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Monica Ortiz: From Humble Beginnings to Hospitality Greatness

Monica Ortiz: From Humble Beginnings to Hospitality Greatness

Monica Ortiz makes history as the first female managing director at Rosewood Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas

Courtesy of Rosewood Baha Mar
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In the sun-drenched paradise of the Bahamas, a new chapter unfolds as Monica Ortiz takes the helm as the first female managing director of the ultra-luxury Rosewood Baha Mar Resort. Her ascent to this prestigious position is a testament to her unwavering dedication, visionary leadership, and a deep-rooted passion for creating unforgettable experiences.

A Dream Realized

“When they offered the job to me, I thought, ‘Oh wow, all of my dreams have come true,’” Ortiz recalls. “This is what I set out to achieve when I began my career in the hotel industry. I wanted a corporate job so that I could help multiple hotels achieve greatness, not just one.”

The $4.2 billion resort development boasts white sand beaches, forty restaurants, bars, and lounges, thirty luxury retailers, an eighteen-hole golf course, and the largest casino in the Caribbean—all of which Ortiz oversees. The ultra-luxury resort not only includes 237 Rosewood guestrooms, suites, and beachfront villas, but also consists of sister properties Grand Hyatt and SLS. Ortiz’s responsibilities are as vast as the crystal-clear waters that embrace the island. Yet, her journey to this pinnacle began with a simple, yet profound, desire.

Cherished Memories, Lasting Impressions

“My most precious and happiest moments are from when I was little and went on vacation with my family,” Ortiz reminisces. “I wanted other people to feel what I felt when I was little. It was the delight of being in a nice hotel with the people I love. That’s been my philosophy—to make people happy and help my team be the best version of themselves.”

Hailing from humble beginnings, the Latina’s father, Pablo Rafael Ortiz, instilled in her the importance of education. Despite financial constraints, she secured a scholarship to attend Universidad La Salle Cancun. There, she immersed herself in the vibrant tourist destination, fueling her passion for the hospitality industry.

Ortiz began her career at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company twenty-two years ago as an intern in their reservations department. She wanted to learn from the best of the best. So, it only made sense for her to begin at the pinnacle of the hospitality industry.

A Thoughtful Leader, A Caring Mentor

Now, Ortiz’s success is not merely measured by her professional achievements but also by her ability to see the bigger picture and prioritize the needs of her team. As a result, the health and well-being of her staff are equally as important to her as her guests, reflecting her belief that work and life are inextricably intertwined.

And that applies for her guests, as well as the team she leads. Ortiz says the pandemic reminded people of the need to be flexible, patient, and intentional. About what? Taking care of the things we have now in order to leave them in a better state for the future.

“We have a responsibility to take care of the place we are in,” Ortiz says. “At Rosewood, we emphasize the importance of creating a sense of place, which cultivates memories that endure a lifetime.”

An Authentic Hospitality Experience

This sense of place philosophy is woven into the fabric of the Rosewood experience. Guests immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of local culture and traditions. From the alebrije—a colorful and whimsical character hand-carved and hand-painted by local Mayan artisans, placed on pillows at Rosewood Mayakoba—to the straw craft decor representing the Bahamian heritage at Baha Mar, Ortiz ensures that every detail pays homage to the surrounding region’s history and people. It’s of paramount importance for her to provide an authentic and enriching experience to guests.

At Baha Mar, the property teams up with the Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation (BREEF), a nongovernmental nonprofit dedicated to the education and conservation of the island’s marine environment. Tours take guests to Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture garden. Proceeds go to benefit BREEF. Additionally, straw craft is a form of livelihood in the Caribbean and represents the Bahamian people’s heritage. The decor throughout the Baha Mar resort utilizes straw craft. As such, every guest room is complete with a bag from local vendor Bahama Handprint for guests to take with them as a keepsake.

“Our guests can go anywhere in the world. So, if they choose us, we have a real opportunity to teach them about the local culture and how beautiful it is,” Ortiz says. “When I leave here, I want people to remember me as someone that inspired them to achieve their dreams.”

Empowering the Next Generation

As the first woman to hold this esteemed position, Ortiz feels a profound responsibility to pave the way for future generations. “Getting here is important, but so is helping the generation after me grow, especially other women,” she asserts.

A portrait shot of Monica Ortiz, managing director of Rosewood Baha Mar resorts, wearing a dark blue suit with gold buttons and a colorful multicolor collar/scarf in the lobby of the resort
Courtesy of Rosewood Baha Mar

Her advice to her younger self resonates with a wisdom born of experience: “Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop meeting new people. Learn to value and respect yourself and your ideas, because you’re doing great. Don’t be like everyone else. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion different from everyone else. Don’t worry about what others think. Hype yourself up, jump, and do it. No one is born with knowledge. It’s okay to make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes, pick yourself up, and keep moving forward.”

As Monica Ortiz continues to shatter glass ceilings and inspire others, her journey serves as a beacon of hope and a testament. To what? The power of perseverance, authenticity, and a deep-rooted commitment to uplifting her guests and the communities she serves.

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