General Manager, Grand Velas Los Cabos
Los Cabos is a multicultural destination that attracts talented people from all over the world, united by a singular passion that reflects in their work. Interviewing Andreas Schmidt, manager of Grand Velas Los Cabos, was a real pleasure and an enriching experience.
Andreas Schmidt began his career in hospitality at the age of 17 as a chef at a hotel in La Selva Negra, Germany. He continued as a specialty chef until serving as a food and beverage manager in several restaurants and luxury hotels, including the Four Seasons and World Trade Center. At age 24, he was presented with an opportunity to travel. Off he went to New York, Venezuela, Cancun and now, Los Cabos.
“My entire career has been a constant search for excellence, not only in the hotels where I have worked but within myself. Joining the Grand Velas team was an opportunity I did not have to think twice about. As a hotelier, I recognized that it is the ultra-luxury brand in Mexico. I packed my bags and traveled from peninsula to peninsula, and to my surprise, I found the paradise in Los Cabos! The only thing I questioned was why it took me so long to come here.”
How do you define luxury?
I think luxury involves many elements and the combination of each adds up to luxury. For me, space is a necessity. You have to have wide-open spaces. That stands out in various areas of this hotel. We have rooms that are more than 1000 square feet, including our restaurants with their high ceilings, the spa and the lobby.
Another element is the attention to details. From the quality of the pillows to the pieces that decorate the hotel. The Mexican artist Alejandro Colunga meticulously chooses each work of art for each location.
The service should also exceed the expectations of the guests. I always say the quality of the service must get a “Wow!” from the customer. The experience becomes a heartfelt feeling that stays forever.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Definitely, my dad who taught me since I was little to be independent and self-sufficient. He gave me direction and helped me learn how to do things, but he never did them for me and I appreciated it.
I also learned from him, that not all businesses always do well. I think that has been one of my most important lessons. We all fall. What makes us different is how we get back up.
Today, my son is also inspired by what he does, yet he sees life in a very different way from me.
What has been the biggest challenge when facing cultural changes?
I have learned the best of different cultures, and I am very, very grateful for this life. Mexican people with their warmth, with their customs, welcomed me whole-heartedly. It is such a noble, kind culture, it is a true pleasure to be here. That is why I have been in Mexico for 22 years and feel as if I am from here.
Each place offers just about everything you could want. All you have to do is embrace it, accept it, have the ability to see it, live it and be part of it. Today, my favorite place is Los Cabos and I hope to spend many more years here. If one day I go somewhere else, that will probably be my new favorite. We make places not the other way around.
How do you assemble your work team?
How I structure the team is a very difficult question. The team is only as strong as its weakest element. It is about forming a team not only with extraordinary professionals but also with extraordinary humans who work together towards a common goal.
There are people who have more experience and others who have a lot more of the right attitude. As a result, we complement each other in our drive for continuous improvement. The bar is set very high at Grand Velas Los Cabos.
A major goal of mine is to develop our teams and their members, if they grow so will the quality of our Resort.
What is the identity of Grand Velas?
Grand Velas is really an ultra-luxury hotel. The unique architectural details establish the brand throughout different destinations of Mexico. Elias Elias Architects oversaw the entire project. They are 100 percent Mexican. Grand Velas has always been careful to include Mexican details. When combined with luxury, it helps preserve the essence of the experience.
Each gourmet restaurant is headed by a specialty chef that is French or Italian. Chef Sidney Schutte has received two Michelin stars and heads Cocina de Autor.
In addition, with 307 rooms and 800 employees, there is an average of three or four employees to every guest, depending on the occupancy rate. That truly makes service a unique luxury experience here in Los Cabos.
Once you book your room, you can expect All Luxury!