One Coast Magazine July-August 2014

Page 107

focusabout him

How did you arrive as the GM of Samujana, one of Koh Samui’s most incredible villa residences? My journey to Samujana started in South Africa and has seen stops in London, Dublin, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Seychelles, Antigua, Maldives and most recently, China. I am therefore quite comfortable with palm trees and warm beaches as my office! Was globetrotting always something you aspired to do? I have always been a bit of a nomad and would spend hours in my childhood poring over an atlas trying to imagine what life was like in exotic sounding places like Zanzibar, Bangkok or Shanghai. Growing up in South Africa during this time meant that the chances of actually being able to travel abroad were virtually impossible, but I was fortunate to have these opportunities open up just as I was ready to leave the nest. You were not always a hotelier, so tell us something about your past that no one knows about you…high school gymnast, trained as a chef? Surprise us! I actually started my career as a chef and reached the level of Executive Chef at a 5 star resort before venturing out of the kitchen. You would certainly not find me swinging from the high bar or leaping over a pommel, but I am know to swing a mean 3 iron and can hold my own with a drum set. I am also passionate about rugby (watching not playing anymore) and grilling (anything over hot coals on a sunny day by the pool). I also love the simple solitude of SCUBA diving. No cellphones or emails down there! Who has been your inspiration in life? I admire legendary hoteliers Adrian Zecha, Isadore Sharp, Bob Burns, Onno Poortier and Ian Schrager. I also respect people who get up after being knocked down like Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and Malala Yousafzai and I am inspired by crazy geniuses like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and the legendary photographer Robert Capa. Having been in hospitality for some time, you must have a few stories to tell! Spill the beans! I have arranged many private events and special requests for A-list movie stars, musical artists, high-profile personalities, presidents, legends, kings and queens. From arranging a fashion shoot for Stella McCartney in the Caribbean to a million-dollar wedding for a 30-year old billionaire in the Seychelles. I have carried Will Smith’s golf clubs, held the elevator door open for Tom Cruise, arranged private boat transfers for Alicia Keys and cooked dinner for all James Bonds. If you were to do one thing in life, that you have not yet done or experienced, what would it be? I want to visit Antarctica, publish a book, master Italian, own my own business and visit all 500 hotels on my list. Does that all count as one thing?

One Coast Magazine


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