At Your Ser­vice

Okada Manila Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor talks about in­com­pa­ra­ble ex­pe­ri­ences and why there’s so much more to ex­pect

Philippine Tatler - - LIFE -

t’s been a tremen­dous ex­pe­ri­ence,” de­clares Okada Manila Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Steve Wol­sten­holme about the in­te­grated re­sort’s first year. “We have worked to pro­vide some­thing quite spec­tac­u­lar, some­thing that ev­ery Filipino could be proud of.”

Since its preview open­ing in De­cem­ber 2016, Okada Manila has grown by leaps and bounds, with new of­fer­ings up al­most ev­ery month. At present, the struc­ture al­ready oc­cu­pies 22 hectares, half of its 44-hectare site. Even then, it still has a long way to go.

“There are still ameni­ties be­ing added,” Wol­sten­holme ad­mits. “[By the time we get to the ad­vanced stages of con­struc­tion,] this will be an in­te­grated re­sort that’s go­ing to be around for many years and is go­ing to touch many lives.”

For Wol­sten­holme, who ar­rived in Au­gust 2015, ev­ery day has opened his eyes to the nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties that he sees in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, both in Greater Manila and in the Philip­pines as a whole.

Manila is, how­ever, a long way from where his story be­gan. Born and raised in Eng­land, Wol­sten­holme was ed­u­cated in Eng­land and Canada and earned his MBA from the Univer­sity of West­ern On­tario, Ivey Busi­ness School in Toronto.

“It was dur­ing the MBA pro­gramme that I first came to Asia,” he re­calls. “I went to Bei­jing, Shang­hai, and Hong Kong to un­der­stand what the Asian busi­ness dy­namic was all about.”

Orig­i­nally work­ing as a civil en­gi­neer, which is an odd place for a ca­reer in hos­pi­tal­ity to start from, Wol­sten­sholme ac­tu­ally came to the in­dus­try by way of a closer as­so­ci­a­tion: the gam­ing sec­tor.

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