Loves Creating Priceless Moments for Guests
By Pat Tyson
It would not be easy to find anyone more delighted with her profession than Executive Director Cristina Romero-Peri, who oversees the strategic direction of Sales and Marketing for One&Only Palmilla, with heavy emphasis on the promotion and positioning of the hotel and brand in Mexico. Her philosophy and vision are simple: “I love what I do!” she says with characteristic enthusiasm.
“I love to travel and experience new cultures and places around the world,” she explains. “It’s the reason I appreciate and respect the hospitality industry; it’s why I work with passion and dedication to deliver the results set by the company, and why I truly strive to exceed the expectations set by our guests.” Besides the many challenges tourism has encountered in the past, a couple of years ago Mother Nature stepped in to exacerbate the problems.
“In 2014, One&Only Palmilla faced one of the biggest challenges the resort has ever seen – Hurricane Odile,” Christina relates. “The entire experience was proof that the best tool to overcome any challenge and turn it into a positive experience is the people involved. If you are surrounded by dedicated and genuine people, you are able to accomplish many things, especially in this industry.” She says she feels extremely lucky to work with some of the best; the One&Only Palmilla team plays a huge role in the success of the resort. The staff there is very proud of its work, being thrilled to welcome all guests and intuitively taking into account every detail and preference. She is gratified, too, that Travel&Leisure named the One&Only Palmilla The Best Resort in Mexico.
“Our ethos is one of generosity expressed through personalized service, an unending feeling of welcome and genuine hospitality, and a staff dedicated to ensuring that guests experience the vacation of a lifetime with no wish or need unmet,” she says. “The resort’s distinctive “hand-on-heart” greeting is emblematic of the warmth of the entire family – and truly embraces the Mexican spirit.” But the subject of safety of travel in Mexico often arises.
“I am in constant communication with top travel agents and journalists about the state of tourism in Mexico,” Cristina responds. “We are very lucky that Los Cabos is in an ideal location, and we can provide safe experiences to all of our guests. At One&Only Palmilla, we go above and beyond to make sure our guests are comfortable and enjoy their time at the resort.” And there is always more exciting news of interest.
“In April 2015 we debuted a beautiful redesigned resort and introduced the OBO Beauty Salon and Barber&Blade Men’s Grooming Salon to the One&Only Spa, as well as new dining options, including SEARED Steakhouse and Agua by Larbi,” she explains. “In December 2015, we introduced Villa One, a spectacular four-bedroom hillside villa, reminiscent of a glass house. It provides our discerning guests with a new, sleek retreat, perfect for families or a group of friends traveling together.” Also, the company will be expanding beyond Los Cabos.
One&Only Resorts has announced that it will be building two new resorts in Mexico – One&Only Mandarina, located in Riviera Maya, and One&Only Santa Maria de Xala, outside Puerto Vallarta. These developments are expected to continue to build upon their reputation as the leader in ultra-luxury travel, particularly in Mexico. For Cristina, some of her preferred spots at the moment lie closer to home.
“My favorite place in Mexico is Los Cabos – the contrasts between the water and the desert are too beautiful to put into words,” she exclaims. “I also love the beaches of Tulum.” The historic and vibrant feel of Mexico City also excites her – exploring the plazas and old churches. She also enjoys visiting various towns and wandering around the shops, finding amazing artisanal artifacts for her house, and stumbling upon small family-run restaurants, which always serve the most wonderful food. She finds pleasure in visiting beach towns and eating ceviche under a palapa, while gazing at the multi-hued ocean. Although born in the United States, Cristina truly believes that Mexico is one of the best countries in the world.
“I’m a California girl” Cristina jokes. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she spent four years in Northern California at UC Berkley where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Her first job was at the Claremont Hotel in Berkley. This was her first taste of the hospitality industry, and she has never looked back. As a Latina, it is in her blood to love the Mexican culture, the food – she appreciates a good arrachera with a lovely Mexican wine, which she considers are among the best wines around. (Watch out Bordeaux, she cautions!) She also admires the family traditions and, most importantly, the friendly people–so warm, passionate and caring, that really make a difference. Throughout her career, she says she has been influenced by some of the most amazing and visionary leaders in the hospitality industry.
“I have learned so much from each person, and believe that when you admire someone professionally, and share the same values and foundations, it becomes a reflection of everything you do – both personally and professionally.” And she has a favorite saying:
“What you think – you become, what you feel – you attract, what you imagine – you create.”