After a successful festive season, Turbine Hotel Boutique Hotel and Spa is off to an impressive year so far. One of the exciting recent developments at this Knysna hotel is the appointment of General Manager, Chris Schutte.
Chris started at Turbine Hotel on the first of February, and comes from a long and successful history in the hotel industry. No stranger to the area, Chris is passionate about Knysna, it’s locals and the surrounding natural beauty. We spent a few minutes with Chris discussing his past, what he loves most about this Garden Route destination and his advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the hotel industry.
1) You mentioned you grew up in Pretoria? Coming from somewhere different, what is your experience of Knysna so far?
It’s probably one of the most unique towns in our country. I love the fact that everybody is here for a reason. They chose to be in the town, and live this lifestyle. Lifestyle is the biggest driver for most people in their decision to move here.
2) Have you been in the hotel industry your whole life?
Yes, from the age of 21. I left school and spent two years abroad working in London before I longed for South African sun and came back. Then I ended up in the hotel business. I worked for four years in Kievits Kroon, which is east of Pretoria, and then I moved to Johannesburg where I worked at two hotels for three years. I’m not exactly new to the area. I worked at Pezula for four years as well.
3) Did those properties all have sometime in common? How did you come about choosing them in particular?
I always say to people, it’s almost like the hotels chose me. Every property I’ve worked at is privately owned. The longer you stay in the industry, the more you learn from the decisions you make. I want to be part of something that’s unique and that has a personality. And I think Turbine fits that description perfectly.
4) If you had to describe your experience at Turbine so far in three words, what would they be?
Eccentric, potential and privilege.
5) What’s your favourite thing about Knysna?
The sea, and the beaches.
6) What’s your favourite dish at the restaurant?
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, and Island Cafe really gets it right. So it was the Breakfast Flapjacks, but now it’s the Caramelised Banana and Bacon French Toast. It’s egg-fried ciabatta topped with back bacon, banana, mascarpone and maple syrup. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, that’s a winner.
6) What’s one activity you could recommend when visiting Knysna?
Going on a sunset cruise with Schalk from the Turbine Water Club. I’ve gone several times and have never managed to get through the Heads, but it’s always been a dream of mine.
7) Any advice for someone coming into this industry?
I think some of the best advice would be to come and spend a day working. Whether it be in the kitchen, or in housekeeping, it doesn’t matter, just come and work a day in a hotel and then decide if it’s still something you want to pursue. I learnt through experience that it’s a lifestyle, it’s not a job. If you want to pursue it, that mind-shift has to happen quite early. And the best way is to start the hard way– by working with people from the ground up and seeing how things work on a day-to-day basis.
Come and witness the magnificent sea and the infectious personality of Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa for yourself. Book your stay by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling +27 (0)44 302 5746 or visiting our website now.