Belizean Women in Lead 2023: A Conversation With Mrs. Paulita Bedran of San Ignacio Resort Hotel

by Khaila Gentle
Our first feature for Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle’s Belizean Women in Lead 2023 series is Mrs. Paulita Bedran, the Owner and General Manager at San Ignacio Resort Hotel. 

The four Bedran sisters at San Ignacio Resort Hotel’s 40th Anniversary.

Mrs. Paulita Bedran Figueroa is one fourth of the dynamic team of women that have contributed to making the San Ignacio Resort Hotel what it is today. The Bedran Sisters, Mrs. Mariam B. Roberson, Mrs. Paulita B Figueroa, Mrs. Terry B. Carter, and Mrs. Nazle B. Kuylen, have all played a part in the growth the place affectionately known as the “only jungle in town”. Today, the San Ignacio Resort Hotel is a beacon of hospitality and unique experiences in Belize’s tourism industry.

Through Mrs. Paulita’s role as the General Manager of the resort, she has worn a multitude of hats. And recently, Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle had the opportunity to sit down and speak with her about some of the highlights of fulfilling such an eclectic role.

An Interview with Mrs Paulita Bedran Figueroa

Paulita Mariam san ignacio resort belie

Paulita (R) and Mariam (L) of SIRH accept Hotel of the Year by BTB.

Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle: As the Owner and General Manager of San Ignacio Resort Hotel, what does a day in the life of Mrs. Paulita look like?

Paulita: It’s busy sometimes. Even as an owner, there are days when nothing else matters and you’re just really busy. On those days when there are so many things to be accomplished, as the leader you have to ensure that it all gets done. But in my opinion, I have the best team in the world. We’ve been building on our team and the good part about it is we have people that have been with us for a long time – as long as seventeen, twenty years. Just this week, we’ve had two people celebrate seven years with us. That’s the good part, I think – that we’re able to build and work like a family.

CC+L: Two years ago, in our first interview, you told us how after one faithful Holy Saturday evening in the 80s, you went from working in accounting to helping your dad out with the hotel. Since then, you’ve certainly worn many hats. Is there any way in which you feel that your womanhood has helped you to succeed in filling such dynamic roles? 

P: It’s all in the details. And we’re good with details. Details matter to us and that’s important. So, if we have to pat ourselves on the back it’s because we understand details. And people do recognize it: the flowers, the cards, the welcoming atmosphere. It just really works.

CC+L: What would you say to any young woman reading this right now that wants to enter the hospitality industry and wants to reach that managerial level, but might feel a bit intimidated or hesitant?

P: Don’t get in the industry if you don’t want to be around people. If you want to be around people, then it happens naturally. It’s rewarding. It’s got lots of challenges, but it’s very rewarding when you enjoy what you do. And because you enjoy what you do, you’ll put a lot of energy and effort into it.

About San Ignacio Resort Hotel 

An award-winning boutique hotel, San Ignacio Resort Hotel sits perched on the hills of San Ignacio. On one side, the hotel overlooks the town. And on the other side, it hugs lush greenery. This duality has earned the hotel the title “the only jungle in town”.

The hotel was opened in 1976. At that time, Escandar Bedran, the founder and the father of the Bedran sisters, wrote “San Ignacio Hotel . . . above all . . .a place for the people of San Ignacio . . ..a spot where local residents could come to relax and have fun at a reasonable price.”

Since that day, the hotel has served as a warm and welcoming place for locals and travelers alike. And that includes the likes of royalty, too. In February 1994, San Ignacio Hotel hosted Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Many years later, in 2022, the hotel would also be the accommodation of choice for the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince William and Princess Katherine.

Photos courtesy of San Ignacio Resort Hotel

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