Charles de Foucault, newly appointed general manager at One&Only Le Saint Géran tells BTN about his priorities for this stunning 163-suite resort which nestles peacefully in the silver white sands of its own private peninsula on the East Coast of Mauritius.
Breaking Travel News: How are you settling into your new role as GM at One & Only Le Saint Geran?
Charles de Foucault: I have been at The One&Only Le Saint Géran (OOLSG) as the new general manager for just over a month now. It is a fantastic resort with a strong heritage and a bright future. The employees are one of a kind, and I am really excited about making a difference in the hotel.
BTN: What will be your main priorities for the next 12 months?
CF: First thing’s first. Authenticity. The mystic style of Le Saint Géran is the main focus in every decision we take. With its strong history I want to ensure that any change brings value to our loyal customers and new guests alike. We are at equal distance between Europe and Asia so I will focus on exposing our product and services to our Asian travellers. My past three years in Bali will be a plus. We will review our on line representation as today’s customer depends on that medium to facilitate their decision and bookings for any destination.
BTN: What differentiates the property from others in the region?
CF: You should ask the question to our guests who are on their 37th visit. Le Saint Géran family boasts that nearly one fifth of today’s employees have been with the Resort since the outset, having perfected their craft of hospitality over the years. The Grande Dame of Mauritius is well settled in the area and will celebrate its 37th year of operation in October 2012 – continuously setting new standards in service for the hotel industry in Mauritius. Guests come to the island to experience the beach and Le Saint Géran offer one of the best natural beach on the island. For our active customers the lagoon offers a picture perfect location for water sports. Tennis, golf it is all here. No shuttle required.
BTN: Which travellers do you mainly target?
CF: Leisure travellers and families, but this also the perfect location for executive retreats and small exclusive incentive gatherings.
BTN: What new emerging destinations are you looking to tap into?
CF: There is a surge in the number of leisure travellers visiting from GCC, India, China and Russia, as these countries open up and airline networks expand. To meet the expectations of these emerging markets, hotels must also increase their offerings to create ‘value added’ travel experiences.
OOLSG is well equipped with the very best amenities for leisure travellers with its own private peninsula on the East coast of Mauritius, fringed by over a mile of white sand beaches. Terraced and balconied rooms all face out privately to the Indian Ocean. In addition dining is an experience of the best of the world and the pick of Mauritius.
Michelin star chef Vineet Bhatia brings his award winning modern-Indian cuisine to Rasoi by Vineet. PRIME Contemporary Grill offers an exceptional menu serving revisited classics with a critical focus on purity, quality and freshness.
BTN: How are occupancy levels and forward bookings?
CF: Occupancy levels for the upcoming months are looking good, driven by strong demand from leisure travelers and some MICE business. OOLSG is very fortunate to benefit from a great deal of repeat business.
OOLSG has performed well in 2011. For 2012 there is some renewed competition with new properties opening on the island and the booking pattern of customers which follows a last-minute trend.
Villa Pool at One & Only Le Saint Geran
BTN: What are the main challenges you are currently facing and how are you dealing with these?
CF: There has been a significant shift in leisure travel habits over the past few years. Generally speaking travelers are taking fewer risks with their choices and are much more informed, looking to get the most from their travels. As online communication continues to grow, we have certainly noticed a significant rise in the number of visitors making room reservations directly through our website.
In addition to this, world-renowned branded concepts remain a key growth area within the hospitality industry. We are continuing to expand our offerings in this arena offering guests an impressive choice of international dining concepts, including Michelin starred Chef Vineet Bhatia and world-renowned ESPA.
BTN: In what ways (if any) have Kerzner International Resort’s financial difficulties impacted on One & Only operations?
CF: We are fully owned and operated by Kerzner International and this resort hold a special place in the family’s heart. For us it is business as usual and the focus remains the One and Only experiences our customers enjoy on a daily bases in our little piece of heaven on earth.