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Brice Borin

“I’m a strong believer in the hospitality business. Nowadays, businesses forget the essentials which all come down to: ‘welcome to my hotel,’” says Brice Borin, General Manager of Regent Phuket Cape Panwa.

Where are you from and how long have you been in Phuket?
I’m originally from France but it’s been almost 30 years since I left; I’ve lived in 12 countries since. In November I’ll have been in Phuket for five years – I came here in 2010, for the hotel’s pre-opening. We’ve been operating for two years now and, as we continue to develop and spread our wings, we’re pleased with what we’ve achieved so far.

Had you been here before, on business or vacation?
Yes, I’d holidayed in Phuket about three or four times before, so knowing the place before moving here was a good thing. I’d moved here from the Maldives and coming to a bigger island was a nice change. I really like the fact that here you can have it all: a good working and social life paired with a day on the beach on Sundays. Phuket has a good balance of things: activities and sports for adults and kids, mini-golf, restaurants, parties, beaches – it’s all here.

Is there anything at all you dislike about Phuket?
No, not really. I think it’s always possible to adapt yourself to the circumstances and many years of travelling to different countries teach you to do exactly that. So there’s nothing in Phuket that really annoys me.
Where do you live, and do you have a family here?
I rent a house in Cape Panwa, only five minutes away from the resort. My wife is Thai and we have a seven-year-old son. I find that it works really well to have a home separate from the resort; it helps clear the mind. And I love Cape Panwa, it’s still quiet and authentic, I definitely feel at home when I return here from another part of the island.

What do you do in your free time?
The free time I have is divided between my family and sports. I enjoy standup paddle boarding and on this side of the island we get to do it all year long because of the calm waters. I also love running, biking, and playing tennis. I’m a believer in a ‘good body good mind’ philosophy. Plus, here in Phuket it’s easy to keep fit and the Panwa area is great in that way. We’ve also got some great cycling locations and you’ll see many people cycling at sunset.

How do you evaluate success?
Success in life is to have work you don’t feel as work, plus a family and good health. I’m not one of those who are obsessed with finances and material goods; I’m surrounded by a great team and good people, and to me that’s success.

Tell us something about your work.
When you’re running a hotel, every day is different and that brings a new challenge, a new focus. Each guest is different and we need to constantly adapt ourselves. So part of the key is to continuously train your team, helping them improve their knowledge and service. But there needs to be a balance between the pressure you put on them and the guidance and support you supply. You also need to be there for them; be a part of the team. You should be able to laugh with them as well.

What do you think the future holds for you?
As a hotelier you never know what the future will bring so I don’t really plan ahead too much. Travelling and moving is a part of life and me and my family have adapted to that. So who knows…? I’m a citizen of the world. But every time I’ve had a chance to work in Thailand, it’s been become more of a home for me. And even after so many years away from France, naturally I still miss my family and the cuisine.

Are you involved in any local charities, Clubs or associations?
Yes, and Regent Phuket Cape Panwa tries to support local charities that no-one else does. We’ve supported an old people’s home and a few local schools. I’m also vice-president of Skål Phuket (a charitable international hoteliers’ association) where we are working to bring our charitable efforts up to the next level. So far we’ve raised assistance for other causes, such as for the Phuket Sunshine Village, and we’re developing another project for a charity in eastern Thailand that’ll commence later this year.