The views from this quiet rolling hillside at Rancho La Puerta look out across the chaparral and trees toward Mount Kuchumaa to the north. A bird is soaring overhead, and like me, warming in the sunlight. Karla Cabriada and I walk to the top of the hill. She points out the property features and the layout of this developing community of new houses, vineyards, and well-being. Karla is the Sales Director for The Residences and answered a few questions as she showed me around.
Where are you from?
I grew up in a southern part of Mexico City. It was crazy, fun, diverse, and chaotic. Very different than my life now. I lived in Australia for ten years, working in the more corporate side of hospitality, accounts, banking, group sales, conventions, and I lived in Cabo. I also love to travel for fun.
You’ve been here about a year. What were your expectations coming to The Ranch and The Residences?
Like I said, I came from the corporate side of hospitality in accounts and banking, and the manners and the proper business attire are very different. There were specific demands on what you could wear, what colors were appropriate. Any color as long as it was black or gray, as the saying goes. No navy blue.
“They,” say the first impression has to be good. So, when I came to The Ranch, I didn’t think I was dressing up. I just wore what I’ve been taught and would wear to previous jobs.
The morning before my interview, I went to the hairdresser for a nice sleek blow-dry. I was feeling good. My black suede knee-high Prada boots matched my black business suit, which goes along with my jewelry. I arrived with that slick corporate look. I parked in the lot here and walked to the main building, and it was tough walking in those heels. The brick walkways are not high heel friendly.
When I met Hervé (General Manager of Rancho La Puerta), he showed me around. All I could hear were my heels as I walked; click-clack, click-clack on the walkways. I’m sure guests here saw me and said, what’s wrong with this picture.
Today, instead of shopping for Jimmy Choo or Luis Vuitton I’m wearing hiking shoes and a comfortable sweater with jeans. I love it. If you had asked any of my friends if they could have predicted this for me, there’s no way.
Tell me about The Residences. What is this thing The Ranch is creating?
It’s 80 years of The Ranch’s reputation and building on that history, soul, and heart for a unique experience. I’ve never seen anything like this. We are building homes that people have been dreaming of and waiting for. It’s a remarkable development. You have the 80-year history of The Ranch as one of the top Destination Spas in the world and the expertise and care of Grupo Espiritu. Both companies do things correctly with their heart and soul. I’m convinced it’s a perfect combination.
You mention Grupo Espiritu. Who are they?
They’re our partners in The Residences. They have an excellent reputation and experience building healthy communities that are focused on wellness and people. They build with integrity to the land and spiritual needs of the people. It’s a perfect combination.
You have an extensive background in the hospitality industry globally. What makes Rancho La Puerta special?
I’ve been to many resorts, and this is clearly unique. It’s not just a quick stay, and you’re gone. It’s a community. People make lifetime friends here. It was started by a family, as you know, the Szekely family. It has the feel of a big family community. Some people book their weeks specifically to be with friends they’ve met here. They develop lifetime friendships. It’s more than just a business you drop into and relax and leave and then have a couple of photos and a memory of a trip.
The leadership of the Ranch thinks of more than just the numbers and figures or revenue. People have put their hearts and souls into The Ranch and what they do. They really believe in what they do. There’s so much respect for health and wellness that transcends current trends. Here it is a combination of both, and you can feel it in the warmth of the people.
I just got off the phone with a woman who bought a Casita. We started conversations over five months ago. Not only did she buy a Casitas, but she’s also going to become a grandmother very soon. She was telling me her grandchild will be the third generation to experience the Ranch. She met with the architect and talked about the mountain views and some of the options she can have built, and how they will maintain the boulders and landscape’s integrity. In the end, she thanked me for helping her dream happen. I love that. Every person I’ve met has a fantastic story to tell, and I get to be a part of it. I’m very blessed.
How Should people interested in The Residences get a hold of you?
I have an office here at The Ranch, but the first step is to go to the Residences website and fill out the basic questionnaire. That way, I know how I can help. If they’re here at The Ranch, already as a guest, then the concierge can guide them to my office.