When first meeting Bertrand Margerie, the General Manager of the Putahracsa Hua Hin, I looked at his business card and foolishly stated the obvious, “your name sounds very French”. In perfect English with a slight French accent, he affirmed his nationality with a wry smile. Although extensive experiences in many different countries suggest that he’s really a citizen of the world.
Before our second meeting, the Putahracsa receptionist referred to Bertrand as ‘Khun Bee’. She was a little embarrassed to admit that she had struggled with a correct pronunciation. This should be with a silent ‘D’; sounding more like ‘Bertron’. Bertrand accepts that he is now ‘Khun Bee’ in Hua Hin but he doesn’t mind.
GM ‘Khun Bee’ with Finance & Administration Manager, Khun Pa
Bertrand has been the Putahracsa General Manager since March this year. This is his first appointment to an independent ‘boutique’ resort although his résumé (note the French accents!) includes stints with global companies such as the InterContinental and the Mövenpick Groups. His 30 year management career with superior hotels and resorts has included management positions in Europe, Africa, the Middle East as well as South-east Asia. Just prior to joining the Putahracsa, Bertrand took a ‘sabbatical’ from the hospitality industry for almost two years to take on a consultancy role with Green Footprint Solutions in Bangkok, a company specialising in bringing to market green technologies. The green credentials of the Putahracsa are now assured with this GM’s practical experience and knowledge.
One of the advantages of a resort with individual Thai owners rather than a broad corporate structure is the ability to get things done and make improvements in a timely manner. One example is Bertrand’s favourite spaces at the Putahracsa; the Ob-Oon Deli which was given a makeover last December. This became an enclosed space but retaining open areas and extensive natural lighting from floor to ceiling windows and translucent roofing. All the benefits of shelter and airconditioning but without feeling enclosed.
This is a very pleasant and welcoming place for long conversations as we discovered during our time with Bertrand. Bertrand’s Thailand experiences included early Hua Hin visits some 20 years ago. At that time he was travelling as a ‘backpacker’. After an early visit he travelling across Thailand but was drawn back to Hua Hin as his favourite location to experience Thai culture but without leaving behind ‘creature comforts’.
The expansive interior of a re-vamped Ob-Ooon Deli It goes without saying that Hua Hin bears little resemblance to the undeveloped town of the past, but Bertrand still believes this is the best place in Thailand for those experiences. However Bertrand is joining the throng of local entrepreneurs, especially those in the hospitality industry, who are concerned that a visible marketing plan for ‘Brand Hua Hin’ may be missing and that infrastructure needs, including direct access for overseas visitors to the airport, pose limitations to the region’s potential tourism growth.
‘Khun Bee’ has now had time to better know the Hua Hin hospitality scene. His next step will be to better know other General Managers and support the push for Hua Hin to be fully recognised as a destination on the world tourism map. Our thanks to Bertrand for his valuable time; we support his vision for tomorrow’s Hua Hin.