Interview: Horst Walther-Jones, General Manager, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Jimbaran Bali

InterviewHorst Walther-Jones

Name: Horst Walther-Jones

Position title: General Manager

Company name: Mövenpick Resort & Spa Jimbaran Bali

When and why did you join the industry? 

I come from Germany where I began my career in hospitality as an apprentice and commis de cuisine before becoming Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage at Hyatt Cancun Caribe Villas & Resort in Mexico and later at the Hyatt Regency in Macau – China. My first management role was at Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai – United Arab Emirates where I became Executive Assistant Manager and Jumeirah Group Coordinator for Food and Beverage, before taking on the role of General Manager in March 2004 at Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, also in Dubai. After five more years with Jumeirah in hotel development and pre-opening of new hotels, I joined Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in 2009 as General Manager of the Mövenpick Hotel Al Nawras in Saudi Arabia. I stayed with the group, working in the Middle East for a further five years at the Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach Residences – Dubai before setting his sights on a new challenge in Bali. For me it is very natural to get into this business because I come from family with a hospitality background. My great grandfather from my mother’s side had a station where travellers could rest their horses and where we served food and beverages. My mother went to hotel school in Munich and my parents used to have a small guesthouse in Germany.

What do you like most about your job?

It’s the daily creativity and the interaction with both internal and external customers. In our business, not one day is the same as the other, it’s never a boring day. I also like to go around so that I could approach people.

What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far? 

It is my culinary masters’ degree which I obtained at the age of 26 years old. I was the youngest one that graduated with the degree at that year.

What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it? 

It was my first GM when I worked for Hyatt at the Regency Cologne, Mr. Fred Hürst. He told me to always be honest to yourself and don’t try to change yourself.

Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?

Sergee Zaalof, the President of Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. I worked with him two times during my tenure in Hyatt Cancun Caribe Villas and Resort Mexico and also in Dubai for The Jumeirah Beach Hotel Dubai. He manages by heart and he is an excellent creative person as well a motivational leader who is hands on.

What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?

We have extensive family facilities with separate pools and leisure activities. We have a lap pool, sandy pool, teenage pool for different ages, and an amazing two level, multi-room kids club. We are traditional hoteliers in one way which comes through in customer service and personal touches such as our daily “Chocolate Hour” which reflects the Swiss heritage of chocolate utilizing Balinese cocoa as the ingredients. On top of that, we are also integrated with the Samasta Lifestyle Village, a shopping and cultural complex, that makes our resort a one-stop destination.

What destinations are on your travel bucket list? 

I’ve always wanted to travel to Yellowstone National Park because it’s big, wild and I believe it could show me rough nature and purity. I would like to take a big camper van and drive through it with the whole family. I would also love to go to Australia, Japan, The Great Wall in China and Nepal.

What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)? 

It was 20013, I was with my wife and we flew through the Grand Canyon by helicopter.

What are three things you always take with you when travelling?

Momentum for my children, picture of my family and a special coin for good luck during travelling. It’s a gift from my wife.

Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.

I’d like to go with Oprah Winfrey to a Safari Lodge in South Africa. Because I think she’s a fantastic person and the safari lodge would give you the feel of freedom and endlessness that would give a good atmosphere for a great conversation.

What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?

In general, I think the industry will try to find more and more optimization processes to streamline operations to create a stable bottom line. This will be done with the help of technology. Also, destinations like Bali need to be extra cautious to balance infrastructure with development. If it doesn’t go hand in hand, the negative impact will be inevitable.