We all know that an exceptional holiday with loved ones is the type of experience that will become a lifelong memory. A well-spent holiday will also clear away the accumulated dust from our minds and allow us to come back relaxed and refreshed.
Australia is a dream holiday destination for many travelers all across the world. And the state of Tasmania is one of the most popular destinations for people once they get there. Blessed with natural beauty and diversity, Tasmania cannot be compared to anywhere else. With thousands and thousands of tourists choosing to visit each year, selecting your accommodation here is just as important as choosing the destination. Offering the ultimate luxury experience on the island of Tasmania is a premium lodge known as Saffire Freycinet.
Saffire Freycinet aspires to set a bold new direction for accommodation in Tasmanian with its authentic, inspiring, and enriching experiences offered to vacationers. Distinct in its design and deliberately exclusive, Saffire Freycinet sets itself apart with its approach to one-on-one service and all-inclusive suites.
We spoke with Ross Boobyer, General Manager of Saffire Freycinet, to learn more about this unique, guest-centric approach to hospitality.
Let us learn more about what makes Saffire Freycinet so special.
The Stay Experience
Saffire Freycinet is an ultra-luxury, fully inclusive, 20-suite property located on the stunning east coast of Tasmania. A stay at Saffire Freycinet is filled with genuinely unforgettable moments – and more rejuvenating than one could have ever imagined.
The management at Saffire Freycinet focuses on connecting people to a place through facilitating dynamic experiences and through the warm hospitality of its staff. The property’s own produce, tours, and activities in beautiful surroundings play a significant role in the delight of the guests. The establishment is blessed with an architectural masterpiece and a timeless, ever-changing view across Great Oyster Bay to the spectacular Hazard Mountain Range.
Talking about the lodge’s guest experience, Ross expresses, “We encourage our team to be themselves and get to know our guests on a very intimate level, which allows us to tailor experiences for them based on their individual needs and interest.”
Mapping Specialized Tours and Activities
Saffire offers 19 different tours and activities that its guests can enjoy. The tours and activities range from beekeeping to guided walks in Australia’s oldest national park, shucking oysters and sipping Tasmania’s finest sparkling wine while waist-deep in pristine water.
The Hotel offers its guests an ever-changing variety of the best local seasonal produce and pairs each course with premium wines from small and intimate local wineries. Its management likes to introduce people to new experiences and new tastes from its local suppliers whom they know personally.
Moreover, the Hotel encourages its people to use their initiative and gives the team full autonomy to make decisions that they feel will enhance a guest’s experience at the property. “Like any business, our staff is our number one commodity. Our staff enjoys coming to work every day, and the culture within the business is extraordinary,” says Ross.
Technology Has Made Life Easier
Being a small boutique property in a remote location, the Hotel relies heavily on technology for its operations.
The last couple of years has truly highlighted how important technology is and how it can be used in business to keep people connected regardless of your location. The development of online video conferencing and calls has certainly trickled a positive effect on the establishment. Ross notes, “This has allowed me to attend meetings with our head office without a five-hour return car journey. In addition, it allows me to be present with the team on the property while still attending meetings that I could not miss.”
Rising Out of the Pandemic Challenge
The COVID-19 pandemic affected tourism and hospitality industry operations. During that time, handling the operations at the hotels was a challenging task for so many reasons. Saffire’s management had to make a few small changes to its operations in this post-pandemic world, such as increasing cleaning time for our rooms and spa treatment rooms. The Hotel also removed its continental breakfast buffet option and replaced it with individual selections brought to your table.
Staffing has also been a bit of an issue post-pandemic. “We have fared well, but I would say that we are just not getting the volume of applicants that we did prior to COVID. Luckily for us, the caliber of applicants is still strong, but there is a definite lack of volume,” adds Ross.
Regaining Glorious Days
The past two years were hard. But now, interest in Saffire’s property has never been higher, and there is a real desire to travel now. Ross shares, “From speaking with people here, there seems to be a mindset of ‘I deserve it‘ after the last couple of years.”
He adds, “We are also seeing that people are upgrading their usual holidays and splashing out on luxury experiences now more than ever before.”
Saffire is shaping up for its busiest years on record, and there is a huge pent-up demand for its property and its services. It will be interesting to see how things progress with international borders open now and what the consumer sentiment is towards overseas travel from the Australian market. “We would also expect to see the return of some of our international guests this year and beyond,” says Ross.
Guidance to Budding Entrepreneurs
Ross has been in the hospitality industry for years now. To those who want to venture into the industry, he advises them to “Be genuine. You really just want to be in our industry as it is not something easily faked. We are in the service industry, and to deliver exceptional service, you must be passionate about your product and want to help others.“
He says, “Surround yourself with good people and treat them well, as they are the backbone of your success. Without them, you are nothing.”
When recruiting, Ross ensures that he or Saffire’s Assistant General Manager speaks with every candidate to ensure that they will fit into the culture and that they are good people. “Skills, while important, are not everything. You can teach skills, but you cannot teach personality or desire,” tells Ross.
The Passionate Leader
At the age of 17, Ross Boobyer started in the hospitality industry as a porter at Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour, where he worked for five years, eventually completing a hotel management traineeship. He then moved to the Kimberley region in the far north of Western Australia for what he thought would be an eight-month contract and a break from city living in Sydney.
That was 18 years ago, and he had not returned to Sydney or any other city. Commenting on this, he says, “Moving to El Questro in the Kimberley region opened my eyes to the possibilities of living and working in some of the most remote, beautiful, and iconic regions that this beautiful country of ours has to offer.” He often jokes that he has been able to forge a career by living and working in some of the most desirable holiday destinations in Australia.
Ross is most proud of the team he has created and their achievements. “They are on the coalface, and any recognition that we receive is theirs and theirs alone; without them, it would just be me in a $50million facility, and I assure you, this would not be accoladed,” he claims.
This year the Hotel has won both the AHA’s Best Deluxe Accommodation and also the Gold in the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards for 5 Star Accommodation. As a twelve-year-old property, to win both of these awards in the same year is a phenomenal achievement.
Awards and Recognitions
- Australian Hotels Association Awards 2022 ‘Best Deluxe Accommodation’
- GOLD medallist for the 5 Star Accommodation at the 2021 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards
- Tasmanian Tourism Awards Gold medallist 2021 for the 5 Star Accommodation category
- Condé Nast 2021 Readers’ Choice Award for Australia and the South Pacific #9
- Tasmanian Hospitality Association Awards for Excellence 2019 “Best Deluxe Hotel Accommodation”
- Tasmanian Hospitality Association Awards for Excellence 2019 “Accommodation Venue of the Year – Regional”
- Tasmanian Tourism Awards Winner 2018 “Luxury Accommodation”
- Tasmanian Hospitality Association Awards for Excellence 2018 “Best Deluxe Hotel Accommodation”
- QANTAS Australian Tourism Awards Winner 2017 “Luxury Accommodation”
- Tasmanian Hospitality Association Awards for Excellence 2017 “Best Fine Dining in Tasmania”
- Tasmanian Hospitality Association Awards for Excellence 2016 “Best Deluxe Accommodation in Tasmania”
- Luxury Travel Magazine Gold List 2016, Best Australian Boutique Property, Villa or Lodge
- Tasmanian Tourism Awards Winner 2015 “Luxury Accommodation”
- Boutique Hotel Awards Winner 2015 “World’s Best Relaxation Resort”
- Australian Hotels Association National Awards for Excellence 2015 “Best Deluxe Accommodation”
- Boutique Hotel Awards Winner 2014 “World’s Best Boutique Hotel”
- Andrew Harper Grand Awards Winner 2014
- Australian Hotels Association “Best Resort-Style Accommodation 2013”
- Tasmanian Hospitality Association Awards for Excellence 2013 “Best Deluxe Accommodation”
- Tasmanian Tourism Awards Winner 2012 “Luxury Accommodation”
- Australian Hotels Association Award for Best Resort-style Accommodation 2012
- Tasmanian Tourism Awards Winner 2011 “Luxury Accommodation”
- Listed as world’s top newly opened hotel readers of Luxury Travel magazine would most like to visit in their annual Gold List 2011
- Best of Year 2010 award from US magazine Interior Design
- Tasmanian Tourism Awards 2009-10 “Best New Tourism Development”