Tom Butler says the timing of his job offer to run Glenorchy’s exclusive Blanket Bay Lodge couldn’t have been more fortuitous.
The 40-year-old, who took over as general manager two weeks ago, had worked at the luxury Grasmere Lodge, near Arthur’s Pass, Canterbury, for the past 20 years, leasing it for the last 15.
He’d just learnt its owners were converting it into a private residence, for their use, and was mulling over his future, over a beer, at Auckland Airport’s Koru Lounge.
In Butler’s words, Blanket Bay GM Brent Hyde “rang me up and told me what to do”.
Hyde had taken over at Blanket Bay in 2014, after running a five-star hotel in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan for the previous six-and-a-half years.
He’d got an “unexpected opportunity” to return to Bhutan to finish some projects he’d initiated, and knowing Butler since he’d started at Grasmere, asked if he’d like to take over.
Butler says he’s delighted to have been handed the reins.
“Properties like this, the management of them doesn’t come round all that often.
“I’ve come from a rural background, so moving into Glenorchy is terrific, it feels like I’m moving into the city.”
Butler, who’s been joined by his partner and two young children, is also excited about plans by Blanket Bay owners Pauline and Tom Tusher to extend the 13-room lodge.
“Ironically, before [the Tushers] even started building at Blanket Bay, they came and stayed at Grasmere Lodge, back in about 1998.
“They brought their plans with them and I saw what was about to be built, never dreaming that one day I might be at the helm.”