PAUL JONES, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, LUX* RESORTS & HOTELS
With more than four decades of international hotel management experience, Paul Jones, Chief Executive Officer at the LUX* Resorts & Hotels, opens up to Can Faik about the brand’s future…
Naiade Resorts, based in Mauritius, was struggling with low occupancy rates and mounting losses when the global recession hit. Paul Jones, who became its CEO in 2010, rebranded the company as LUX* Resorts & Hotels and initiated a focus on creative personalised service. Instead of training workers to take specific actions, he launched an educational program aimed at getting them to anticipate and understand guests’ priorities and maximise service opportunities. Two years after the initiative began, four of the five LUX* properties in Mauritius were on TripAdvisor’s Top 10 list for that country. Financial results followed suit, with revenue, earnings, and profits all increasing by more than 300 percent over three years.
What is your position within LUX* Resorts & Hotels?
Chief Executive Officer of LUX* Resorts & Hotels.
What was your background in hospitality prior to working for LUX* Resorts & Hotels?
I was Managing Director of the Sun Resorts Group for 20 years, then President of One&Only, where I was instrumental in successfully launching and growing the brand on a global basis. I received a call from Naiade Resorts in 2010, the group was rebranded as LUX* Resorts & Hotels and I was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the company.
As the CEO of a huge hotel group, what is a day’s work to you?
My ideal day would be one when I spend less time in the office. As a hotelier first and foremost, I most enjoy being in the hotels themselves. In fact I can’t stay away from the hotels, and always enjoy seeing what’s going on and how we can make the guest experience more interesting.
Tell me about the newly announced LUX* Resorts & Hotels properties and what we can expect from them?
We have so much going on at LUX* Resorts & Hotels, with our Maldives property due to re-open in September after an extensive refurbishment. We then have Turkey next year and the UAE to follow in 2018 – all very exciting!
What is your plan for the LUX* Resorts & Hotels in Europe?
We have our brand-new property in Bodrum, Turkey, opening next year. Why Turkey? I still I feel it’s a great destination with so much to offer. Our property sits high on a peninsula with stunning views. With only 68 keys, it will be a truly exceptional boutique hotel. Regarding the rest of Europe, I feel the LUX* brand would work very well anywhere, and we are always on the look-out for different opportunities.
Have you noticed any particular trends in hotel interior design?
Design is always changing, but I feel the design has to blend in with the location. Our new property in Al Zorah, United Arab Emirates, will make a lot of people sit up and say ‘wow’, as it will be a Denniston-designed hotel – their first in the UAE since The Chedi in Oman.
Following the success of using UK-based designer Kelly Hoppen to work on the LUX* Belle Mare, will you be using other established designers on your future properties?
Yes for sure. As well, as I mentioned, Denniston in the Middle East property, we are also using P49 Deesign & Associates, Bangkok for our property in The Maldives, which is due to re-open on 1 September. This is a total refurbishment, which will have all the same signature LUX* brands and features as our other properties – Beach Rouge, ICI ice cream and Café LUX*, for instance, with the added one-off Disco restroom, which will be amazing to see.
What other exciting projects do you have in the pipeline?
I can’t say too much, but our Vietnam hotel has just been announced and will be an amazing property as it will be built to rest on water, facing Cambodia. Blink design, Bangkok, will be doing the master planning, interior design and architecture, and we hope that the property will open in 2019.
Where would you most like to open a LUX* Hotel?
I would love to open in the three main capitals: New York, London and Paris.