Many suns ago, somewhere in Colorado, avid divers Patrick and Nancy Artis, came across an issue of the USA Today newspaper where Hamanasi was being featured in that week’s travel section. In it was a picture of the pool overlooking the beach. Pat would take that picture and add it to his bulletin board. Four to five years would go by before that picture would be revisited, as it seemed time kept getting in the way of a good Hamanasi vacation!
But no diver can escape the allure of Belize’s waters for too long once the thought has been planted in the subconscious. So one day in 2007, with the stars aligned right, Pat and Nancy once again found themselves in a foreign country, appeasing their wanderlust whilst looking for a patch of green that was as familiar as home. All while having high expectations that the diving would remain true to the advertisements of the stories told by those who came before them. Yes, they had landed in Belize and arrived to that place they knew only as a picture on their bulletin board, Hamanasi.
Having vacationed in various other countries before, such as Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Mexico, Pat and Nancy had a pretty good idea of what service excellence should look and feel like. Now, did they find it at Hamanasi on that first trip eleven years ago? We say they did. They found it eleven times over; as that’s the number of times they have been back to visit Hamanasi between 2007 and 2018. Yes, that’s 11 times! No need to wipe your screen, that number is not a typo!
But why keep coming back to the same place? As Pat and Nancy would tell you, it’s only the same place if nothing changes, and Hamanasi has grown to become better each time they have visited. As Pat puts it, “A lot of destinations will rest on their laurels. It’s very clear here that every year the objective is to get better.” They have seen the vision of the resort manifest into a tangible reality without risking the commitment to quality. If asked, they will tell you about the amenities that have been strategically developed, but not as a reactive idea, rather as a way to accentuate what was already here. That is an appreciation for the natural environment, which Hamanasi fostered in them.
There is a popular restaurant brand with the slogan, “When You’re Here, You’re Family”. Hamanasi should have trademarked that slogan first. Belizeans are a friendly bunch. They will let you into their homes first and ask questions later! Pat and Nancy tell us how they have, “become part of people’s families… even though that is something not advertised on the brochures!” We call this the cherry on the cake!
Pat and Nancy have grown to know staff on a first name basis, and perhaps could tell you why after ten years, the same staff are still at Hamanasi, growing and changing along with the resort without losing sight of a common vision. As they noted the first time and keep noting still, the staff’s wiliness to learn more and yet share the knowledge of Belize is a big plus. Pat observed that being part of the Hamanasi team, “is a pride that permeates through all the staff. This makes it easy to come back to because it’s…not just an act.”
In 2018 at 18 years old, Hamanasi moves into its final teenage years. As we look beyond to adulthood we are grateful to Pat and Nancy for being there for more than half our lifetime, like godparents if you will. More so, we are grateful for all of those who have chosen to visit once or more than once. We are thankful for those who, like Pat and Nancy, found with Hamanasi a patch of green that was as familiar as home.