Kenny Segers – Operations Director
Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Kenny moved with his family to Costa Rica at age 18 after graduating from high school. He studied economics and business administration at the Universidad Latina in Santa Cruz and worked for a vacation rental company called House of Rentals in Flamingo.
Drawing on an entrepreneurial spirit shared by his entire family, he ended up buying House of Rentals and another company, Special Places of Costa Rica, and merging them under the Special Places brand. He later bought a company called Costa Connection in Playa del Coco, now managed by his younger brother Yannick.
Kenny has a 1-year-old son named Khael, which is Celtic for “warrior.” He speaks fluent Spanish, English and Flemish. “I know more slang in Spanish,” he said, “but I know more complicated words in English.”
Quote: “I’m a workaholic. We like to work hard. This is not a 9-to-5 job. Sometimes it’s from early in the morning to late in the evening, every day. What I like about the job is every day it’s something else, and when you walk in the office you don’t know what is coming that day. It’s the problem-solving that I really like, and with the rental clients, trying to make the most amazing trip we can for them.”
PHEM DEJARLO – Rental Agent & Concierge
Born in Samar Province in the Philippines, Phem has a two-year degree in computer science from the Asian Institute of Computer Studies. She came to Costa Rica at age 19 to work for her aunt, who owned the Mariner Inn in Flamingo. She later worked for House of Rentals, then Special Places of Costa Rica when the companies merged. As a concierge, she books tours, rental cars, chefs or whatever clients need to make their stay enjoyable. “Whatever they request, you do it,” she said.
She enjoys “having a connection to people, meeting different people, helping people.” Her proudest accomplishment was moving from the Philippines to Costa Rica to explore better opportunities. She recommends that visitors to Flamingo try an ATV tour, a catamaran cruise, rappelling or whitewater rafting.
Quote: “I love Potrero. I live in Surfside. It’s quiet, safe, and people there are very accommodating, nice, friendly, always willing to help you. They’re open to anyone. I like that community. And the bars are within walking distance.”
PASCALE VERHAERT – Accountant
Pascale, Kenny’s mother and business partner, is the head accountant at Special Places. She is responsible for all the accounting, billing and taxes, managing the maid service, setting work schedules and procuring cleaning products.
Pascale is from Antwerp, Belgium, where she and her husband had a food-service business specializing in poultry. But they often traveled to the Caribbean and Central America, and in 2009 decided to move to Costa Rica.
“We thought it was time to follow some dreams, so we sold the business and came to Costa Rica,” she said. They traveled to every corner of the country, but they fell in love with Guanacaste and decided to settle in Flamingo. They couldn’t find a house that satisfied Pascale’s handyman husband, so they built their own on the hills above Potrero in Pacific Heights.
She says her proudest accomplishment is “bringing two beautiful sons into the world.”
Quote: “The way we raised them, they were very independent. We taught them to work also. Of course, school came first. To us it’s white and black, and the gray doesn’t exist. It’s good or bad.”
YANNICK SEGERS – Manager, Playa del Coco Office
Yannick came to Costa Rica with his family and like his brother Kenny spent some time studying Spanish, as well as finishing high school. He worked with Special Places in Flamingo as a property manager, doing maintenance, upkeep and remodels.
When the company went looking for a property management company to acquire in Playa del Coca, Costa Connection was a good fit, he said, because it had “pretty much the same standards we had.” The deal closed in May 2017, and Yannick moved to Coco to manage it.
Yannicks enjoys mountain biking and ocean activities, and he likes this area because it offers a wide range of activities for all ages and it’s close to everything people need. “You can just hang out on the beach for a whole week, or you can do a different thing every day,” he says.
Quote: “What I like about this job is the feeling of responsibility you have, and that the owners come to trust you, that they say here’s a couple-hundred-thousand dollar investment and here’s the key, and you take care of it. I like meeting new people all the time from all over the world, building up relationships with the owners, hearing the different stories from the clients we get, and being able to make other people’s vacation an awesome time.”
ALINSON SALAS – Human Resources & Maintenance
Describing herself as “Kenny’s left hand,” Alinson is in charge of recruiting, hiring, and keeping track of vacations and days off. She also oversees maintenance, making sure that anything broken gets fixed.
She’s from Las Flores, Heredia, and has a young son. Her proudest accomplishment is having built a house for herself and her son in Surfside, “without anyone’s help except God’s.”
Quote: “I like the relationship I have with my bosses. In particular, Kenny is a person who has a lot of human warmth and passion for what he does. I like how we’re focused on quality service for all the clients. I like the stability, I like the confidence they have in me, I like the empowerment they give me. I like that they’re honest, loyal, responsible, and that’s how I am.”
KAROLAYN VASQUEZ – Accounting Assistant
A native of Brasilito, Karolayn has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Universidad Latina in Santa Cruz. She is responsible for the billing, accounting and filing at Special Places.
She enjoys hiking and swimming, and her favorite local places are Playa Danta and Playa Conchal. Asked what activity she would recommend to visitors, she said riding a Banana Boat, an inflatable, banana-shaped boat towed behind a speedboat.
Quote: “The working environment here is very nice, very tranquilo. We get along really well, the management, the coworkers, and also the maids and maintenance people. Also, in my job I’ve learned a lot of things that in university classes they don’t teach. It gives you the opportunity to learn and grow.”
RANDY GONZALEZ – Rental Agent & Concierge
The newly married Randy, from the nearby town of Huacas, has a bachelor’s degree in English instruction from Universidad Latina in Santa Cruz. He previously worked as a concierge for the Westin Golf Resort & Spa on Playa Conchal and the J.W. Marriott in Pinilla.
His hobbies include playing soccer and riding dirt bikes. The activities he recommends most to tourists are ziplining, riding ATVs and whitewater rafting. His favorite beach is Playa Minas near Bahía Los Piratas. He says what he likes most about this job is “the contact with all the clients, helping them to get to know our culture, our country.”
Quote: “Being a local, I like showing people the variety of things there are to see in this region, the pride of saying, ‘I’m from here, this is where I live,’ and helping people enjoy their stay with us as much as possible. That a client who reserved through me goes away and says, ‘I had a fantastic time with everything I visited.”
ROY ROSS – Concierge & Check-In Agent
Two things you would never guess about Roy, who does check-ins for new clients and helps them plan their activities in the area: He’s a licensed architect and an accomplished drummer who toured India with his Costa Rican band, Nagmah.
Roy, born in San José of Scottish descent, has a degree in architecture from the Universidad Autónoma de Centroamerica in San José and is a member of the Federal College of Architects. He came to Guanacaste in 2015 looking for work in his field, which he says is difficult to find. Previously he cut two albums with his band and spent over a month playing gigs in Goa and Mumbai, India. “It was a life-changing experience,” he said in excellent English. “They made us feel like real artists, they appreciated our music and they treated us as if we were already stars.”
Quote: “I’m more of a collaborative person, so I really enjoy helping people get to know the area and all the activities it offers. I like to be helpful for people that come to this country and don’t know anything about it. I like to think that I’m kind of a welcome party, somebody that they can trust. And I’m also trying to create a rapport and get them to feel comfortable and at home and not afraid of being in a foreign country.”
The Special Places of Costa Rica Housekeeping Team
We are very proud of our professional maid service staff, who provide regular cleaning for some 150 properties — and do it with a smile. A half-dozen maids provide full-time service at a single house, but all the rest rotate among a wide variety of properties from Matapalo to Playa del Coco.
Maids are responsible not just for cleaning but for staging the house, with everything in its proper place, and keeping track of inventory (so that, for example, new clients don’t check in and find there’s no toilet paper). At times, say on Jan. 2, there are so many checkouts and check-ins that the maids bring their sisters, brothers and mothers to get all the work done.
Full-time maids assigned to a single property assist clients with shopping, cooking and laundry, and they often form close bonds with clients. It’s no surprise that our clients often want to take their maids home with them.
The Special Places of Costa Rica Maintenance Team
Special Places of Costa Rica employs two full-time maintenance men who service all our properties, plus a handful of caretakers dedicated to a single property each.
These men will fix just about any problem that arises — leaks, electrical and plumbing issues, a door that scrapes on a floor, a noisy ceiling fan… you name it. They also paint homes and provide roofing maintenance.
Our maintenance staff are available 24/7 for emergencies like a burst pipe that causes a flood. Special Places of Costa Rica also enjoys a network of qualified subcontractors to handle swimming pool service, gardening / landscaping and repairs to air conditioning units & kitchen appliances.