Marina López, a 2007 alumnus of Les Roches Marbella’s Postgraduate in International Hotel Management, is making her dream of opening her very own hotel a reality with the soon to be inaugurated Finca Villa Juan, located in the Spanish province of Badajoz.
Upon graduating from Les Roches Marbella, Marina took on a position with the five-star Grand Luxe Urban Hotel in Madrid. From there she wanted to gain work experience outside of Spain and with Germany in her sights, she accepted a job with Marriott Hotels in Frankfurt, where she would spend the next three years.
Having gained international experience in the hotel industry, she finally returned to Spain in 2011 and began developing her first entrepreneurial venture, a quaint boutique style hotel located in Spain’s beautiful southwest region of Extremadura. Situated in Ribera del Fresno, Badajoz, this palatial estate was renovated by her family with the intention of one day turning it into a Spanish “casa rural”. After her father’s untimely death a few years ago, Marina set out to fulfill his wish and today Finca Villa Juan is about to open its doors to the public on September 27th.
Finca Villa Juan is a charming boutique hotel designed to cater to the details of its guests. Beautifully decorated with period antiques and showcasing a spacious architectural design that is complete with a sunlit dome leading to the second floor; a stay here will send you back to a time of classic elegance. Although the hotel is located in the middle of the town of Ribera, its thick stone walls, three beautifully manicured Andalusian gardens, and sunlit courtyard provide a country-like ambience that lends itself to intimacy. Not only is Villa Finca Juan designed to offer its guests relaxation and spaciousness, the gardens are also the perfect setting for weddings, communions, celebrations, and business meetings.
Upon learning about Marina’s business venture, we met up with her to get her viewpoints on the hospitality industry and to see how her postgraduate studies at Les Roches Marbella helped her establish Finca Villa Juan. On the future of the hospitality industry, she had this insight to share: “I think the hospitality tourism industry is becoming more and more complicated. For tourists and hotel guests there are many choices available to them and a huge amount of information online. This can make it difficult for some companies of the tourism sector. People know more, are more informed, and not committed to one particular product. They are always looking for better offers and in the future you will hardly find regular clients coming to the same place as people are seek new experiences. The key to Villa Finca Juan’s future success is to always adapt to these changes and always strive to provide a unique, attention-based guest experience.”
Following Marina’s comments on the challenges that the hospitality industry faces, we asked her how her postgraduate studies at Les Roches Marbella prepared her to meet the challenge of opening a hotel? “It gave me a lot of practical experience of how operating a hotel works and important knowledge about how a successful tourism company is supposed to be run. The program was also very interesting in that one of the key projects we undertook involved developing a detailed business plan for a tourism related company. The tools I gained with this project gave me the foundation needed to get Finca Villa Juan off the ground.”
Continuing with our conversation, we asked Ms. López about her future goals beyond opening her own hotel. To begin she said, “At the moment I am fully concentrated on the upcoming grand opening of Finca Villa Juan on the 27th of September. This is going to be an important event with over 200 guests, regional media coverage, an art exhibition, and live Flamenco music by noted guitarist, Juan Carlos Sanchez Suarez. Once the hotel is up and running, perhaps I will begin to look more towards the future as I do have other business goals and I have invested in land for producing olive oil here in Extremadura. I would also like to travel more and to satisfy my more adventurous wild side, perhaps one day I will seek an opportunity in a less developed part of the world to help people of humbler means. However, at the moment I am fully dedicated to making Villa Finca Juan a hotel that our guests will never forget and always return to.
Judging by Marina’s self-determination and ambition, we are sure Finca Villa Juan will be a success. We wish her the best and look forward to her guests’ raving reviews.
For more information on Hotel Finca Villa Juan, please visit http://fincavillajuan.es