Esperanza is a little bit of a mixture between Paco (Uxlabil Eco Hotel, Guatemala) for its Professor of Philosophy side, and Carolina (Arbol de Fuego Eco Hotel, El Salvador) for the women entrepreneur look alike. Esperanza was the first person to confirm a hotel mission with me (via LinkedIn) as I was still in Barcelona, and my Hospitality Tour was still in its pre-project phase. We had been exchanging e-mails for three months (where I postpone my arrival almost every week… thank you Esperanza for your patience!). But we finally met, here I am! It’s fantastic to move from the virtual correspondence to meet in person. Would to come meeting Esperanza with me? Direction Tegucigalpa, Honduras…
A mixture of Mexico and Honduras
Casa Xochicalco has been Esperanza’s family home for her whole life. This wonderful house has a magnificent garden and is located in the chic area of the capital of Honduras (the mountain Picacho is 1240 meters high and 6 kilometers from the centre of Tegucigalpa).
In the 40’s, the current President (read Dictator) hired a Mexican landscape architect, Augusto Morales y Sanchez to design and build two parks in the city: ‘’La Concordia’’ and the ‘’Parque Naciones Unidas’’ (also known as ‘’Parque Cristo de El Picacho’’). The architect Morales y Sanchez bought a piece of land next to one of the parks and began the construction of his house, which he called ‘’Casa Xochicalco’’, ‘’the house of flowers’’ (in the náhuatl language, indigenous people of Central Mexico)
Esperanza’s father, a brilliant lawyer, passed away when she was still very young. Her mother hasn’t remarried, but dedicated herself to hard working in order to educate her three daughters, and especially to take care of the youngest one, Esperanza, who is then the only one still living in the family house. She became an entrepreneur and invested in different businesses. One of her greatest achievements was the general management of a tobacco plantation.
Esperanza’s mother has always had an interest in acquiring the property of the architect Morales y Sanchez. At that time the area of Picacho was not what it is today; the place was peripheral, without electricity, its access road was rural and unpaved. Esperanza’s mother made several offers for the property, and in 1957 (as the family was living in Mexico) Morales y Sanchez finally presented her with an agreed offer and so they returned to Honduras to finish building up this beautiful house and settle in it.
From the Family house to the Bed & Breakfast
Esperanza studied Economy and worked in this field for 10 years, but after that she returned to her greatest professional interest, her first love; Philosophy and Theology. She is now a part-time professor in these fields.
She started the tourism and hospitality adventure a year and a half ago with renting the five guests rooms of her family house. The environment is wonderful, a real little treasure, an oasis of tranquility where everything is set with good taste and detail. The experience is totally unique. You want some dinner?… no problem would reply Esperanza, who will prepare food exclusively for you, what we call ‘’a la carte’’. What do you think?…
Esperanza speaks English very well, but she also manages fluently French and Italian. She is pleased to meet new people, to travel and is very curious and interested in learning new things. She is a very good student. We spent four days working on strategies and plan of action for Casa Xochicalco, to optimize its visibility over the Internet in order to raise the occupancy. She also wants to implement specific practices in energy efficiency, environmental and social responsibility. Thanks to the great practices that I observed in Uxlabil and Arbol de Fuego Eco-hotels and the sources of information and updates that are Hopineo.org and CaminoSostenible.org, we prepared a list of potential good sustainable practices which could be implemented.
My arrival in Honduras
I quickly visited El Salvador (I only stayed there for a week)…but for a particular reason: Santi, my Argentinean friend and former housemate was in Tegucipalga for two weeks on a business trip. An opportunity we couldn’t miss! Very lucky! It’s a bit weird to meet with a familiar person in the middle of a trip like this, but it’s above all really great!
I started my stay in Honduras with a weekend of discovering new sites in great company then (Hiking in La Tigra National Park, visit of the Valle de Angeles village) and with a private car and driver! I stayed at the Intercontinental with Santi as he had a room with two double beds. We shared this weekend savoring lobsters, staying at its five star hotel… and without having to work for once! Thank you Santi!
On Monday Santi returned to work and I started my new hotel mission with Experanza at Casa Xochicalco. We spent pleasant moments talking and cooking. This Hospitality Tour is really great! It is already Thursday and tomorrow I have to take a bus for a long journey to the Caribbean beaches of Honduras, to visit two new hotels:
Will you accompany me to this new tropical place? …
Translated by Bogomila Bozhkova