Back in business
Great news for golfing coveys at the Fish River Resort
ONE of the province’s top golfing spots is about to reopen its doors after a brief hiatus, after the former Fish River Sun Hotel swapped hands and was taken over by the government as part of a land claim by Xhosa clans – and is now under the caretakership of boutique hotel group, the Mantis Collection.
This was announced by new general manager of the resort, Ashley Palm.
“We are going to open the golf course first,” said Palm.
“We are going to open up the Kontiki Bar as the halfway house, so that golfers can rest and refresh themselves in comfort. We don’t want the golfers to have to sit outside with the monkeys to have a snack and a drink.”
Palm has some great plans for the former Sun International hotel, and was appointed as the general manager of the resort, when Carl Haller of the Mantis Collection was handed the keys by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform early last month. .
The Mantis Collection, competing against original owners Sun International and others, won the job of caretaker until the land claim issue regarding the land the hotel is positioned on is resolved in court.
Palm and his management team, together with the Mantis Collection bosses, met this week to iron out some outstanding issues and present the cashflow and revenue streams and its plan to open the hotel to the general public, phased in over a period of time. He confessed that it was often a challenge when presenting to government, but said he was confident the plans he was to put forward were good ones that would ultimately take the hotel even beyond its former glory.
“I’m all about building a culture at the Fish River Resort,” said Palm, a 50-year-old Capetonian who has worked in some of the most demanding hospitality positions, but who strongly believes that customer service is key to the success of his business.
“But to be guest-focused you need to develop a certain culture in the staff,” he said.
“The things I will attempt to instil in the staff are a certain culture, personality and character, the three essential elements in any successful endeavour.”
Palm said his experience at Sun International (who recommended him to the Mantis Collection as GM) was very structured.
He said that in his less corporate role at the Mantis Collection he was able to explore new entrepreneurial opportunities.
After a one-year stint as a marketer at Sun City, he was promoted to chief of gaming and later, spent the remainder of his career with Sun International as the general manager of the Sun Vacation Club with 384 units and 243 beds and 1 400 rooms under his direct control.
“This was time-share at its best,” Palm said. “You can’t get better experience than that.
“And the job is about people. “We need to be guest-focused and I realise that the closing of the hotel was a loss to the community.
“We will be re-hiring as many of the previous employees as we can and as we open up more of the hotel to guests.”
And, on May 4, Palm is to open up 20 self-catering units, either twin (two single beds) or double (double bed) rooms with a kitchen and a lounge. The cost of the room will also include breakfast and will be marketed first to the golfing community as a, “stay and play”, get-away.
Added to this, Palm wants to introduce a competition exclusively in TotT to give away midweek breaks.
Over time, other facilities will be opened at the resort. Keep following TotT, our web site and Facebook page and group for more exciting news.
‘The things I will attempt to instil in the staff are a certain culture, personality and character’
MAKING IT ALL WORK: Ashley Palm, the general manager of the Fish River Resort, says he is focused on guest-service, and wants to develop a new culture among the staff at the hotel, build character and personality and help them develop new skills