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Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla

  • Barnes Bay, P.O. Box 8028, West End, AI-2640, Anguilla
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Carlos Villacanas

Director of Food and Beverage
“I’m always looking for ways to create experiences that guests haven’t had before. Every day is about what else can I do to make things different?”

 

Four Seasons Tenure

  • Since 2018
  • First Four Seasons Position: Current

Employment History

  • Saadiyat Island Rotana, Abu Dhabi; Fairmont, United Arab Emirates; Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi; Hyatt Regency-The Churchill, London; Grand Hyatt, Santiago de Chile; Grand Hyatt, DFW, Texas

Birthplace

  • Madrid, Spain

Education

  • Bachelor’s Degree, Tourism and Business Administration, Universidad San -CEU, Madrid, Spain; Masters of Business Administration, International Hotel and Tourism Management, César Ritz Colleges, Switzerland

Languages Spoken

  • Spanish, English

Like the waves shifting sand on the beach at Meads Bay, Carlos Villacanas is constantly churning up change as Director of Food and Beverage at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla. It’s as much about satisfying his own passions as about taking the guest experience to new places, he says. “I’m always looking for ways to create experiences that guests haven’t had before. Every day is about what else can I do to make things different? How can we evolve? I love enhancing the product and rather not have routines and repetitiveness.”

Take, for instance, how Villacanas refashioned the breakfast buffet served daily at Coba, the signature dining experience set atop a bluff overlooking the sea. The spread was perfectly wonderful when he arrived in late 2018. “First-class all the way – this is Four Seasons after all,” he remembers. “But like anything, it could become routine.” So Villacanas reshaped it into a “live buffet” with cooks slicing all kind of fresh fruits upon request, a station of pastries pulled fresh from a guest-facing oven, a special Johnny cake station providing a glimpse and taste of local culinary culture, and more.

“It was really just about freshening things up, but it gave us opportunity to create different touch points so guests will always find something new.”

There have been other evolutions. One day while driving around Anguilla, Villacanas spotted a sign pointing to “Vinty’s Veggies” and turned onto a small road to investigate. There he discovered a husband and wife selling produce and spices from a beautiful garden. “I told them I really believe in freshness, and that I wanted to create a garden at the resort, and I would love to bring their expertise to the Four Seasons.” Villacanas tapped the pair to plot out a 150-square-metre “show garden” for guests to explore onsite, as well as a “production garden” behind the hotel for the culinary team. “It’s real hands-on for everyone: Fresh ingredients for the menus and support for the local community. Guests will enjoy it as part of their culinary experiences and can visit it to observe the freshness of our product.”

Villacanas has plenty of help in his evolutions. The F&B team counts 200-plus, 95 per cent hailing from the island. “They’re just lovely,” he says of the locals he works with, marvelling at their character and desire to develop for advancement, while contrasting their “island time” sense of pacing to what he experienced over five years working at hotels in United Arab Emirates. “The Middle East can be very demanding. I remember being a bit shocked at the pace of things when I arrived here. It was a good way for me to see life from a different angle.

Villacanas doesn’t believe much in hierarchy, preferring work closely with his team in the field and very approachable at all times. “I’m with people here for 80% of my day, so why not ring positivity into everyone’s day?”

Travelling and enjoying different food and cultures, is something he learned early from his parents. Growing up in Madrid, Villacanas was gifted at mathematics, but his father, a physicist, and his mother, a social worker, saw through his personality and encouraged him to try tourism. He did, and he liked it, traveling on his own throughout Europe and earning an MBA in international hotel and tourism management in Switzerland. “I had my eye on working in hotel restaurants the whole way through. There is always so much going on; I like doing 20 things at once.”

Not surprisingly, Villacanas also likes “my food and my drinks and my service, and any new beer or interesting cocktail I see I’m going to try.” New foods are always a focus when he travels, he says, whether it’s across Anguilla or with his wife to destinations far and wide. “We’re both very adventurous at the table, and that’s a good thing.”