This edition of the Samui Phangan Real Estate Magazine welcomes Frank Jerusalem to the personal profile. Frank has recently taken on the position of Resident Manager with Luxury Villas & Homes. We’ve always had a great business relationship with SVH and LVH they have supported our magazine since day one so it was just as important for us to meet the new Resident Manager and find out more about Frank.
Frank, welcome to SPRE, you are originally from Germany, where about did you grow up and where did you study?
I was born in Aachen, a nice and well known historic German town bordering the Netherlands and Belgium. I grew up and did my studies in the same famous university town where I lived until I was about 25 years old. So, a lot of good memories from these days…
Since when did you take the position of Resident Manager at LVH?
I visited Samui the first time in October last year of (2016) before I made the decision to move here and join LVH. I decided not long after my first visit to make Samui my new home in late November. Koh Samui is such a beautiful island with friendly people but the fact that LVH has an established a successful business, made it a very easy decision. However, I recall those months were during monsoon which is an experience I won’t forget with all the rain. Thankfully I have since experienced the real beauty of the island with clear blue skies and calm tropical waters. So, I am very happy that I took the decision to settle on this beautiful island.
Your last position was Front Office Manager, then acting Resident Manager at the stunning Coco Bodu Hithi Resort on Bodu Hithi Island, in North Malé Atoll in the Maldives. This small island looks very tranquil and amazing but did you find that it was rather limited in what you could do on your free time or were you just working solidly most days? Many say the Maldives is so beautiful but being mostly small islands means short stays are more appropriate, and you manged two years?
The Maldives is indeed idyllic, beautiful and tranquil, especially from the guest’s perspective, it lives up to its famous reputation as of one the most sought after luxury destinations.
From a work point of view however it is different and to be honest when I went to work in Maldives for the first time back in 2011, it was more of a challenge than I first expected, unlike the image you have in your mind from the picture perfect postcards. I found that after a while you are limited by the remoteness and size of the islands in terms of individual freedom, so it was quite intensive to balance work life and downtime as you are committed to look after your guests and your team 7/24h in one place. After some time, I adapted to the pace and rhythm and started enjoying my work life balance more and more.
Living in this untouched natural environment was a blessing and gave me the opportunity to do simple things like fishing and to learn to dive, a must in the Maldives. I managed to stay almost five years, all in all, and made many friends for life.
I think comparing Samui to the Maldives would be wrong but what do you find most interesting about Samui?
It is true that they are very different and it would be unfair to really compare the two. Life in Samui offers a lot more options whether it is from a culinary perspective for example, I am absolutely crazy about Thai food, or experiencing cultural divertissement from this part of the world. Koh Samui is big enough to allow you to meet with different people and communities, which I feel is a real enrichment to life.
What does your job entail as Resident Manager in LVH?
One of my main focuses is to have a full understanding of all the properties that LVH manages and have successfully done so for 15 years already. It is a challenging role, but an exciting and fascinating experience in particular dealing with the individual property owners, international guests and of course working with the entire in-villa teams and our office teams. It gives me great satisfaction to balance the interests of all these various “actors” and to be part of the success story of LVH along with the support of the entire team. I am learning new things every day even after six months or so and hopefully will have an impact by helping to improve on our existing services.
You are obviously bringing much hospitality knowledge to LVH with your 20 years’ work experience what do you feel is your strongest point?
There are people who think I am a good mentor and motivator. I am definitely a team player and manage to handle any kind of difficult situation.
Bringing people together to archive a common target is what I like, but people need to know me first.
LVH already has one of the best reputations on Koh Samui, what are your ambitions with the company?
For sure I want to participate in the story that started 15 years ago and I want to set and maintain the high level of quality and service granted by LVH to our customers since day one. More globally I wish to strengthen and develop Koh Samui on a long run to be better known as a luxury destination in a tough competition. I believe we have all we need….
LVH already looks after many of Samui’s most incredible beach villas, how many do you have under contract and is there one certain one for you which you find exceptional?
We look after more than fifty stylish, unique individual standalone properties along with a couple of larger estates around the island. Properties are spread between the busy northern areas to the peaceful southern districts.
The design differences for the properties we manage vary from Traditional Thai mixed with Asian influences to more modern contemporary and minimalistic designs. We are proud to offer such diversity in our rental portfolio which allows us to cater to all tastes and preferences even in terms of size and various facilities available. We have two main portfolios, for example the larger properties are placed within ‘The Signature Collection’ and the smaller properties likewise are in ‘The Boutique Villas’ which simplifies the choice for property owners and guests by help classify the differences. For example, the Boutique properties offer more of an intimate experience and are ideal for smaller families or couples looking for that romantic escape, whereas the larger Signature villas are world class venues that can host large groups, wedding parties, corporate retreats or various events.
Without exception, they are all breath-taking and I must admit that my favourites changed already several times since I am on the island. So not easy to choose but I can say I personally like properties in the hills because of their peaceful environment – and that personally means luxury to me.
When a customer is browsing for a luxury beach villa what do you consider the most important points?
I believe one of the most essential things is to make sure you pick the property that suits friends and family’s needs and of course budget. The facilities on site and location are a key point in the decision however which ever villa a guest stays in you will always get to experience our complete and second to none luxury services. One advice I would like to give also is to touch base with our team of villa specialists and concierge experts. They live on the island and know all our properties and locations by heart, we even have Chinese speaking team members which allows us to offer the same services to new markets such as China. Our expert team will always guarantee you will have an unforgettable experience and are at hand to always offer advice, insider knowledge and tips when organizing and planning your next visit.
LVH offers a complete service when renting villa, even down to stocking the fridge before a customer’s arrival, could you tell us a little more about what is available?
From the outside it looks to be a massive operation, with Chef, Spa, Concierge and in-villa services, but due to our combined experience it is actually quite simple, so when it comes to providing those little details that make all the difference that provide guests the perfect stay. Our team philosophy is that “Nothing is impossible” and that makes us not only unique but also has helped us enjoy such high rates or returning guests over the years.
To start with I must mention that whatever the guest needs whether that be special food or dietary requirements, we have a full range of Chefs specialised not only in Thai cuisine but also equally in other global favourites. We also pride ourselves on the quality and range of in-villa Spa Treatments available which are a must try to relax and rejuvenate.
Our services also extend as far as providing weddings and events. We have a western event planner with Thai team which are part of our Events division “The Signature Weddings” this is headed by Juliette Burrows a British national who has built up a reputation over the years as one of the most successful wedding and event planners on the island.
Lastly whether our customers want to charter a yacht, try their hand at Big Game Fishing, have a Tailor-made suit made or discover the amazing underwater world with a dive instructor, our amazing Guest Relations team will make it happen. Maybe your kids want a bouncy castle or surprise Birthday cake…Anything Goes!
If you would like any further information about Luxury Villas & Homes please contact