Brian Connelly, General Manager, Angsana Laguna Phuket

  • 5 Nov 2015 11:00 AM
Brian Connelly, General Manager, Angsana Laguna Phuket
Mr. Brian Connelly leads his hotel team with a focus on ensuring delivery of guest satisfaction, financial results and high operational standards. His working style ensures the Angsana Laguna continues to be a customer preferred hotel in Phuket, as well as Thailand.

Mr. Connelly has over 35 years of leadership in the hospitality management in Asia Pacific, Middle East and United States. His assignments outside of Banyan Tree include General Manager postings with Hilton Hotels in Asia Pacific and Middle East, Oakwood Serviced Residences in Asia Pacific, Fairmont Hotels in the Middle East and Intercontinental Hotels in Thailand and China.

Brian is an accomplished wine expert, enjoys sports and loves to entertain family, friends and clients with his cooking.

1. How do you feel about your current assignment in Phuket?
After joining Angsana Laguna 6 months ago, I’m still very excited and proud to be part of this beachfront resort, the flagship establishment of the Angsana Group. In terms of size it’s one of the top 5 properties in Phuket, with 402 rooms, and we provide a full range of accommodation choices for guests, from luxury 5* rooms to amazing villas, all set in 600 acres of parkland.

2. How long have you been an expat, and where also have you lived abroad?
18 years, I left the states in 1997 and moved to Hong Kong, then Korea; China; Philippines; Egypt; UAE; Singapore and Macau.

3. When you first arrived, what surprised you most about Thailand?
After already living in Asia for a while, I moved to Bangkok and lived there for two years between 2010-12, then I returned to Thailand this year, and it’s the food that’s truly outstanding here, the depth of flavours, from the best street food in world to Thai palace cuisine.

4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose, and why?
Italy, for the quality of life, the food, wine, and because my mother was born there.

5. Friends are in Phuket for just a few days - what must they absolutely see and do?
Go to Leam Phromthep on the island's southernmost hill to see the sunset, visit Big Buddha, take a boat trip around the islands of Phang Nga bay with its emerald-green waters and limestone cliffs, enjoy Thai seafood, and then party at Xana Beach Club.

6. What was the most adventurous travel trip you have ever taken?
A hike here in Phuket up into the mountains, which reach around 1000m, where there are running streams and waterfalls. I went as part of a survivor team building exercise in the national forest, it showed me the amazing diversity of this island, which is nearly as big as Singapore. It formerly derived its wealth from tin and rubber, and enjoys a rich and colorful history, so there are a lot of adventures to be had here.

7. What has been the biggest achievement in your life so far?
Professionally speaking, that I am a well respected and appreciated hotelier. I’m often called on for my opinion, general council, and specific advice, including recommending people for senior positions, and this makes me feel really good.

8. What is the secret of your success?
Building consensus within international teams, uniting people to achieve common goals, regardless of the country where I am working. I’ve made many good friends thanks to this approach, and so it’s beneficial for both professional and personal purposes.

9. What’s your favourite sport / form of exercise?
Squash, I also like to hit the gym and lift weights.

10. What can’t you resist - tell us a guilty pleasure.

11. What's the last movie you watched, and book you read?
A great Korean film I watched recently is called North Line Limit, another is Enemies In Law. The last book I read was The Laws Of Our Fathers, by Scott Turow.

12. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?
Food & Wine Lover

13. What has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
Mt father, he was a hotel GM, a restaurant owner, a wine importer, and a bon vivant, he inspired me to earn a living from doing what I love

14. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
Corruption, as it enables all the other social issues to propagate.

15. What was the luckiest moment of your life so far?
This appointment was actually a very lucky one, a dream come true to be honest.

16. If you could trade places with anyone for a week, with whom would it be?
A famous chef, deciding the menu and then executing the creation, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the pleasure on the face of a guest who’s just enjoyed a great meal. I admire Jamie Oliver, he keeps it all so down to earth yet the results are outstanding according to my experiences in his restaurants.

17. What career other than yours would you also love to pursue?
It has to be a chef, owning my own restaurant, with 6 or 7 tables, with a menu of the day, all selected fresh from the market.

18. In ten years from now what will you be doing?
Running a small resort on a tropical beach on some small istand in South East Asia

19. Where is your dream retirement location, and why?
I have a home in Hong Kong, which is a great base for travel, and for me retirement is having the freedom to go see and do whatever you want, whenever you want.

20. What could you say is your personal motto?
Do unto others as you would do unto you, as what goes around comes around!



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