Phil Blizzard talks to Fredrik Reinisch, regional general manager for the Dubai-based JA Resorts & Hotels about the practical aspects of managing their ever expanding portfolio of properties, including the new Enchanted Island Resort in the Seychelles.
Breaking Travel News: Let’s start with your role as regional general manager for the resorts and hotels here in UAE and also the Seychelles. How many properties do you look after and is your main role?
Fredrik Reinisch: Well, it is six properties in total and with the majority here in the UAE. I am responsible for the operation of all of them here.
BTN: The group is expanding and we will talk about that in a bit, but being based here in the UAE, you got properties here at Jebel Ali, in Dubai, Hatta Mountains and now the Seychelles. So do you have a typical day?
FR: There is not really a typical day and there is not actually a typical week or month.
That really depends what time of year it is and what is going on and if you have a new products.
I mean obviously we have recently opened our property in Seychelles Enchanted Island Resort.
So obviously I will spend fair bit of time looking after that and going out to Seychelles to get to know the product and the market there as well. So it really depends.
BTN: So when you take in a property like that what are the key challenges? How does it work on the staff level, do you have a combination of new faces with those associates who have been with the property of the group for quite some time?
FR: Yes, obviously there are certain challenges.
I think the most important thing is actually to make sure that we move enough sources out of the existing properties into the new one.
Probably 30 per cent, but ideally it should be 30-40 per cent, should be from within the company, associates and managers who knows the values of the company.
That is extremely important. Otherwise you cannot move the flavour of the company into a new property.
BTN: So you mention flavour and thinking of the Seychelles for example would it be corporate flavour, also the local Seychellois flavour as well, especially on the food and beverage side. So how did you bring that together?
FR: We obviously we have about 50 per cent of the sources at the Enchanted Island Resort are Seychellois, the locals.
So they bring really the local spirit and the local favour that is exactly what the guest likes to see as well.
The design of the property reflects the Seychelles of the ‘40s and the ‘50s actually.
So instead of a vintage feeling of the resort then we are very, very lucky to have a Seychellois chef as well, Chef Ullrich.
He is actually a Michelin sat trained chef and he is probably the only Seychellois chef who is Michelin trained. So we are very, very lucky to have him aboard as well.
BTN: Very interesting indeed, and the cuisine offered is the Creole cuisine?
FR: It is the Creole cuisine. Lots of sea food, lots of spices, et cetera, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables incorporated in to the dishes, but obviously the sea is all around you.
So when it comes to shell fish and fish, what better place can it be?
BTN: Tell us a little bit more about Enchanted Island Resort.
FR: It is a private island which is located in marine reserve, a very untouched environment.
There are ten private villas, all with private pools and private access to the beach as well.
So it is a wonderful product.
It is a tranquil product and it is sort of a hideaway for people who would like to go on a break and sort of have their own space.
I mean we offer a high level of privacy and the high level of service. It is a very personalised experience as well.
We have your own butlers who get to know you, your preferences.
And the good thing about, even though it is a picture beautiful private island it is still only a ten-minute boat ride from the main island, it is very accessible.
BTN: So we are here in Dubai, in Jebel Ali. How do you manage running a property several thousand miles away?
FR: Obviously by having a good team onboard is the key.
We have a very, very experienced general manager.
She has worked with us for many years.
So there is a great level of trust and understanding and good communication there, and when you have in place it makes it just so much easier.
BTN: Now, you have been with the group for over 12 years, 13 years or so. What does it mean to be part of a group which is now sort of expanding out of the UAE, which has been its traditional home base further field into the Indian Ocean and beyond?
FR: It is absolutely fantastic, it has been a wonderful journey and to say that you have been, even if it is a small part of what happen is wonderful and to remember things, when it all started and we started to take on new properties.
And also to the way we have improved our existing properties. I think has been very, very interesting.