When did Paredón Surf House open and what was the inspiration behind the project?
Paredon Surf House was the dream house of two surfers, James and Christoph, who had been coming to Paredon for the excellent surf for years. In 2008 they began building the surf house, which was soon filled by all of their friends. Then, in 2010 they decided to open their weekend retreat as a surf camp and guest house, not only for surfers but for anyone searching for an alternative to the crowded tourist beaches of Guatemala. As their vision for their surf hotel grew, they added two private Beachfront Bungalows, a pool, a rustic gourmet menu, and a variety of activities. In June 2010, they opened the hotel to the public to rave reviews.
What makes your business different?
The Surf House at El Paredón is a relaxing and welcoming beach house and beach hotel located in the small fishing village of El Paredón, near Sipacate in Guatemala. A tranquil surfing oasis conveniently located 2 hours from Guatemala City and Antigua, people come to El Paredón to escape the hustle and bustle of Guatemala’s more popular and over-crowed beaches.
What has been the most rewarding part of opening Paredón Surf House?
We believe strongly in the community of El Paredon and the important role we play in it to support the local economy. From offering jobs to locals and buying locally whenever possible, to educating the community about recycling and waste management, to things as simple as sponsoring our local football team with uniforms, we’re always looking for ways to be active and supportive for the community.
What has been your biggest challenge and how have you overcome this?
Running a hotel in a small town in the middle of nowhere can make building the perfect team very difficult. It took time and effort to find employees who bought into our way of doing things (professionalism, guest experience etc.).
What's next for Paredón Surf House?
Since El Paredon Beach is becoming an increasingly popular spot for visitors, we are building a new bungalow shortly. And, like always, we're continuing to educate our employees - now with English lessons!
How has Tab helped Paredón Surf House?
Many travellers in Guatemala don’t want to carry cash, those ones can come here now because they can pay with their cards!
Why is Guatemala a great place to visit?
Because it has everything anybody could want!! History, all kinds of terrain (forest/jungle, beaches)… and the most friendly, nice, polite and amazing people in the world!
Are there any trends / changes that you've noticed in tourism?
Absolutely - Guatemala is definitely growing as a tourist destination. The country's more turbulent past is increasingly being forgotten and the people are now looking forward to the future!
What would your advice be for anyone thinking about starting their own hotel / beach house?
Be professional. Opening a hotel/hostel is not just about running a 24/7 business - it's about making people happy and enabling them to have an unforgettable experience. We view this as a huge responsibility and also the best job in the world because what's more rewarding than making people happy?!
Are there any websites or articles that you would recommend to other new hotel owners?
Firstly, you should work on your business acumen. This might mean studying at university or at least doing some very thorough research! Secondly, TRAVEL! Be a guest at many, many hotels, hostels and B&Bs. Learn to love the world and all its people, understand that all people are different and find your own niche!
Find Paredón Surf House at www.paredonsurf.com/