Our Pleasure is Your Pleasure: The People of the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Cap Cana
My main takeaway from a decade of food writing is what I call the Davidson Rule of Restaurants: “There are only two kinds of restaurants in the world: those with love, and all the rest.” Usually, it is easy to tell the difference. If those who run a restaurant have a genuine love of taking care of people, you will know it from every aspect of the experience: food, service, and more.
A similar concept exists elsewhere in the hospitality industry, such as beach resorts. There are many criteria for excellence in a resort: atmosphere, weather, food, etc. But, even acing all of these will not create a great resort unless one thing is true. The people must genuinely love what they do.
As with almost any organization, that starts at the top. At the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Cap Cana, General Manager Pedro Tomas must love caring for people. And, he must also have a knack for finding others who do, too. Praise abounds online for the virtues of the two side-by-side all-inclusive properties that Tomas runs – Ziva for families, Zilara for adults: the stunning setting, excellent food, and amenities. An amazing 93% of Hyatt Ziva’s Tripadvisor reviews give it the highest possible rating. I mean, just look at it:
While the acclaim is warranted, rather than piling on, I want to focus on something different: the people.
Francisco’s Spirit: Our Pleasure is Your Pleasure
In the easternmost part of the Dominican Republic, Cap Cana is nowhere near populous areas of the country, like the capital Santo Domingo. To work at the Hyatt resorts, then, many employees travel as much as two or three hours from their communities, often staying in nearby accommodations for days at a time before returning home. To the Hyatt, they come with love.
The staff either are great actors or genuinely love to take care of people. Over the course of a spectacular week, there are too many examples to list, but one morning ritual is emblematic. Francisco, and his smoked salmon toast.
Francisco will not hand you your plate until he wipes it spotless. At his buffet station at Mercado, the main restaurant in the Hyatt Ziva, the pride he takes in his work is unmistakable, as he builds works of art from toasted bread slices, smoked salmon, and adornments. Each day he would seem to beam brighter with the joy his creations would give me and others. One morning, Francisco told me: “It is my pleasure to make your pleasure.”
Francisco’s spirit fills the hearts of people throughout the resort. Georges at The Chinola’s bar, Hector at the Bosque Lounge, Edward at Shutters, Ricardo at Noodle and Thread, Catalino at Tempest, Jose, Robert, and Enso at Spiritz, Joselyn at Coffee Republic, Daniel at the Ziva pool. The list could go on and on. It is a credit to GM Pedro Tomas, his staff, and the people of the Dominican Republic.
And, it is a pleasure.