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Monday, December 4, 2023

Spanish hotelier promotes wellness in PH tourism

As travel restrictions relax and borders have reopened, tourists are looking to revisit old favorites while seeking out new experiences that can help them unwind and decompress from the stress caused by the pandemic.

Managing director Juan Roca is responsible for the operation and administration of Anya Hospitality Group.

The longing for wide open spaces surrounded by the grandeur of nature have made Anya Hospitality Group properties—Anya Resort Tagaytay and Club Punta Fuego—popular with families who want to spend quality time together amid luxe accommodations that offer exceptional service.

Other brands under the AHG portfolio are Amara Residences, Terrazas de Punta Fuego and Go Hotels branches along Airport Road, Timog, Ermita and North Edsa, Brio De Agoho and the newly-launched Niyama Wellness concept.

Juan Roca, managing director of AHG, ensures the level of quality among these properties to make sure that each visit brings a memorable travel experience. His sheer passion for hospitality was nurtured from more than 25 years of experience in the industry in properties across Asia, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Hospitality leader

Roca, who hails from Mallorca, Spain, was a born hotelier. “My family used to own resorts in Mallorca and Ibiza. I started to work in the family business when I was 16. When I turned 26, I moved to the Dominican Republic because I wanted to learn different things. My mom used to work in the tourism industry in an airline company, and there was a time I when I wanted to become a pilot,” he said.

He pursued a Bachelor Degree in Tourism and Business Administration and holds a Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University.

He was one of the AHG pioneers when Fuego Hotels was being set up in 2004, and he has since worked in other properties around the world, including the Canary Islands, the Caribbean, Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

He rejoined the Anya Hospitality Group in 2019 upon the invitation of Santi Elizalde. “It’s an honor to be working with Mr. Elizalde and Mr. Roxas to handle the hospitality arm of Roxaco Land and developments projected for the next years. Roxaco Land is more known for real estate, but they wanted to expand in the hospitality industry to be stronger. It opened my eyes for more opportunities,” he said.

As managing director, Roca is responsible for the operation and administration of AHG. “There’s a lot of work to be done in the corporate as well as in the property level. I monitor performance to achieve goals and make sure that the properties are profitable. That’s most important,” he said.

While he is hands on as a manager, he also empowers his team. “I let them do what they have to do. I am always there to support and help them.”

He said Filipinos, having worked in different countries, definitely have an advantage in the industry. “The hospitality of the Filipino people already makes the product more successful. Even in Spain and Europe, you don’t see that level of hospitality and service,” he said.

Wellness experience

To practice mindfulness and destress during his free time, he does yoga and plays golf. “I started yoga during the pandemic when I was enclosed in my apartment in Makati. I was getting anxious and yoga helped me a lot to be present at the moment. That’s why I still keep doing it. Golf helps with my concentration,” he said.

With his own experience on the importance of wellness, Roca is elevating the mindfulness experience for their guests through the five pillars of the Niyama Spa. Among the services that are available at Niyama are Spa Treatments from DOH-licensed therapists who use organic, natural and sustainable ingredients in treatments with its signature treatment, the Bamboo Massage.

There are also Integrative Treatments in collaboration with global biological wellness group European Wellness Retreat, which specializes in cellular health programs; Inner Journeys which are seasonal retreats and workshops in partnership with wellness specialists for life-resetting; Movement fitness and mindful movements through Yoga and Tai Chi sessions on weekends; and the Soul Menu which offers plant-based healthy dishes with a relaxing view of the Anila Poolside of the Anya Resort.

AHG is making the Niyama concept available to other wellness destinations through wellness management consultancy. “Our vision for AHG is to grow. The main goal is to have more properties, increase portfolio and develop new brands.”

AHG properties and concepts have been recognized in the hospitality industry for exceptional service and overall experience.

Anya Resort Tagaytay was awarded for Luxury Hideaway Resort in Southern Asia, Niyama Wellness Center was the Global Winner of the Luxury Sustainable Spa award and Samira by Chele Gonzalez at Anya Resort was also the Global Winner of the Global Luxury Resort Restaurant award.

“We want to create new experiences for our guests in this very competitive business, to offer that experience that everybody is happy when we read guest comments, and to achieve this, we introduced changes and innovations. We are here to serve, to make sure that all our guests will enjoy their stay,” he said.

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