Puntarenas, Costa Rica, never used to be a sought-after tourist destination. It was mostly known in tourist guide books as a cruise line and ferry hub. No more than 10 years ago, people would rather race through the city to catch their boat than take the time out to visit the sandy beaches that the city is named for. Today, it is a city on the rise with greater tourism traffic than ever before.
Michael Marsh of Michael’s Surfside Hotel caught the upswing at the perfect time.
Just over seven years ago, Michael was in Costa Rica visiting a friend when he saw a hotel that had been vacant for five years. As Michael joked with the owner about how his property was not exactly in the best shape, he was taken aback when the owner, somewhat jokingly, told him to buy it.
That night Michael wrote up a potential deal. On his first draft the owner agreed to the terms. And so here he was with a property to renovate, no Spanish language experience, and no hotel background whatsoever. Slowly but surely, Michael’s Surfside Hotel was born.
There was no grand opening for the hotel. It was almost the opposite. Michael knew he wanted to open the hotel as soon as possible, so he renovated and opened one room at a time. Before he knew it, his vision was in full swing!
Since Michael opened his hotel, the surrounding area has developed at an astonishing rate. Michael said guide books used to describe Puntarenas as a dirty area with a high crime rate. Luckily, the government invested to develop the area. Now there are new public parks, a new light house, and a new community center and swimming pool.
One thing is evident just upon entering Michael’s hotel. Every decision was made with the customer in mind. Every room is complete with a kitchenette so visitors don’t have to go out for every single meal. An employee is on call at all times. If a guest needs help, an employee attends to those needs right away. Plus, when the hotel books a tour for a guest, it turns its commission over to the guest.
“I don’t see the need to take that commission from them,” Michael said. “They’re the ones paying for the tour. We’re just here to help. It’s not about the money. It’s about being happy. And if the customers are happy, I am happy. I want everyone to be happy.
From the time he has only one room available to guests until now, Michael said he’s always approached his job with the same goal. He wants guests to leave happy with their experience and eager to come back. It’s no wonder that so many of his guests have visited multiple times or were referred by a previous guest.
“I love that people are happy with our service,” Michael said. “Every good review that I read gives me goosebumps.”
Are you ready to book a visit to Costa Rica? Check out Michael’s Surfside Hotel today.
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