In this edition of Alumni Views we are excited to bring you the story of two Les Roches Alumni, Adelina Balbuena and Thomas Caparo, who manage the quaint boutique Hotel Abaco in Altea, Spain (situated on the picturesque Costa Blanca in Alicante).
Adelina Balbuena graduated from Les Roches Marbella in 2001 with a Diploma in Hotel Management and went on to complete her BBA at Les Roches Switzerland a year later. This is where she met her husband Thomas, who also completed his BBA in International Hotel Management in 2002.
After working several years and building experience in a number of the hospitality industry’s leading hotels around the world (including Ritz-Carlton’s Arts Barcelona and Jumeirah’s Al Qasr at Madinat in Dubai just to name a few), Adelina and Thomas decided it was time to take on a new challenge so they set out to manage Thomas’ family owned boutique hotel in Altea. Since Adelina is Spanish and Thomas grew up in Palma de Mallorca, they had little trouble making the transition from large five-star business hotels to a smaller family run property on the Mediterranean coast. Since early 2011 they have dedicated themselves to making Hotel Abaco a reference in the trendy and popular boutique sector.
Both of them always had the dream of running a hotel and when the opportunity came along to take over the management of this long running six room property in the Costa Blanca community of Altea, they seized the moment.
Today, they have turned this former 18th century bread bakery into a successful boutique hotel that is currently given a number one ranking by Tripadvisor and 9.5 out of 10 from Booking.com. This is a significant achievement considering that just two short years ago, Hotel Abaco had a meager #4 Tripadvisor rank and an 8.2 on Booking.com.
Part of the success comes from Abaco’s six uniquely decorated suites. It is also conveniently located in the town’s center and only a few short steps to the beach. However, from what Adelina and Thomas tell us, the real secret to the success of Hotel Abaco rests in their continued attention to detail, quality, and most importantly, their desire to guarantee customer satisfaction.
We asked Adelina how her training at Les Roches Marbella helped them to achieve their dream of operating a hotel and her answer was clear: “Firstly, Les Roches has provided us with a vast amount of knowledge of the hospitality industry, highlighted by the greatness of learning not only from books and teachers’ knowledge but also from a practical point of view. It has also shown us a lot of discipline and respect for hard work. Everyone, independent of their industry, should learn more about the basics of their chosen profession and the business world at large. What we learned at Les Roches has set the standard for everything we do or we decide to be in the business world.”
She goes on to comment on her experience with Hotel Abaco, “When you put a lot of hard work into something and get recognized in simple ways, it give us a boost of energy to continue doing what we love doing. We love making people happy and being the best hosts to ensure our customers return again and again. We are very grateful to be working in an industry we are passionate about. It is the best way to feel satisfied in life and be successful.”
Adelina closed by saying, “Above all, Thomas and I would like to thank Les Roches for acting as cupid, we wouldn’t have met otherwise. Eleven years later we are living our dream and we now have a 7 month old baby boy called Tristan who is a big bundle of joy and life!”