Kicking off last week, the BBC’s new series Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby is giving us a glimpse into some of the most unique and spectacular hotels around the world. Airing on Mondays BBC2 at 9pm, the first episode saw hosts Monica Galetti and Giles Coren introduced to the Marina Bay Sands, home to the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool and a 9,500-strong team of staff. This week, the programme took us to Ecuador, to our beloved Mashpi Lodge, where we saw Giles and Monica join hotel staff and resident naturalists to explore the magical world of the Mashpi Biodiversity Reserve.
The episode saw Monica Galetti put her nerves to the test on board Mashpi’s canopy gondola, the Dragonfly (click here), while Giles caught up with Mashpi’s community leader, José Napa, to hear the inspiring story of how his new life at Mashpi came to be (click here).
We caught up with Mashpi Lodge’s operations manager, Marc Bery, to get the low down on Life Behind the Lens and what it was like having the BBC team descend on this remote 22-room eco-chic jungle lodge.
What was it like having the BBC film crew at the hotel?
It was the most incredible experience. We were all so excited and nervous at the same time because we wanted to give the best possible impression and remain natural in front of the cameras so we could truly transmit what Mashpi is all about.
Were Giles and Monica good guests? Did they help out in the kitchen?
Monica and Giles were excellent guests! They always had lots of questions and a good sense of humour even though they had been on the road filming for a long time. Monica was very interested in the kitchen and the typical Ecuadorian ingredients, whilst Giles put his efforts into trying all the different dishes!
Did having such an inquisitive bunch as the BBC at the hotel teach you anything about Mashpi (we know they asked a lot of questions!)?
The BBC team was impeccably professional – as one would expect! They were never tired or lazy, never happy simply with one take and always looking for the very best stories and angles to showcase what they were experiencing to their viewers. They worked in exactly the same way as we do – with lots of passion. It wasn’t a case of learning anything new as such, but the whole experience reaffirmed our pride for this very special hotel, and reminded us all why we love our jobs so much.
How did the guests react to having the film crew there? And the staff?
The guests were very curious about what was going on – even though most had been forewarned about the filming as we had to request their permission to appear on screen. There was a great sense of excitement of being in such a unique place and the staff were feeling both proud and nervous – proud because their hotel was being recognised internationally and nervous for being the focus of all the attention for the first time.
What were the highlights of the whole experience for you?
The highlights for me were when they told us that Mashpi had been chosen as one of the final six hotels to appear on the series. The BBC’s rigorous vetting process made it all the more special to have made the final cut. Another highlight was when the filming finished and we felt we had really demonstrated why Mashpi deserved to have been selected. There were many stressful moments, as we were managing a hotel and our first priority was to ensure that the guest experience was not impacted on in any way, but at the same time we were attending to the needs of the BBC team and helping them to capture the magic of Mashpi on camera, so there were a lot of balls to juggle – especially for a small hotel of just 22 rooms! But every moment was worth it and now we just can’t wait for the episode to air. We hope it inspires many more people to come and visit us in Ecuador!
The second episode of Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby is currently available on BBC iPlayer, and will air again on Saturday 8th April at 5.30pm on BBC2.