Luxepitality Travels to Vietnam to meet with Serje Dietesheim, the Hotel manager of the Angsana lang Ko, to find out about his secret to repeated success and what his definition of Luxury is.
Tell us about your background and how long you have been with Banyan Tree…
I have been with Banyan Tree for 11 years now, my first assignment with the company was in the Maldives back in 2004. My career has been an exciting journey having progressed through various departments encompassing front office and guest relations positions as well as being part of several pre-opening and opening task forces. My assignments with Banyan Tree have taken me from the Maldives to Morocco, to Indonesia and Laos and now to the beautiful central coast of Vietnam. Over all those years I have gotten to know our properties as well as the company’s DNA and philosophy and can see many more exciting projects ahead of me.
What’s your secret to the consistent success of your resort?
Holiday makers these a days have become increasingly demanding; and rightfully so. The life of many of our clients is a hectic and stressful run against the clock – all day every day and they therefore deserve to be taken care of extremely well when they finally have some down time. I believe in individual and tailor made service delivery with extremely high levels of attention to the small details. Our operations teams are great at identifying and catering to the individual needs of our clients and try very hard to add that little something to every step of the service delivery. At Banyan Tree Lang Co and Angsana Lang Co, we can cater for many different types of travellers. Banyan Tree is ideal for couples seeking a real sanctuary that stays true to the brand’s signature sense of style while perfectly integrating the uniqueness and identity of the host destination. Angsana offers a more casual, contemporary yet luxurious lifestyle and is suited to young couples, groups of friends as well as families. The two resorts are integrated in Central Vietnam in a manner that allows everyone to experience the best of both worlds on their doorstep.
The word “Luxury” is sometimes overused, what does it mean to you?
This is an interesting topic as the definition of “luxury” is, in my opinion, as individual as our guests themselves. In general terms though I see that luxury has evolved from being purely related to the tangible aspects of a holiday; marble floors and crystal chandeliers; to the intangible values, the unique, once in a lifetime experiences one can make while traveling. This may be a dinner on a private sandbank for you and your loved one and no one else, or a hike through the snow-capped Tibetan mountains or simply a lazy day in the privacy of your own Villa, watching wave after wave on the beach in front of you. Our Guests define what luxury is.
What makes your hotel memorable and unforgettable?
This goes hand in hand with the experience based values mentioned previously. Those once in a lifetime moments, some call them “moments of truth” are what our clients will remember us for. We have over 550 young and extremely eager associates working at our resorts in Lang Co and they get up in the morning every day to do just this – create those “moments of truth”. Everyone is a part of it: from our gardener cutting flowers into small equal parts for display; to our chef preparing traditional Vietnamese soup for breakfast, to our housekeeper turning down the Villa at night. On top of that, the sheer beauty of this region makes it very easy to let go and relax.
You have an award winning spa, what’s the signature treatment and do you ever get a chance to visit it yourself?
Our spa is indeed remarkable. Our professional therapists are trained and retrained so that they can cater for even the most seasoned “spa aficionados”. All managers at Banyan Tree Resorts around the world are encouraged to use the spa; not only because it brings balance and relaxation in an often stressful job but also for the purpose of product knowledge and being able to recommend certain treatments to our guests directly. I would personally go for our local signature treatment called “Cajuput Delight”. It comprises of a 60 minute full body deep tissue massage followed by a tropical fruit scrub and a relaxation session during which tea and fresh fruits are served.
If you could visit any of the Banyan Tree resorts, which one would you go to any why?
I have personally visited about half of our almost 40 properties and I would therefore like to try and visit one that I have not seen yet. My choice would be Banyan Tree Ringha in China. The Villas are local, Tibetan farmhouses that have been carefully transformed into very cosy, comfortable and stylish accommodations. The picture of having a warming fireplace going after a nice, long hike in the peaceful Shangri-La mountains, accompanied by a glass of red wine – pure luxury!