The Hermitage Hotel at Aoraki/Mount Cook is pleased to announce the appointment of Simon Douthett to the role of General Manager and Gary Clarke to the role of Director of Food and Beverage.
Douthett boasts an impressive career and brings with him a wealth of international experience spanning 20 years. He was most recently based in Thailand where he was General Manager at Hotel Indigo Phuket Patong before becoming General Manager at Island Escape by Burasari, Coconut Island, a resort he was in the process of opening when COVID-19 hit.
Douthett, who was born and raised in Wellington, said that although the pandemic saw his role in Thailand dis-established, his decision to return to New Zealand was based on the position at The Hermitage itself.
"After being away from New Zealand for 20 years I was only going to come back for a very special role. The Hermitage is an iconic property set within an incredible backdrop, and it was this that lured me home."
Hotels are all about creating memories and I’m looking forward to working with the team here to cement The Hermitage and the Aoraki/ Mt Cook region as the must-see destination of New Zealand.
Douthett has been involved in several tourism boards including Penang Hotel Association and the Vanuatu Tourism Organisation Board and is looking forward to lending his time and expertise to the industry now he is back in New Zealand.
Clarke, who will be heading up the hotel’s food and beverage department, is originally from the UK. He immigrated to New Zealand in 2002, spending seven years here before gaining further experience overseas. Prior to his role with The Hermitage, he was based in Singapore where he spent eight years as Regional F&B and Culinary Development Director, South East Asia, for Hard Rock Hotel, Hard Rock Café and the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group.
Clarke’s previous role saw him responsible for 18 businesses and around 2,000 employees and he is looking forward to the opportunity to now be working under one roof.
"It’s a thrilling challenge stepping into a role in the current climate. The domestic market is very different to the international tour market the hotel traditionally catered to so I am excited to help shape our new direction. We operate in an unparalleled environment here in the National Park so it’s only fitting we deliver service that is unparalleled."
Although moving back to New Zealand was always on the cards for Clarke, COVID-19 meant it happened sooner.
"My two teenage children moved back to New Zealand in February to attend boarding school and when it became evident that borders weren’t going to be opening my wife Ann and I decided to make the permanent move back to New Zealand earlier than planned."
Director of Aoraki/Mount Cook Alpine Village Ltd, the hotel’s owner, Peter Carnahan says they are delighted to welcome Douthett and Clarke to the team.
"The hospitality experience they bring to their respective roles is extensive and they will be great assets, not only to our business but to the region."