Honesty: In today’s world of many uncertainties, I think the best we can do is to be honest with people. I often experience that when guests ask me questions and I answer those in an honest and direct way they appreciate it much more than anything else. They know that our team has enough respect for them to grant them honesty on all aspects of their holiday, and this is what many are looking for nowadays.

As part of my series about “How To Create A Travel Experience That Keeps People Coming Back For More”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alina Deutsch.

Alina Deutsch, the General Manager of Cape of Senses on Lake Garda in Italy, started working in hospitality at an early age during her summer holidays and immediately fell in love with the business. Over the years, Alina has gathered experience in the luxury hotel and restaurant management fields, having managed a three-Michelin starred chef, one restaurant opening, and two hotel openings. Today, she feels more aligned and truer to herself than ever, connecting her passion for the creation of a home away from home for her guests and her desire to “travel” internationally by welcoming travelers from all over the world.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

From the stories my mother tells me, it seems as if I’ve simply always known. She tells me this story from when I was around 10 years old. I was standing in our kitchen telling her that I wanted to be a Hotel Manager in the Maldives when I grew up. Fast forward, and, while I’m not in the Maldives, I wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

For me, the most interesting things that happen on my job are the encounters I have with all kinds of different people. These interactions allow me to build a large international network.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

In the beginning of my career, I once welcomed a VIP guest and treated him accordingly, but it turned out that I got the wrong person! The guest finally told me that he was not who I thought he was, but that he enjoyed my warm welcome and company and therefore he let me think he was the VIP guest. What I have learned from this experience is to always prepare beforehand and to always double check the information I get.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

From a young age, I have always been very conflicted between what I “should” do and what I would love to do. In addition, when I was younger, I spent several years with severe health issues that made me doubt any kind of career path I would have wanted. Fortunately, I have been lucky to have had one person who always — no matter what — knew that I could make it in whatever I chose to put my mind to. In the end, I think that sometimes you just need that one person who believes so fiercely in you that you start believing in yourself too. That support coming from one person can sometimes be all you need to start focusing on your goals and working hard to reach them.

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

At Cape of Senses, we are a 5-star hotel and a member of Small Luxury Hotels, so we operate in the luxury segment. Of course, this comes with a very high level of service and standards which, for us, is a total must at any given time in the luxury industry. This is why we ask ourselves what else “luxury” means today. As per the definition, luxury can be interpreted as something you are missing under “normal” circumstances or that you can’t afford. For a lot of people today, especially with our target group’s spending potential, this is usually in addition to material things: i.e., space and time — the space surrounding you in nature, wide views, etc. Here at Cape of Senses, our guests can enjoy as much space as they’d like in untouched surroundings, connected with nature in our big garden and in our very spacious facilities. Even when the property is 100% full, our guests can always find their privacy. Time is what we have less of each day, so coming to Cape of Senses is intended to build upon a concept where travelers take the time for themselves, and to connect to their values and true wellbeing. To guarantee this, we typically work with a minimum stay of 3 nights.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation and how do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

Being a new hotel that is looking to establish ourselves on the market, working with a minimum stay of 3 nights is a challenge. Working with 3 nights rules out short weekend trips and gives us a smaller circle of guests. Juggling between sales and the needed occupancy during a property launch, along with the wish to stay true to our concept and values that go against “fast” travel, can be difficult in this initial phase. However, I am 100% convinced that once we are well established, guests will choose to visit Cape of Senses exactly for this reason.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share a few examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

I think we can observe quite well how resilient people are and how quickly they can forget/bounce back from terrible things that happen in the world. I don’t think there has remained a lot of resistance to any kind of travel due to personal fear of COVID or illness. On a daily basis, I am not encountering people asking about health safety measures. What I think has changed instead are booking timelines. I think that COVID changed the planning behavior of travelers, they got used to booking last minute because they could never be sure what might come next. This gave people a new perspective on when and how they could plan and book their holidays, leaving them without any payment responsibilities for longer periods of time. This is something I observe regularly.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

Working in hotel management means being in constant contact with people. Of course, this is a part of my job that I love very much, but it is also the reason why during my personal holidays I need to be in a place with total tranquility and as few people as possible. Therefore, I always choose destinations that are not well known, and I always travel off season. In addition, I typically choose small properties/hotels wherever I go. Last but not least, I always choose destinations and places where I can connect to nature and enjoy good food, whether this is sunbathing on a beautiful beach or ski touring in the mountains.

Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.

Definitely! My job requires a lot of sacrifices. I invest a lot of time to be physically present as much as possible, especially since we just opened 6 months ago. Of course, this means not having a lot of time for my family and friends or myself. Therefore, anytime I get to travel I really try to focus on connecting with my loved ones and on investing time in selfcare: relaxing, moving, and nourishing my body the right way.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a travel experience that keeps bringing people back for more? Please share a story or an example for each.

Honesty: In today’s world of many uncertainties, I think the best we can do is to be honest with people. I often experience that when guests ask me questions and I answer those in an honest and direct way they appreciate it much more than anything else. They know that our team has enough respect for them to grant them honesty on all aspects of their holiday, and this is what many are looking for nowadays.

Personal encounters: Over time, guests might forget about the infrastructure and the services, but they will most likely not forget how they felt during their stay at Cape of Senses. People remember how others make them feel and therefore the quality of our encounters with guests is extremely important to us. We want our guests to feel that we love taking care of their wellbeing and all details of their holiday. This creates bonds which make them come back.

Authentic connection to the area: There are wonderful luxury hotels and beautiful places all over the world. We always try to represent our region in the best possible way and organize authentic experiences that connect our guests to our surroundings. For example, we organize visits to the local olive oil mill that supplies the olive oil for our restaurants. Our guests love seeing where the olive oil they are tasting during their meals at Cape of Senses comes from and how it is produced.

Wonder/interest: By organizing special authentic experiences, we try to create interest in the region and show our guests how much there is to be explored here. Given the variety of possibilities from sports, culture, nature, city, culinary, mountains, and the lake, our guests keep asking for more and begin planning what to explore when they come back next.

Wellbeing: At Cape of Senses, we talk about the “Five Senses of Wellbeing.” Travelers can enjoy and experience the property through all five of their senses, which are being satisfied to reach true, honest, and authentic wellbeing on a subconscious level.

Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?

My success led me to a position where today I manage a team of 70 people on average, so I try to use my success in my direct work with people and the leadership opportunities I have.

I put a lot of importance and effort into the wellbeing of my team members. I want to create a place where young people feel happy to come to work every day, where they feel that their opinion matters and that they are the most important part of the project. I can manage the best and most beautiful hotel in the world, but without the right people I would go simply nowhere. This is why I try to pass on to my team the passion, commitment, and love I have for this project every step of the way. Of course, I know that sometimes I just need to make quick decisions, but wherever it is even slightly possible to include some or many of my team members in a decision, I do so. I ask them for their opinions, I value them, and I take them into consideration. Whenever possible, I try to take the best course of action not only for the hotel, but also for the team. My personal KPI is to keep people interested. My success depends on the success of my team and if by including them and keeping them interested in the development of the project, they feel aligned, connected, and maybe even fall in love with it as much as I have — that’s exactly what will move the hotel from performing, to having success, to excelling in the future.

I also take the time, almost every day, to have at least an hour-long meeting with my department heads, adding to all the time I spend face to face with their team members — I have an open-door policy. I think by trying to do my best here at Cape of Senses, we are fostering a company culture that is for the good of the team.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

As a young woman in a General Manager position, I would start something that helps women on their career paths. I had to work twice as hard as my male peers, I had to prove myself twice as often, and I still sometimes need to think twice as hard to find the right way to communicate in order to be heard, understood, taken into consideration, not considered too bossy, too girly, or too ambitious. Everything coming from a woman is “heard” and listened to in a different way compared to men, and we are rarely evaluated based solely upon our experience or merit.

I think being in my position comes with a lot of responsibility being, hopefully, a role model for young women in the industry. I just want them to have the possibility to be fairly evaluated based on merit and their achievements.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Please look for @capeofsenses on Instagram.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.