Introducing… John Hazard, General Manager of the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort
John Hazard, our new General Manager, has hit the ground running since he step foot in our Beach House a few months ago. Originally from England, he has the hotel business in his blood. Growing up his parents ran a small chain of hotel/pubs in Bath and he fondly remembers collecting empty glasses from the tables at his father’s pubs when he was 11 years old and progressing into the kitchen to wash pots at 13.
The rest is, as they say, history. At age 16, John got a job at the iconic Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath, moving from there to The Grand Hotel in Brighton. From there his career took him to many corners of the UK, including Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and London, as well as around the world. Before he arrived in Cayman he was at the Doha Marriott in Qatar, where he spent more than three years as General Manager. Here he speaks about what he loves about his job and why he is so excited to be in Cayman.
John’s father was also a hotelier so he grew up learning the ins and outs of the business. He knew at a young age that he was passionate about the hospitality industry but he first wanted to try his hand at Sports Management. He said: “One of my passions in life is sports, particularly rugby, so when I was younger I wanted to get into Sports Management. At one point I spent 18 months teaching physical education, coaching a football and rugby team and lecturing. I was still working part-time at a hotel and I missed the buzz of the industry. It was then that I realized that I was bored and wanted to get back into the hotel business full-time.” His foray into Sports Management wasn’t without its benefits – he points to some similarities between the two disciplines. He explained: “A fundamental parallel is that Sports Management is all about teamwork and this principle definitely applies to running a hotel.”
Once he got back on the hospitality track there was no looking back. There are many things that John loves about his job. He elaborated: “The people, the daily buzz and the challenge; every day is different but as a team we always overcome. It gives me a great sense of achievement when I see guests walking away happy after experiencing the hotel. When I first started in the industry I worked in Food & Beverage and despite the often unsociable hours, the camaraderie I had with my work colleagues was worth it. I find that there is always a great team atmosphere that exists in hotels and I have made some great life-long friends over the years doing this job.”
Through the years, John worked his way to the top and served as General Manager for hotels in many exciting destinations. He continued: “I love London. I was the General Manager at the Grosvenor Square Marriott during the Olympics in 2012. Since the hotel was a host sponsor hotel, we were invited to many of the sporting events – it was a very exciting time. But soon after an opportunity came up in the Middle East and after working all around the UK, I thought it was a good time to try something new.” In 2013 he moved to Qatar and was the General Manager of the Doha Marriott. His position there not only encompassed managing the hotel, but an industrial laundry facility that did an average of 35 tons per day along with many other projects. He elaborated: “It was an amazing experience as I was involved in other ventures outside of the hotel but it has been wonderful coming back into a hotel environment. In Doha, my primary focus was on other projects. I am very happy to be back in the hotel atmosphere now that I am in Cayman.”
When asked why he chose Grand Cayman as his next move, John said without hesitation: “What wouldn’t attract you to Cayman? It ticks so many boxes. The hotel is amazing with new owners who have vision, a great team and Cayman is an amazing place to live. Having spent the past three years in the Middle East I also get to experience another continent, culture and way of life.” John did not have the chance to visit the island before he moved here but he spoke to close friends who had lived here before and they said they would come back in a heartbeat. It was then that he knew Cayman was going to be his next adventure.
One of the things that he has been looking forward to the most is enjoying all the fantastic watersports and activities that Cayman has to offer. He explained: “I bought a small 17-foot boat when I lived in Qatar. It was my first experience into the world of boating and I ended up spending most of my spare time out on the water – I got totally hooked. So I’m very much looking forward to doing the same here and exploring this beautiful island from the sea. Top of my list is experiencing the world-famous Stingray City.”
From a work perspective, John is very excited to be leading the Beach House into a new era. He concluded: “The team have done a fantastic job in creating a unique Marriott experience over the past two years. I’m looking forward to working together, taking the hotel into a new chapter and activating some of the other areas where we can enhance the guest’s experience. From day one, the team and I have started working on many exciting plans to take the resort to the next level.”