Experiences with Sense & Sensibility

Backstory

We began posting here June 15, 2011. La Paz Group started some 15 years earlier in Costa Rica, which you can read about here. In the mid- to late 1990s we worked primarily on Strategy & Development projects for emerging tourism Destinations; then in 1999 we added Resort Development & Management; and all along, unique Conservation initiatives.

We grew, first with the addition of a partner office in France, at the one decade anniversary of our founding; later with a development office in Singapore; and in 2010 the company made a strong commitment to Asia when two founding partners of La Paz Group moved to India and set up shop.

In the year 2000 or so, we started articulating our activities with vocabulary that would accurately reflect our mission to craft experiences with sense (logic, rationality, economic success) and sensibility (being protective of the natural and cultural patrimony, tangible and intangible, that we have been privileged to tend to). We came to call this, simply, entrepreneurial conservation, starting in 2001.

Kerala, India (2010-2017)

La Paz Group started working in 2010 under contract to Muthoot Leisure & Hospitality Services (MLHS). The initial scope of work was to establish a roadmap for MLHS to create a globally recognized brand hospitality brand. By early 2011 the plan was set in motion with a focus on new properties, and a new name that would affiliate all the properties in MLHS’s portfolio.

Raxa Collective was the name chosen by George M. George, Executive Director of MLHS, and Crist & Amie Inman, partners in La Paz Group.

As the owner of properties pioneering sustainable tourism in the Western Ghats and in the Backwaters, for George the name Raxa Collective resonated with his company’s tangible commitments to conservation.  Raxa, derived from the sanskrit word for protector/guardian, reflected the intent; collective reflected the process.

A joint venture named Raxa Collective Pvt. Ltd., equally owned by MLHS and La Paz Group, was incorporated in India in 2011.  This organization’s core purpose was established to map onto La Paz Group’s signature work, entrepreneurial conservation. Raxa Collective’s hospitality businesses were to adhere to this purpose–a group of professionals developing and managing hospitality businesses whose profits would be invested in the conservation of natural and cultural patrimony.

This communication platform was established, starting with a post from Nicaragua on June 15, 2011 followed by one from India the next day, to facilitate collaboration among those who participate in and communicate about entrepreneurial conservation projects. The objective is to highlight and explain unique private sector initiatives in developing economies; to provide creative personal accounts of exploring the cultural and natural environments where these initiatives operate, illustrated with photography, video, music and links to supporting relevant media; to inform about these efforts and encourage travel to these places to further strengthen the resorts’ commitment of resources to these initiatives.

From exploration of Western Ghats birds, to the improved understanding of monsoon rains’ therapeutic effects, interns working with Raxa Collective employees set a standard for collaboration in 2012. Pampa Villa and Kayal Villa came into the Raxa Collective portfolio and the team of interns based at Cardamom County helped conceive how these two private villas could be integrated effectively.  They also worked on design advisory projects for the new properties under development, which would eventually open on the waterfront of Fort Kochi Harbour and on the pristine shores of Marari Beach.  The posts that each of these interns contributed individually, and as a team, during this period became benchmarks for what we would strive for more of in the future.

In 2013 MLHS purchased Xandari Resort & Spa, in Costa Rica. This was facilitated by La Paz Group, which had a long history with and had previously managed Xandari. The strategy was to connect the entrepreneurial conservation work in Kerala to the excellent accomplishments along these lines in Costa Rica, especially at Xandari. This property is exemplary as a model of community involvement in a sustainably operated resort.

By the time the property in Fort Kochi had its formal opening in late 2014, it was clear that the name Xandari would best serve these properties, and so Spice Harbour was rechristened Xandari Harbour. Likewise Marari Pearl, which would open in March, 2015 was rechristened Xandari Pearl; and River Escapes was rechristened Xandari Riverscapes. By early 2017 our work in India was complete.

Costa Rica 2019 & Beyond

In late 2018 we were invited to submit a proposal for how we would approach managing two of the oldest and largest hotel gift shops in Costa Rica. This was a new kind of challenge for us: we were chosen because of our approach to entrepreneurial conservation, and this initiative would require combining the experiential with a focus on local tangibles. Authentica, a company we formed for this purpose, signed the contract to manage these two shops in May, 2019. Organikos was formed at the same time to provide “taste of place” products representative of Costa Rica in these shops. Specialty coffees are the signature product of Organikos, complementing a wide selection of hand made artisan handicrafts in the Authentica shops.

64 thoughts on “Experiences with Sense & Sensibility

  1. Pingback: Guardians « Raxa Collective

  2. This sounds really interesting, I’ll be tuning back in. I just got back from my first trip to India and loved it.

    • Muchisimas Gracias! Loved the “no photographs” photograph in your Kerala post. Were you on a houseboat? If not you’ll have to come back for that experience. We would love to hear how you heard about us. Cheers and come back soon!

      • Yes I’ll be going back for the houseboat experience and for many more experiences I hope. What a place! I saw you had ‘liked’ a post on someone’s blog, thought the name sounded intriguing and came to have a peek. Look forward to seeing future posts 🙂

    • Thanks J! That’s so sweet of you! Since we’re a group of multiple contributors it’s difficult to respond to awards the way an individual would (i.e. the list of questions, etc.) but please know that we really appreciate it! Cheers!

  3. Hi Raxa Collective! Always enjoy your posts and photography. I’m completely updating my blog with a new website (in time for the new “6 Months” web show, 5.1.12) and would love to feature photography with a link to the photographer and their website. Since so many of your contributors are fantastic photographers, wanted to see if any of you were interested. You can learn more here: http://6monthstolive.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/lets-start-a-movement/ or you can email me at sixmonthstolive@gmail.com Thanks!

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  7. Wishing you well in your endeavour, and may your ‘Collective’ energy spread out like the ripple effect to encourage others to look at their communities and unite together in the conservation of our Planet and to enhance self sufficiency and help more become aware how we are polluting not only our planet but ourselves in the process..
    Namaste.
    Sue

    • Thanks for your well wishes Sue, it’s great to hear from people who are on the same wavelength. Have you visited our facebook page? I try to touch on other items on that site. we’d love to see you there!

      • Many thanks, but no I am not a member on Facebook..

        While I think it has many great uses for spreading good, I feel it is also a tool for spreading much negativity within peoples personal lives and question the FB politics of those who make millions from it.

        But I do so wish you well as It is also a great place to get your message out there..

        Namaste
        Sue

  8. I have nominated your blog for the Super Sweet Award for bloggers. Thank you for sharing such uplifting and inspiring stories about successes in nature and conservation 🙂

    • Thanks jaetomk–that really is Super Sweet of you, and I’m not being ironic! We really appreciate hearing that our work is both uplifing and inspiring. Because we write as a collective it’s difficult for us to respond with the usual “5 things about me” and nominees, but please accept our heartfelt thank you for the nomination!

  9. Hi, My friend let me know about your blog through Milo. I am a conservation biologist, educator and social entreprenuer in Peru. I would love to contribute an article that I think is a nice fit.

  10. Pingback: Awesome Blog Content Award | Garry Rogers Conservation and Science Fiction: #EcoSciFi

  11. Hello,
    It is my honor and privilege to nominate your blog for the Awesome Blog Content Award. If you already have the award, please excuse my mistake and accept the nomination as a sincere statement of my appreciation for your excellent work.
    I posted the requirements for the award on my website: http://garryrogers.com. They are in the second post on my home page.
    Garry

    • Hi Garry, thanks so much for the nomination. Since we write as a group it’s difficult to respond to nominations the way an individual would, but that certainly doesn’t lesson our appreciation of the shout out! Cheers and happy holidays!

  12. Though I wasn’t born in Kerala, my parents are Keralites (Malayalees), and I had the privilege to live there for about 7 years (age 9-15). My daughter, aged 9, just returned from visiting her grandmother in Mallappally (in central Kerala) for the first time in her life, and is eager to go back. She was so excited about the trip that she gave a talk in her class (Grade 4) sharing photographs and souveniers that she had brought. I can understand her nostalgia. What I really want to ask, though, is: how is Raxa pronounced? Is it pronounced as Reksha/ Raksha (save/ protect) or as Raxa (as in Ax)? Just curious.

    • Hi Johnny, Great family stories, thanks for sharing!
      Our name is based on Raksha, but we’re pronouncing is RAXA as in Ax. So same meaning, different pronunciation. We thought that the “SHA” sound gave it too much of a mouthful. Plus, we love the opportunity to explain to people who we are and what we do!

  13. Your blog is so awesome and inspiring! I happened to stumble upon you as I was looking for some facts /pics on kerala for an article I wanted to post on my blog(I blog about Kerala and other recipes). Your tea stall pic showed up and brought me to your blog! Keep up the terrific work on environmental protection and conservation.

  14. Congratulations, I have nominated your website for the Liebster Award! I wanted to thank some of the writers I have talked with on WordPress.

    The Liebster Award is used to recognize writers, and allows each nominee to nominate additional website writers/blogs. The tradition of the Award is for each each nominee to: (1) list 11 facts about their writing; (2) answer the 11 questions asked by the writer who nominated them; (3) ask 11 new questions; and (4) nominate 11 additional websites/blogs, and inform them of this and the rules; they will then answer your questions. This can be done as a Page on your website, or it could be completed in a comment box. To see the new questions I have asked, visit the Awards and FAQs Page on my website Eusociality Blog.

    • Hi Christopher, thank you so much for the nomination! Because we’re a collective of writers and not a single blogger we don’t accept Liebster or other awards. We appreciate your support!

  15. Pingback: Documenting the Conservation Story | Raxa Collective

    • Hi Pedro, thank you so much for the nomination! Because we’re a collective of writers and not a single blogger we don’t accept these types of awards. We appreciate your support and hope you’ll continue to enjoy our site!

  16. Pingback: Documenting the Conservation Story, Part 2 | Raxa Collective

  17. Pingback: Words Forming A Name, Becoming A Brand | Raxa Collective

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