Madison Resort & Spa, Carmelo, Uruguay

As developer, pre-opening manager and President, I was responsible for establishing the original Madison Resort & Spa, now better known as the Unbound Collection by Hyatt.

Uruguay was an unknown destination.

The project

At the time, Carmelo, Uruguay was an unknown destination, so this $60-million project, which involved the creation from scratch of a new 44-suite/bungalow hotel, was an extraordinary undertaking in a location where the only industry was farming.

Distinguishing characteristics

Prior to this project, local staff had never seen a luxury hotel before and therefore required training from zero; for the spa, we brought in specialised trainers from Thailand, and for food & beverage, from Europe. We also created manuals, procedures and policies with previously unknown attention to service. We worked, too, with great in-house architects to create an interior design where the best of Asian and South American style blended seamlessly.

We brought in specialised trainers from Thailand for the spa.

The guest experience

From the initial arrival, by river or small private plane, to the countryside with its oasis-like ambience, to the activities and experiences – cheese-making, winemaking, Asian spa treatments, horseback riding, golf… – guests are welcomed and made comfortable as they discover this country known for the beauty of its farmlands.