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Great news for golf­ing cov­eys at the Fish River Re­sort

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - ROB KNOWLES

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’

Pic­ture: ROB KNOWLES

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

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