AN ORAL HISTORY
We invited some of our staff members to share their memories of the Resort’s earliest history, when its remote location made every day an adventure.
Maria Elena Meza, Employee Relations Coordinator
“When I started in October 2003, there was a limited staff and the offices were literally containers on the hill before the roundabout.
It was an interesting job, which consisted of reviewing hundreds and hundreds of résumés, making hundreds of calls for interviews, and creating organizational charts, among many other things, in order to find the best new staff members in Liberia and San José – and then later welcoming all of these people to their new jobs! It was all very interesting and very gratifying to see how people from other countries slowly started arriving, and to see all the departments start coming together.”
“I started in November 2003 with eight other people. All the employees that were here at that time could fit on one bus, with plenty of room to spare.”
Susana Alvarez, former Executive Administrative Assistant to the General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica
Susana is now the assistant director of human resources at Four Seasons Hotel Miami.
“When I first arrived in Costa Rica in May, I found a note in my hotel room saying to call Mr. Argote, the Resort’s general manager, in the morning so that he could give me directions to the Resort. The next morning, his instructions were to “Grab the highway leaving San Jose and go straight, straight, straight until you get to the stop light. It’s four hours of highway.” I replied, “Okay, which stop light?” He responded, “THE stop light… There is no other one. When you get to the stop light, you will be in Liberia. Turn left and we’ll be waiting for you at the Burger King.” It made me laugh a lot, but that’s how it happened. In four hours I was in Liberia. Straight, straight, straight!
We were working out of trailers and containers, and it was just me, the general manager and the director of engineering. We would eat lunch in another trailer in the middle of the site with the construction crew, architects and engineers. When we became a bigger group, I would go and get our lunch at the Allegro Papagayo and it would take me about two hours to go and come back!
To make it up to the trailers was a total odyssey. It took 45 minutes from the entrance of the peninsula and you could only make it with a 4x4 SUV. It was pure dirt, mud and lots of hills. Every time there was a thunder storm and lightning would hit, the trailers would shake and the electricity would go out, so there was nothing else we could do for the day except to wait for the rain to die down so we could leave.
On one memorable occasion, investors arrived at the project site and Mr. Argote wasn’t there. I grabbed the SUV that was outside – I don’t even remember whose it was – and took the investors on a tour of the site. On part of the tour, I took the wrong road and almost flipped over the car! I was super scared but they never even noticed. The investors were happy seeing the project site, but I was just wishing I could find the right road (without mud) so we could make it back to the trailer, safe and sound!”