People in the hospitality industry receive some pretty weird requests, but none could quite top what Chunky Mathew from W Retreat and Spa, Maldives was once asked by a guest.
Spicing up guests’ holidays is Mathew’s job, including everything from arranging a couples’ photoshoot and ordering up almost anything to the Maldives to deliver via the hotel’s Whatever/Whenever promise.
He enjoys the spotlight the role shines on him and at the same time working hard behind the scenes to make the guest’s experience the best it can be.
Check out our interview with Mathew below.
1. How long have you been in the industry?
I have been in the hospitality industry for the past six years and my Starwood Journey began four years ago at Le Meridien Chennai.
Now the W Insider for W Maldives, I assist guests with my insider knowledge of the Maldives to help them create memories that are a universe away from the norm.
2. Describe your most amazing travel experience.
A year ago, I visited New York City at Christmas time and it was absolutely magical. I fell in love as soon as I saw all the Christmas decorations.
The food in NYC amazing as well; I would highly recommend Birds and Bubbles and Gramercy Tavern.
3. Tell us about the weirdest job you’ve ever had.
I used to work as a customer support agent for a leading computer company.
I regularly received calls from customers asking me how to switch on a computer and how to find the start key on a laptop.
4. What was the first country you ever travelled to?
Qatar in 1999.
5. What destinations are on your bucket list?
Sydney and Verbier. Sydney for its vibrant city centre and amazing restaurants and Verbier for its stunning Swiss Alps location and the fabulous W Hotel which has recently opened there.
6. How has working in travel changed you?
Working in travel has given me the opportunity to communicate with a wide range of guests from different countries and cultures.
This has made me a more approachable and understanding person, which is an essential skill in my role as a W Insider.
7. Who was your biggest mentor growing up?
Saji Joseph, The General Manager of Le Meridien , Cochin.
Saji had an amazing career, becoming the General Manager of a 5-star luxury property at just 29 years old.
He gave me the opportunity to get back into the hospitality industry and has always motivated me to take on challenges in life.
8. What is your biggest life achievement to-date?
I haven’t had my biggest achievement yet; I’m always challenging myself to achieve more.
9. What’s one thing hotel guests are doing wrong?
I am very passionate about reef conservation and the house reef at W Maldives is one of the best in the country, so I’m always asking guests to be careful when they’re snorkelling and to make sure they don’t leave any rubbish behind them.
10. What’s the weirdest thing a guest has ever requested?
The strangest request I’ve ever had was from a group of guests who wanted to skinny-dip in our infinity public pool.
11. Number one tip for industry newbies.
Get your basics right, work hard and be focused.
Have a question for Mathew? Leave it below and we’ll get you the answer.
Getting to Know You is our good will gesture to promote the TIME program. The TIME program is focused on a Mentor/Mentee relationship that is ‘mentee-driven’. Mentors are drawn from the senior ranks of the industry and have generously volunteered their time and energy to the mentor process. They are matched to Mentees on the basis of non-conflicting business skills and experience that enables them to offer advice and perspective to the Mentee. The role of the Mentor is to hold their Mentee accountable and to offer challenging ideas that will inspire the Mentee, helping to building the individuals self confidence through praise, encouragement and constructive feedback.
If you are interested in joining TIME as a mentor or mentee visit their website
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