Rosewood Mayakoba Aims to Be More Than a Luxurious Mexican Resort with K’iin Beh School – A New Model to Give Back?
IIn the open-air lobby of the Rosewood Mayakoba, Mexico, overlooking the shimmering green water of the lagoon, I hear a perky gentleman dragging a few hotel guests into a vehicle. The charming man is Daniel Scott, regional vice president and general manager of the famous resort known for its impeccable service, spacious waterfront suites and ultra-luxurious experiences.
The vehicle heads towards K’iin Beh, a non-profit school built to support underprivileged children in the small nearby community of Cristo Rey. The school strives to provide quality education and community refuge for local children who are often forgotten in an area surrounded by luxury resorts and buzzing tourists. The name K’iin Beh, which means “towards the sun” in Mayan, reflects the school’s mission to bring light and growth to its students.
When Scott arrives at school, the passion is palpable in its halls. He beams with pride as he pokes his head around the classrooms of kids ranging in age from kindergarten to grade 8. All the children seem delighted to practice their English with him.
After moving to Mayakoba, from the resort town of Cabo Rosewood Las Ventanas al Paraíso and taking over as General Manager of Rosewood, Scott saw the urgent need for quality education in the region.
While it began as a hand-built palapa housing 20 students, the school now has over 330 students, many of whom come from families well below the poverty line.
The school, with enrollment primarily based on scholarships, focuses on “providing students with a bilingual education while equipping each child with the tools and self-esteem they need to grow into human beings and successful leaders in their community”. Scott tells PaperCity.
Although not exclusively created for those affiliated with Rosewood Mayakoba, 20% of students are children of station employees.
“It’s one thing to take care of who we work with, to provide benefits, a fine culture, etc., but if we are able to provide quality education and really help the children of the people with whom we’re working, to be the next leaders, so we’re coming full circle,” says Scott.
Many discerning travelers who return each year to revel in the unique Mexican retreat have fallen in love with not only the resort, but also the mission to help the surrounding community with this under-the-radar school project. Some notable donor names that adorn the school’s entrance include longtime visitors to the resort town of Rosewood Mayakoba, such as PGA Tour player Matt Kuchar and Peloton instructor Ally Love and her husband Andrew Haynes.
Thirty-five of Rosewood Mayakoba’s employees serve as “Padrinos” and sponsor a child’s tuition to attend K’iin Beh each year, often with a long-term commitment to sponsor the child throughout their university years.
Scott has big dreams for this mission and it doesn’t stop at the small community of Cristo Rey. Construction of a new high school is already underway to expand the school campus. The team is working to build another K’iin Beh school in Cancun, where there is also an urgent need for quality education options. A program is also in the works to support graduates by giving them access to colleges or trade schools after leaving K’iin Beh schools..
“It’s important that we are humble enough to understand that each community has different needs and we show that nuance and respect to its people,” says Scott.
Scott believes the growth opportunities for these K’iin Beh schools are endless. Rosewood is set to launch its new resort in Mandarina in 2025 and Scott is already thinking about the needs the small community near Puerto Vallarta might have, whether it’s education, healthcare or something else. .
The Rosewood Passion Project
The school is not a charity box to be verified by a luxury hotel brand, but rather a passion project of a close-knit group of colleagues. While it’s common for resorts to participate in philanthropic efforts, it’s rare for hotel employees to independently support a charitable endeavor like these schools.
Scott runs the station with the same mindset. The hotel prides itself on “humble luxury” trying to create more of a symbiotic relationship between guests and employees.
“We take care of you all day, but then share a drink with you at the end of the day,” says Scott. This is exemplified by the resort’s weekly Ceiba dinner, family-style meals in the hotel garden where many staff members are scattered around tables, eating with resort guests.
“It’s about making choices to do well for yourself and others, starting with making small positive differences in the community,” says Scott. “This Alegria (Spanish for Happiness) will naturally transcend the customer experience.”