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Interview with Jean-Christophe Nager, General Manager, The Pavilions, Phuket

Jean-Christophe Nager, GM at The Pavilions PhuketJean-Christophe Nager is the General Manager of The Pavilions, Phuket, a 5-star luxury resort built on a hill-top on the delightful island of Phuket. A Swiss national with more than 25 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Jean-Christophe (JC) graduated from Collège St-Michel, Fribourg, in Switzerland in 1978 and studied photography in Montreal, Canada for a year before returning home to join the Lausanne Hotel Management School until 1984. His enthusiasm for travel led him to work in prestigious hotels and resorts in various countries in Asia, Europe and the Caribbean before joining The Pavilions in 2009.  JC lives in Phuket with his wife and enjoys watersports and tennis. What is it that you do exactly?
I am here to create and fulfil dreams and souvenirs, for our guests planning their holidays, looking at the website, looking for a relaxing time together. Souvenirs as our aim is that that they will leave with fond memories of their stay, tell everyone around them and return. To do that I need to orchestrate that every aspect of our guests’ experience runs flawlessly like in a movie plus add some wow factor and a genuine care from the team.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Developing new things, services, products, concepts. They can be major undertakings or small details added to an existing service. These little things make a difference at the end of a stay and there is nothing that is more heartwarming than a fond farewell to an appreciative and happy guest.
What would you say are the three best places you’ve ever stayed?
About 20 years ago on a break from buzzing Hong Kong to Boracay in the Philippines – in those days there was no electricity on the island. To see the chambermaid setting a petrol lamp on the porch of the bungalow at turn down illustrated a magic moment and set the tone for a few days out of time. A safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana in several tented camps left unforgettable memories with a sense of being within the animal kingdom with elephants grazing around the tent at night and lion roars in the not-too-far distance! A trip to Venice a few years ago in a quiet period of the year. There is magic in the place and wherever you look, something to catch your eye. Plus the inimitable Italian flair and style for a certain art de vivre. A Campari soda or an espresso never taste better than on a terrace of a piazza in Venice.
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
When I was studying at hotel school I had the chance to dine at Girardet, a famous 3 Michelin star restaurant in Switzerland. That evening was perfection from beginning to end and rests engraved on my mind as what hospitality, creativity, attention to detail all carefully thought through was all about to make for unforgettable experiences. It was an inspiration especially at the beginning of my career as a hotelier.
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
Some members of the British Royal family used to holiday in a resort on a small island off Antigua in the Caribbean and afterwards I had the opportunity to welcome guests from the British jetset, wanting to stay at the same place. More recently in the Maldives we would host some well-known people from the music and fashion industry. Another person who stayed with us was a famous entrepreneur in the airline industry, who also happened to own an island amongst other business ventures. Most if not all were down to earth, appreciative of the care provided by the team and a pleasure to have as guests.
What currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?
I always try to discover new places in the region where I work. After Northern Thailand and the temples of Angkor in Cambodia, Australia and perhaps Tibet are next on the list. A cruise on a sailboat with friends in the Andaman Sea is also in planning.
It was a great pleasure to meet you, JC. Thank you for your time in answering our questions and best of luck with fulfilling your travel wish list.  Our regular readers may remember that we ran a special feature about the Passions Programme at The Pavilions recently.

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  1. I have experienced Mr Nager’s hospitality in the Maldives and can vouch that it is second to none. I have also visited the Phuket Pavilions which is a little piece of paradise on earth. The two are a winning combination!!

  2. Thanks for your comment. Yes! JC is great – I would have said so earlier but it didn’t really fit in the interview piece. We absolutely loved the guy. I wonder if he ever sleeps or if The Pavilions has somehow managed to clone him. He’s always there, with a smiling face, ready to help or join in the fun.

    As for The Pavilions – wow! – what a wonderful place. As you say, JC and The Pavilions what a perfect combination. Life doesn’t get better than this.

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