.

Rosewood Mayakoba consistently earns top marks from discerning critics and travelers. Why is the property continually recognized as one of the world's top hotels?

It's because of the culture that we have at Rosewood Mayakoba, one where we are trying to offer sincere, genuine service. My responsibility is to cultivate a culture where everyone has the tools to be successful. I wouldn't say most of the team actually works at Rosewood Mayakoba – instead we pass our days there. When you have that positive culture, the energy is contagious. If we take care of the team, and they have a great environment where they're respected, they're having fun and they're empowered, that means they're going to love what they do and spread positivity. Staff members understand our culture and they understand that they play a huge part in the success of Rosewood Mayakoba.

From your perspective, what makes Rosewood Mayakoba outshine its competitors? What are its best attributes?

It might sound like a cliche, but what differentiates us is our team. Everyone is empowered to do the right thing and have fun. When you have that culture, where there's a mutual respect, you have this positive energy, and I think guests feed upon that energy. What differentiates Rosewood Mayakoba is the relationships our team makes. It's the sincerity of service that I don't think exists in many places. We have a group of individuals who are truly invested in the success of their fellow team members and the happiness of our guests.

Daniel Scott(Courtesy of Rosewood Mayakoba)

Guests consistently praise the attentive hotel staff, citing their attention to detail and gracious hospitality as reasons to return. How does Rosewood Mayakoba ensure guests receive unparalleled customer service and personalized experiences?

We pride ourselves on doing common things uncommonly well. The responsibilities of a housekeeper is not only to ensure the cleanliness of suites. The responsibility of a housekeeper at Rosewood Mayakoba is to think about what she or he is doing to support team members in suite service, to support butlers and to support co-team members, because we all have the same goal. It's a goal of giving the most consistent experience. Our goal is that any person who comes through the front entrance has a personalized experience and an emotional connection that they've never had in a resort or hotel.

Recently, the hotel has elevated its culinary and wellness offerings with the creation of La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen. What are some of most noteworthy culinary and wellness services at the property?

A huge part of our philosophy is sense of place. When you are at the resort, we want you to understand that you can't enjoy this experience anywhere else. And we demonstrate a sense of place throughout the property. Through the architecture, there's a synergy between the lagoons, the mangroves and the beach. And through our culinary offerings, we're really trying to speak to the nuance of Mexican cuisine. The cuisine from the Yucatan is very different than the cuisine you might find in Mexico City. So we have a Mayan garden, where we're only using Zapote wood, which is the wood that's been used since the times of the Mayans. And in the garden, we work with a seventh-generation shaman. You choose the plant that calls you by intuition, and with that plant you'll make your own oil that will be used both in the temazcal [an authentic Mayan steam bath in a dome-shaped structure used for healing] and in your massage.

Rosewood Mayakoba also prides itself on its dedication to environmental sustainability. The resort was designed to meet top eco-friendly standards and has even received Rainforest Alliance Certification. How is the brand's environmental philosophy reflected at the resort?

Rosewood Mayakoba proves building a luxury resort is not synonymous with destroying the environment. We have now, after nine years, twice as many species on property as there were even prior to construction, which I think shows that if you respect the local environment, you can be successful. We have a biologist on the team who educates both our guests and my fellow associates about doing the right thing. And I'm very proud of the way we've not only maintained but enhanced our local environment and been an example for the rest of the Riviera Maya.

Rosewood Mayakoba(Courtesy of Rosewood Mayakoba)

How was the resort designed without damaging the ecosystem of the Riviera Maya's verdant jungle and unspoiled white beaches?

For Rosewood, doing the right thing was about building a resort that doesn't take away the natural environment but lets the setting play a role in the guest experience. We're demonstrating that Mexico's culture is rich in many ways. And one way is in its natural landscape, with all the mangroves we have, all the natural lagoons and cenotes. It's easy to talk about it now, but building a resort in Mexico that's not on the beach – it was challenging. It's such a special part of the world with all the history of the Mayans and Tulum, Coba and Chichen Itza.

How does Rosewood Mayakoba's social policy impact the greater community? How do ongoing social responsibility initiatives affect overall employee and guest satisfaction?

When you walk through the property, you will see that we offer the same quality of cuisine to our team that we offer to our guests. You will see our wellness facility and common areas for the team are at the same standard. We understand that our best asset is our team. And if we're taking care of our team, not only is it going to create an incredible experience for our guests, it's also creating an unbelievable experience for our team – and that's going to extend to their family and neighbors. Recently, we created new uniforms for the team. One gentleman came to me and said, 'I love it here. I love everything. I just wish I had a nicer uniform. I'm not very proud of what I wear.' That started the conversation. We want everyone to understand the integral part they play.

What's the most rewarding part about working at Rosewood Mayakoba, and what can guests expect on their next visit?

For me, the most rewarding part is playing a small role in the lives of the people I work with. Every person has different goals. My responsibility is to create a culture where they are able to achieve their goals, both personal and professional. Any way I can have a positive effect on other people's lives is a beautiful thing.

What guests will discover is a special culture where a team of people is invested in their happiness and creating personalized experiences. They're going to leave with not only an authentic experience in Mexico, but also long-lasting relationships with the team. That is the biggest differentiator. And they're going to find a place that is refined and classy, but it's not pretentious. It's understated. It's comfortable. Luxury doesn't have to be white-glove. Luxury is authenticity. Luxury is feeling comfortable and having comfort and a connection with the team.

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