Guatemala (Antigua Guatemala)
This story starts with a pair of shoes and ends with a hotel chain that empowers women at risk of social exclusion. Welcome to the Good Hotels.
Dutch Marten Dresen was visiting Guatemala when he met Mirna, a girl so poor that she couldn’t afford to buy a pair of shoes. After talking to her, he gave her a new pair of Converse and decided that it wouldn’t stop there — in 2007, Marten founded the NGO Niños de Guatemala to help vulnerable kids like Mirna.
After opening three schools between 2009 and 2012, Marten came up with a luminous idea to support his education projects: the first Good Hotel. Now, the profit for nonprofit hotel chain employs single mothers and graduates from the Niños de Guatemala projects to then reinvest in the schools.
The first hotel was opened in UNESCO World Heritage Site Antigua. The original team was made of single, out-of-work mothers who got the chance to leave behind analphabetism and unemployment and secure a safe space for their children to grow up.
Good Hotel guests not only check in for the hospitality but also for a good cause. Marten says:
“It’s not about having walls decorated with freshly cut roses, but it’s about the ability to really connect and get to know the destination – pure designs, honest service and local collaborations.”
Now in London and Amsterdam too, all Good Hotels collaborate with local NGOs and educational institutions and have their own hospitality training programme for vulnerable people. Trainees also receive assistance as they enter the job market, getting a foot into the door to a future of economical independence.
All Good Hotels activities generate profit, but the business model isn’t focused on dividends. Proceeds are reinvested directly into Niños de Guatemala, which now offers quality education to over 600 low-income kids. Only local small and family businesses that create artisanal and sustainable products are chosen as Good Hotels suppliers. Moreover, guests and visitors can book a tour with NDG Tours, a social enterprise that donates 100% of proceeds to the NGO.
The latest Good Hotel to open was in Guatemala City, the place where Mirna inspired Marten all those years ago.
AtlasAction: Sleep at one (or all!) of the Good Hotels or become a volunteer with Niños de Guatemala.
Marten Dresen, CEO Good Hotel Group
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