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Hugo Pina – Bar Manager


Hugo, thank you for sharing your time with us. We would love to know a little about you.

I wanted to be a sailor and I wanted to study in military school, but I took the entrance exam for the naval school and I had no luck, so I decided to study Food and Beverage. When I did my internship I got experience in different departments: the kitchen, dining room service, restaurant administration, and the bar. During the internship in the first hotel where I was, I started in the bar division. I confess that I also like the kitchen and I’m drawn to the kitchen, but I prefer drinks. I worked in restaurants for a short time, which are a very different business than hotels, but I found that I love hotel operation, so I decided to return to hotels.


In hotel operation I learned many more things that I now put into practice, such as standards, certifications, processes, how to handle a large volume of beverages and products.


And that is where I met my current partner, my friend, who had a sharp eye and discovered me, and gave me the opportunity to supervise, manage and support our operation with 4 diamond standards.


At first it was difficult, I confess. Moving into management was a drastic change and it implied many things – responsibility, commitment – but now I see the fruit of my labor. During my 14 years in the business I have gone from working behind the bar to now leading a team.


When did your passion for the world of cocktails begin?

Definitely since I started my education in Food & Beverage. They taught us preparations, ingredients, etc. and I truly loved what I was learning. There I discovered my passion, I love innovating cocktails.


passion for the world of cocktails


So your passion is cocktails?

Definitely. Well, I want to say that my passion is the art of cocktails. It is so versatile that you can play with many flavors, textures, etc. You will see it in my drinks! I love to share and surprise all our guests with different preparations!


I see in your expression the love you have for cocktails; you’re very enthusiastic. Could you give us an example of a cocktail preparation?

Sure, I love sharing the recipes of my drinks with our honored guests and partners who return home!


For example we have the “Red Lips.”  This is a drink with a catchy name, and it’s one of our most popular drinks. People ask for it a lot. The recipe is:

  • Raspberry vodka
  • Grand Marnier
  • Lemon juice
  • Simple syrup
  • Cranberry juice
  • Macerated watermelon


… and voila!


Red Lips

It is served on the rocks. I invite you to prepare it!

What do you like most about your job?

What I like most about my job is representing the team of bars and working as a team. Being an example for the kids motivates me to stay ahead of the curve and strive to set a good example and encourage them to continue learning and developing their skills.


How does it feel to be the Bar Manager in this hotel?

I feel very proud. Being behind a bar where your work allows you to shine is excellent, but to shine for the achievements in conjunction with your team is a huge satisfaction. The responsibility to continue discovering the talent of your team, to develop skills with your team, and to achieve excellent communication with them is a great satisfaction and motivation to continue forward.


to be the Bar Manager in this hotel

All the people who consume your drinks are happy?

I am very careful with the drinks created for our guests. If it’s not 100%, I work it until it is! My goal and commitment is that it must be a drink, a recipe that I fall in love to be able to share it.


In my interview with a colleague of yours, I explain the WOW effect. How do you create wows?

Well, the first thing I do is read the guest, since he arrives at the bar, you know if he’s coming, he’s already enjoying the facilities and able to make recommendations. I like to anticipate and be able to surprise you! For example, if I discover your taste for a drink, I can prepare a drink that is not on the menu because it would be a good opportunity to surprise you and cause a “Wow!” effect!


What made you join the family of Villa del Palmar Cancun?

I fell in love knowing that there are many opportunities in the company for growth and advancement. The developments that are on the doorstep are wonderful, in which the opportunity to grow, share and develop continues. The company’s good philosophy of caring for its employees motivates me to continue with the group.