Interview with Paul Linder, General Manager at Amanpuri

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Paul Linder, General Manager of Amanpuri

My best friends Kathy Davies and Daniel Meury from Andara are one of the reasons I came to Phuket. We’ve been friends for many years. In February 2015 we were laying at the pool and I said to him: «You know, I love Bali (the place I worked before Phuket) but in Phuket there is more surrounding beauty». But there was only one place in Phuket I wanted to work – with Aman Resorts and the flagship Amanpuri in particular. But at that time there was no job opening. While traveling in Europe and I got a call from London - "Paul would you be available to come to an interview for Aman at head office in London?" That’s how I met Mr. Doronin (Aman Resorts owner, Russian billionaire Vladislav Doronin).

Of course, I Googled Vladislav Doronin before the interview and knew he was elegant in appearance, but in reality he looks even more stunning. He’s a very sporty, healthy and good looking, charming and charismatic gentleman.

I met Donald Trump at his property in Palm Beach two years ago. What can I say? He is not my cup of tea. He has been elected by the people of America.

Carine Roitfeld, former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris told me once - "You know Paul, you’re probably one of the best dressed General Managers I've ever met in my life".

While working at The Mandarin Oriental I decided to leave my job right on 24th of December on Christmas Eve to fly to Sydney. Some people would say I’m crazy and I would not leave but I did, there was nothing which could have held me back. Well that’s just me as I decided in this lifetime I will only be able to celebrate Millennium once – hence that’s why I left my job to find out how it feels! – not regretting one second!

I always wanted to be a real American student. And that’s why I went to USA to study at Cornell Hotel School in Ithaca. When you go to hotel school in Europe you don’t have the same feeling. I liked the idea of living in a dorm.

Some people like to collect things. I like to collect the best jobs from most famous establishments.

My background comes from Switzerland. Initially, I was trained as a bakery-pastry chef and as a chef, eventually I just wanted to do more and fulfill my dreams and travel. See the world while work and earning money.

I started working at Chiva-Som in Hua Hin in 2002 and I was there for 11.5 years. It’s really the top of the league Destination Spa and hosting guests and celebrities from all over the world. More than that – it was my first time being a General Manager, just another dream to come true before turning 38. People used to ask me: "How is it to manage such a hotel?" Well, it’s just a job and doing what you love most and do what you are good at.

 In 2002 my partner died. It was a total shock for me because he was my best friend and the love of my life. But I had to deal with this situation somehow. I was mourning but I had to do the job at the same time and caring about people. I think it was the most challenging lesson of my life. I was destroyed but thankfully and lucky to be based at best place with the best support by many Specialist and Visiting Consultants, surrounded by friends and colleagues who know and understood what I went through. I was able to overcome the trauma by doing lots of healing treatments and physical exercise to keep my mind busy at all the time.

During my time at Chiva-Som I used to go to a funeral on a weekly basis for relatives of my staff and business associates in Hua Hin. People would say: «What again?» But that's part and duty of my job too. By mentally and emotionally supporting them, being their brother, mentor and part of their families. I’m always there for my staff and support where ever I can.

I’m a Sagittarius. We live life like there’s no tomorrow, considered to be the happiest sign of the Zodiacs, does not care much where and how earn money and like to spend it too, but at the same time we know what we want.

I hate when people treat others badly, when someone thinks he is worth more than other people. That’s when I usually put people in their place.

What I didn’t realize about Amanpuri is that how big the ground are. I knew there were 40 Pavilions and villas. But I didn’t realize how big these 40 villas are, sized from 3-10 bedrooms and placed on a 100acres piece of land with some of them taking up to 11900 square meter space. We have 750 plus fulltime employees. Aman is all about style, quality, personal care and service. Each villa has its own chefs, butler’s and housekeeping.

I guess “Flash dance” is one of the greatest movies. I love the actors and especially the main actress and the music. And it was such an inspiration; where the main character came from and how she had to prove and work hard in life to achieve her goals. And it reflects my philosophy – never give up, even if things go wrong you always have to try again.