South African Shaun Dünhofen has been appointed General Manager of Thanyamundra Organic Resort, with a brief to take the award-winning sanctuary on the fringes of Thailand’s most ancient rainforest to new heights of luxury, service and style.
News of Mr Dünhofen’s appointment comes hot on the heels of Thanyamundra garnering a slew of accolades and press, including a full page story in Conde Nast Traveller in its widely-read and much anticipated May ‘Hot List’ edition, elevation to regional title DestinAsian’s Luxe List, and being named one of Asia’s top three eco-retreats by global travel portal Agoda.
Mr. Dünhofen said he was ecstatic to read in the Conde Nast Traveller story how guests would “wake up to the sound of tiny apes playing as the mist rises up jagged karst limestone mountains from a valley dense with coconut palms.”
“Welcome to my world, Nature’s Magic in Abundance” the experienced South African hotelier said with a smile – a world that offers a unique and creative chance of running a very high end boutique resort on the edge of a rainforest older than the Amazon, with just nine generous suites in its two gold teak pavilions set amidst a 70 rai organic farm. “I welcome the opportunity and look forward to working with the great team around me here at Thanyamundra. My approach is very much based on setting and achieving goals to serve the community and the environment to enhance our guests’ experiences.”
Mr. Dünhofen has spent most of his career in operations and management at luxury boutique resorts including W Retreat & Spa and Per Aquum Resort & Spa in the Maldives, The Fortress in Galle, Sri Lanka, The Manor in New Delhi, Aman-i-Khas in Rajasthan, and Amanusa and Amanjiwo in Indonesia.
He is a practitioner of various disciplines of martial arts such as Muay Thai and Shaolin Kung Fu, and passionate about meditation and free-diving. He spent most of 2011 on an epic journey of insight and personal enrichment taking in Sri Lanka, Thailand, South Korea, China, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Cambodia and Indonesia to broaden his knowledge and enhance his understanding of culture, nutrition and nature by awakening mind, body and soul.
“I have been blessed to have travelled a lot,” he said. “But I was inspired when I saw the beauty of this place, with the mist creeping slowly up the valley and the amazing sunrise. I was blown away by the quality of timber used in the construction of the villas, the genuine antiques the owner has left for guests to enjoy in the suites and even the beautiful Tibetan tankas on the walls.”
Thanyapura Group President Robert C. Hauck congratulated Mr Dünhofen on his appointment. “I have every confidence in his ability to get this rolling and Thanyamundra really humming,” he said.
Beyond the farm, Thanyamundra introduces guests to a holistic approach to awakening body, mind and spirit, with visiting experts and teachers, world renowned in their fields, on hand to offer the best advice and instruction on everything from sports to yoga and meditation to environmental science and visual arts. “All the spectacular moments that make me get out of bed in the morning,” said Mr Dünhofen.
The nine-suite resort and retreat is perched amidst the mist-shrouded mountains of Khao Sok National Park. With Asian antique-filled suites in two Thai-inspired golden teak villas, Thanyamundra has been transformed from the home of a European entrepreneur into an impressive retreat offering the finest service, gourmet organic cuisine and a chance to explore the organic farm, and holistic wellness in an incredible natural environment. Its facilities are also spectacular, from the 50m lap pool overlooking the villas, farm and valley, a professional athlete level gym, and a serene yoga room.
The resort is part of Thanyapura, Phuket’s cutting-edge campus of world-class health, wellness, sport and educational offerings, including the Olympic-standard sports facilities of the Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club, the Mind Centre, and Phuket International Academy.
Each of Thanyamundra’s spacious suites are fully equipped with modern comforts from high-speed wireless Internet and LCD flat screen televisions to Thai silk interiors and spacious private bathrooms with separate rain showers.