Anthony Lark leads the way. Born in Sydney, he started his career picking up glasses at the Wentworth Hotel Sydney and, after working his way through hotels in Queensland and Western Australia, was invited to open a series of luxury resorts across Thailand.
Now one of three partners who own and operate the deluxe 39-villa resort, Trisara, Anthony Lark found heaven eight years ago.
Trisara, meaning ‘third garden in heaven’ in Sanskrit, is perched over its very own private bay along Phuket’s northwest coastline, making it one of the most exclusive resorts in South East Asia.
“Everyday is exciting when managing 40 acres, 82 pools, 500 employees and (of course) very well-travelled guests,” says Mr Lark of his award-winning resort.
International jet-setters come to Trisara because there’s nowhere else quite like it – the spa offers private treatment suites with sea views that open out to breezy pavilions and every villa has a private infinity pool – and Mr Lark says his globetrotting guests expect the best.
“Expectations are very high in almost every respect, which is what keeps us on our toes and why we meet all guests on arrival. … Of course, in any good resort simple, good food plus friendly service and wonderful spa treatments, are very high on the list of expectations.”
Since opening in late 2004, the resort has quickly become a landmark, not just for its ocean views and private gardens, but also for the quality of its service.
“There is a different work ethic in South East Asia,” says Mr Lark, “Staff are generally happy and enthusiastic about doing whatever it takes to take care of guests.”
Local culture is a key component to running a successful resort according to Mr Lark, who says Thailand’s luxury accommodation is incomparable to anything he has experienced in Australia.
“Perhaps most important is that hospitality is not so much deemed a part-time job like it is in many places in Australia. Another thing of course is that with the salary levels here, we can operate at Trisara on an 8 staff to 1 room ratio.”
Yet while he lives and breathes high-end luxury nowadays, Lark’s love for hotels was sparked from humble beginnings.
“When I was 16 my parents and I took a year-long trip through Europe. We stayed in literally hundreds of small, often family-owned hotels and inns in many countries and I found the whole arrival, housekeeping, breakfast and “buzz” in an hotel fascinating. I was a 17-year old hotel junkie.”
After working his way up the ranks in Australia, beginning his hotel career as a trainee at the Wentworth, then joining the Regent (now The Four Seasons) and later working in resorts across Queensland and Western Australia, a 27 year-old Lark accepted an offer to uproot and move to Thailand as Aman resorts’ first General Manager of luxe beach resort, Amanpuri.
“I was offered the job to open their first property, which at 27 was a big thing as the whole idea of going to an exotic Island at such a young age was the most exciting thing. I thought, 2 years maybe, yet I guess I was wrong as 25 years and 4 sons later…”
But would he do it all over again to find heaven elsewhere?
“Sure, if the opportunity existed that ticked all the boxes, and the next one could be even better than Trisara.”