Where are you from originally? I was born and raised in Pretoria, the Jacaranda City (Jacaranda Blog). And am from a close-knit family – my parents still live in the same house I grew up in!
You have been involved in the travel and tourism industry for 12 years – tell us how you got started? My brother is also involved in hospitality and his experiences initially sparked my interest in the industry. After completing high school I decided to study hospitality management and once I had had some practical experience I knew this was the career for me and I have never looked back.
Having the role of General Manager means you have to wear many different hats – What is the favourite aspect of your job? To say it simply, I like to just get stuck in! I enjoy working closely with the staff and being involved with our guests is the greatest pleasure of the job.
Hospitality is a demanding career – how do you keep your cool under pressure? The hospitality industry moves at a fast pace. There is never a dull moment. But if a problem arises – quick solutions are required. And my philosophy is to sort things out before they escalate and get out of control.
Teamwork in a boutique establishment is crucial – give us an example of how your team works together to ensure guests receive a brilliant experience? Here at AtholPlace Hotel and Villa every staff member embraces the responsibility for hosting our valued guests and attending to their every need. This cohesive approach means each staff member strives to make the guests’ experience unique right from the the reservation process through to adding personal touches rooms to understanding preferred dietary requirements.
Service excellence is part of the Morukuru Family ethos – how do you add an individual touch to each guest’s’ experience? Getting to know our guests, even before they arrive enables our team to provide a home away from home. I believe my personal interaction with our guests provides the opportunity to understand their every need, no matter how specific. Once I know what their expectations are I am able to deliver on that with the support of my team.
There is a popular saying “ Eat well and travel often”
What is your favourite local destination and why? Our country is so diverse with endless travel opportunities, and I have been fortunate enough to see many parts. My favourite destination is always the “next one “ as I really enjoy discovering and learning about new locations. But if I had to choose one …my heart lies in the Bush and a breakaway at Morukuru Family in the Madikwe would be top of my list!
Tell us about your favourite international destination and why? My travels have been limited to Southern Africa thus far, visiting Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi frequently in recent years. The local people in the areas I visited, their friendliness and eagerness to teach me about their country always makes an impression. I have just been to the Okavango Delta … and that was spectacular so that definitely tops my list at the moment.
What is your all-time most memorable meal? I enjoy a “road less travelled approach” with a day filled with various stops along the way, excellent fresh local produce…and including our brilliant South African seafood.
What dish from AtholPlace Hotel & Villa is your favourite and why? It’s almost impossible to select a favourite, our chefs always have the highest standards, keeping the menu inspired and fresh, but if I’m pushed in a corner I will have to go with the Pork Belly.
AtholPlace is fortunate to have a gorgeous, cosy library … are you a fan of reading and list your favourite authors/magazines/newspapers. I have to admit I’m not an avid reader but I keep up to date with local and global news – especially with the Sunday Rapport and should I reach for the bookshelf it would be for a biography
The bar area is a super spot to enjoy a pre-dinner drink (or two). What cocktail served by Sifundo would you recommend to guests? His first recommendation to me was, a Sidecar, and that is still my first choice.
The Villa is a special private space – If you could invite four mystery guests to a private dinner in the Villa – who would you choose and why? Staying in the Villa is a dream so make sense to invite fantasy characters Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Captain America and Thor. AtholPlace Hotel and Villa’s menu is already fit for superheroes and legends!
What hobbies do you pursue in your spare time?
I love the outdoors, spending time with my kids and improving my fitness on my mountain bike.