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Mehdi Rheljari
Kasiiya Papagayo

TOMO Hotelier

What do you consider your team’s greatest achievement?
Our operational team are mostly recruited from the local villages and communities. I never fail to be amazed by the passion of our team about Costa Rica and how quickly new members adapt to the exacting needs of our guests.

What do you most value in a hotel for your own holidays?
Calmness, discretion and somewhere spectacular to enjoy a cold beer.

What is one place nearby that every one of your guests should discover?
Santa Teresa. It's a small village with a totally different vibe to Papagayo where the excellent surf attracts people from all over the world. It's a very special place where all cultures are united by the wave and sunset.

What is your dream journey?
I'd love to return to Namibia one day. I spent entire days in silent awe when I was last there; the wildlife and scenary is just breathtaking.

What local dish do you never tire of eating?
Chicken and rice, it's my new spaghetti Bolognese.

What motivated you to become a hotelier?
For someone like me, holidays are the most important time of the year. I work across multiple industries and time zones so finding time to get away from it all is vital. Guests trust us to take care of them during this important time and this inspires me to do the very best job possible to repay that trust. I believe that being a hotelier is more than just accommodating guests, it's about creating unique experiences that remove people from their everyday life; we aim to give our guests an opportunity to reconnect with nature and find their own pace.

What was your greatest extravagance in creating your hotel?
Where do I start? The whole thing is a bit of an extravagance - we have just seven rooms within a 123-acre estate! I guess my greatest extravagance is the pace at which we develop Kasiiya. We grow organically to preserve the unique experience of being alone with nature. Our tented suites are designed by an internationally-acclaimed architect and have won countless architectural awards; we aim for zero environmental impact in everything we do so that means we can't use concrete or chop down trees when we develop. You could dismantle Kasiiya within a couple of days and never know we were here - I'm reliably assured by my accountant that building hotels in this way is extravagant!

Where do you feel happiest on your property?
It’s a moment more than a place: just before sunrise when the light first appears low across the jungle. I always find myself transfixed, recharged, even nurtured and ready for the day ahead.

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