A Chance to Work in Paradise

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Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay General Manager, Silvano Dressino pictured at the hotel. Photo: ANA SOVA.

By ANA SOVA

Apart from the knowledge that Fiji has the best rugby sevens team in the world, the only other thing that Silvano Dressino knew about Fiji was that it was a paradise island tucked away somewhere in the South Pacific.

To come to Fiji was something he never thought would happen and being offered the opportunity to work right here in paradise was beyond his dreams.

Mr. Dressino is the General Manager of the country’s newest luxury international hotel, the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay in Nadi.

“Fiji is so far away and you think this must be paradise and I have never dreamt that I would get to work here, it turned out more beautiful then I imagined,”

“We had the President of Marriott Asia Pacific here and he said it’s one of the best hotels he has ever seen and I don’t think it’s an understatement,” Mr. Dressino said.

Mr. Dressino is Italian with a German mother. He was born and bred in Germany and so was his father and grandfather.

He grew up in Worms a German city in Rhineland-Palatinate, situated on the Upper Rhine about 40 miles south-southwest of Frankfurt.

It’s clear that hospitality comes naturally to Mr. Dressino.

He started early in the hospitality industry, his parents, Renato and Eve Dressino ran an ice-cream shop when he was a little boy.

“I grew up in the service industry, I helped my parents out sell ice-cream during my early years growing up. I had a passion to serve people and that’s why I started my career in the hospitality industry,” he said.

Mr. Dressino started working in the hotel business almost 30 years ago as a bell boy with another hotel brand before joining Marriott International in 1996 as assistant to the regional public relations manager at the Marriott Regional Office in Eschborn, Germany.

“I joined Marriott 21 years ago and about 11 years now in Asia. This is my first island experience and I can’t find a better place with happier people than leading this beautiful resort, the Fiji Marriott Momi Bay Resort,” he said.

Working for Marriott International has allowed Mr. Dressino to pursue various roles in international markets, including general manager at Shanghai Pudong Hotel, China, resident manager at JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong and director of reservation sales at Munich Marriott Hotel.

Most recently, he was interim general manager at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach, where he successfully managed the pre-opening activity of the 634 room, flagship property, which opened in December, 2016.

Prior to this, Mr. Dressino was general manager for JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya, where he initiated a wide range of customer service initiatives and achieved a 10% year-on-year growth in guest satisfaction scores.

As General Manager for Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, he will report into Sean Hunt, area vice president, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific at Marriott International.

“In 2006 I started in Asia because one of my bosses told me at the time if you want to make a career you should go to Asia that’s where the growth is happening and Marriott gave the world of opportunities of such tremendous growth and now being the largest hospitality company in the world, it’s great to see that I could have the opportunity to work in so many fantastic places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and now being in such a different field in Fiji,” Mr. Dressino said.

He said he’s blessed to have this well-rounded experience.

“I’ve worked in stewarding, night ordered and it gives me the appreciation for even the simplest job in a hotel as a general manager because we need to have clean beds, we need to have clean glasses and plates otherwise a hotel wouldn’t have worked,”

“As in Marriott culture where we put people first and this is also my mission I have clearly in this hotel to look after our people so that they can look after the guests and it starts with the gardener, its starts with the room attendant and up to my leadership team and I’m thankful to have such wonderful team with mostly Fijians,” Mr. Dressino said.

He said it was exciting meeting the staff for the first time during the mass recruitment held at the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa.

“It was just fantastic to see much interest we have working for Fiji Marriott because I think we had over 3,000 people lined up at the Westin Denarau,”

“Such tremendous interest, it was just incredible and the passion of the people to work for the first Marriott hotel in Fiji was fascinating,” Mr. Dressino said.

Mr. Dressino has moved to Fiji with his wife, Katrina along with son, Matteo who is 13 years old and daughter, Federica who is 10 years old.

He said his wife is very passionate about charity and is already exploring for the right project to be involved in in the country.

“She has a very strong heart and is engaged in a lot of charity projects she has been working on in the past in Indonesia, China we went to orphanages, leading charity committees in schools and she already looking out for right projects because we also have a spirit of service as part of our family culture, to look after people in need and engaging with the local communities and work with them and see how we can support,” Mr. Dressino said.

He said he’s happy their children are liking their new home.

“I’m very happy because both my kids are surfers, there’s no better place, maybe Hawaii but Fiji beats that easily when it comes to surfing and they’re very happy with their school and the friends they made in a very short period of time,” Mr. Dressino said.