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Jon D Ashenden

How long have you been with SALA Phuket Resort & Spa?
I've been working as Regional General Manager based in Phuket at SALA Phuket Resort & Spa since January, 2010. I oversee the operations at both SALA Samui Resort and Spa and Muang Kulaypan Samui (soon to be SALA Chaweng Resort and Spa)

What were you doing before?
I was Resident Manager during the pre-opening of Anantara Phuket Resort and Spa in 2008, after the company relocated me from the Maldives where I was involved in three other Anantara property pre-openings as Group Director of Food and Beverage and Group Director of Technical Services for Minor International. Prior to my work experience in Thailand and the Maldives, I held various senior positions in rooms and food and beverage operations at both the Sofitel Nha Trang Vietnam, Le Meridian Port Villa, Vanuatu and French Polynesian Islands including Noumea, Fiji and New Caledonia. I started my career in hotel management with the Intercontinental Hotel Corporation (IHG) in Australia and was relocated to various IHG properties throughout Australia and South Pacific during my 13 years with the group.

Where are you from?
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

What’s special or different about SALA Phuket Resort & Spa?
This stunning luxury resort was featured on the prestigious Condé Nast 2008 Hot List, and it’s easy to see why. Tucked away in a secluded corner of Phuket’s Mai Khao Beach, SALA Phuket Resort and Spa offers its guests optimum privacy in 5-star accommodation. SALA Phuket is an excellent place for luxurious romantic getaways and peaceful vacations. Nearly all of the unique Sino-Portuguese style rooms, suites and pool villas (all with outdoor bath and shower areas) feature a private swimming pool, not to mention the three main guest swimming pools on the resort grounds, while SALA rooftop restaurant offers a unique dining experience with stunning views of the beachfront.

Why would someone choose to use your resort compared to your closest competition?
We're located in north Phuket just 20 minutes from the airport, with direct access to Mai Khao's stunning 9km of pristine white sandy beach. Surrounded by Sirinat National Park, Pru Jae Son lake and the fringe of Phang Nga bay, we offer a unique experience amongst contemporary award-winning Sino Portuguese design and architecture with private pool villas, Clarins spa treatments and unique food and beverage offerings − including in-villa BBQ with your own private chef and waiter, beach dining gazebos, dining under the stars on our rooftop or simply watching our ’15-metre Outdoor Cinema’ on our vast beachfront lawn on bean bags, enjoying complimentary caramelised popcorn! Served by extremely warm, courteous and friendly staff.

What are the main challenges as they relate to your role?
Maintaining standards in both service andproduct at the same time securing financial returns across three resorts.

…and what are the biggest difficulties you have to overcome?
Driving three resorts to continually upgrade services, staff training and renovating resort villas and public areas to ensure our product exceeds guests expectations and agents are confident to sell the resorts.

What is your main target market?
Couples, honeymooners, retirees and some families during school breaks

What do you like most about what you do now?
Achieving targeted results, obtaining great guest satisfaction, compliments from my owners and keeping my great team of managers and employees happy!

And what do you like least…?
Long hours, travel and unhappy family! Oh, and losing a great manager to a competitor hotel!

What do you hope to achieve within the next 3-5 years?
To personally achieve promotional growth within the company and to develop and grow our brand recognition internationally.

What do you see as your biggest successes to date?
Taking on the role and responsibilities of Regional GM over the past 18 months and using my past experience in international branded openings to build a consistent infrastructure to manage the rapid company growth.

Give us an overview of your typical day ‘at work’. What tools do you use to schedule your time?
Tools – A Fantastic Exec Secretary! Thoroughly recommended! Typical day – meetings, communications, emails, meeting guests both happy and unhappy, inspecting villas, conference calls with corporate office and treacherous paper work!

Describe your leadership style?
Autocratic, tough but fair, systemised, organised, high expectations, low tolerance levels, results orientated, dynamic, approachable, hard-working and loyal.

What is your over-riding ambition at this stage in your life?
To achieve my current goals set within my position as RGM, and my long term vision of becoming MD or COO of one of the highly acclaimed, internationally branded SLH [Small Luxury Hotels] groups of the world.

For Further information about SALA Phuket Resort & Spa
333 Moo 3, Mai Khao Beach, Thalang, Phuket