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Veteran hotelier and branding expert, Pascal Bertrand, was recently appointed general manager of BodyHoliday. We recently sat down with Pascal to discuss his vision for the wellness resort. And get to know him better…
JajofTravel: You arrived on St. Lucia from another island, Mauritius. What is it about ‘island life’ that you love so much?
PB: “It is true that I have been living on islands for a while now. The island way of life instills a certain peaceful and laidback way of life that I particularly enjoy. Island-living people tend to appreciate life with more serenity than mainland people. Probably due to the fact that when you live on an island you feel a sweet de-connection from the rest of the world which becomes necessary nowadays.
JajofTravel: Your experience with five-star hotels is vast. What originally drew you to the hospitality world?
PB: “I started my career in the kitchen and rapidly felt need to meet my guests in the dining room – to better please their palate. I have always been in search of improving guests’ satisfaction. I was very fortunate to work for one of the best hotel groups in the world at the time, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, where I found myself surrounded by people who shared the same passion for perfecting the art of hospitality. I’ve worked in the USA, Mexico, Japan, China, Europe, Jamaica, UAE, and my last destination was Mauritius where I was supposed to stay two years – and ended up staying 13. I love the hospitality industry and would not think of doing anything else in my life.”
JajofTravel: What enticed you to come to St. Lucia – and to BodyHoliday specifically?
PB: Body Holiday attracted me immediately due to its unique concept, a widely developed wellness, fitness, mindfulness concept paired with indulgence. Quite an avant-garde concept marrying two concepts of vacation – which, at first sight, seem to oppose each other. Interesting, different, and it works. I am very excited to join the dynamic Body Holiday team and to participate into the development of this unique brand.
JajofTravel: How do you define wellness? And why is it important to you personally?
PB: For me, wellness is before anything else a choice of how you want to live the rest of your life. Wellness is a state of complete mental, physical and social wellbeing which can help prevent illness and disease. For my part, I started yoga four years ago and try to practice it three times per week; yoga has helped me gaining flexibility, lose weight and re-balance my energy.
JajofTravel: Favorite ‘healthy’ food?
PB: I enjoy eating a full iceberg lettuce with nothing on it, accompanied with a glass of red wine – all while watching a movie. I recently tasted the quinoa burger from our chef here at Body Holiday. And it is now one of my favorite healthy dishes.
JajofTravel: Hard-to-resist ‘junk’ food?
PB: Junk food is part of the indulgence we should allow ourselves sometimes. But remember…it is all about balance. I love spicy Doritos with salsa.
JajofTravel: Three words to describe yourself?
PB: Passionate. Generous. A listener.
JajofTravel: Special hobbies or interests?
PB: Yoga. Golf.
PB: I have been married to Mariel for 20 years. We have two children: Paul, who is studying sustainable energy engineering in the UK, and Nicole, who is studying at United World College in Costa Rica. Mariel will be joining me soon.
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