International GM Interview: Four Seasons Resort Maldives Kuda Huraa's Randy Shimabuku
Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa general manager Randy Shimabuku checks in with Hotelier Middle East about the island resort
Can you tell me a little about your professional experience and history?
I was very lucky to grow up in Hawaii, where hospitality is not only a major industry but an important part of our culture. I started as a dishwasher while in high school at the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu and have been a general manager with Four Seasons for the last 16 years.
How has that influenced your management philosophy?
As managers, our performance measures are usually tied to results and the best results are achieved through the people who surround you and support you.
What would you say are the main factors that make a great GM?
The people who surround you and support you. “Great GM” is a little fleeting but one needs to impact the people, product and profit of a given property at different times and a true desire to always do better and get better is part of that formula.
How do you feel the hotel is performing this year?
We were fortunate to have a very good year last year so the comparisons are a little challenging but overall, we are performing well.
What are your targets and expectations for next year?
We are grateful to our visionary owners who believe in continuing to re-invest in our facilities of the resort so we are looking for more upgrades next year.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Maldives and Middle East & Africa hospitality market?
In the Maldives, we hit a speed bump earlier in the year when there were some political issues being addressed in Male, but things have turned around positively in recent months. Regarding the Middle East, both Four Seasons Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru, our sister property, continue to be very popular resorts for couples as well as families.
What are some of the daily challenges you face in this market?
The increase in inventory gives our guest more choices and pushes us to continue to evolve.
Can you share a rundown of the renovations at the hotel such as designs briefs, new features and facilities, and new F&B outlet plans?
A little over a year ago, we renovated all our over-water villas to include very spacious outdoor decks with expansive pools which has exceeded all of our expectations. Each vast oceanic villa has its own private 24 square-metre infinity pool, accessible through sliding glass doors from a bed alcove in the master bedroom. They also each have a vast sun deck with a dining table for four, over-lagoon hammocks and steps into the warm crystal lagoon dotted with fish and corals. The renovated water suites now have three new top suite categories — three-bedroom water suite with pool, two-bedroom water suite with pool, and the family water villa with pool.