Glenorchy’s Blanket Bay Lodge might be a bit isolated but its new boss is used to far more remote locations.
Brent Hyde – who takes over tomorrow from the lodge’s first general manager, Philip Jenkins – has spent the past six-and-a-half years running a 45-room, five-star hotel in the isolated Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.
The 57-year-old New Zealander has also worked as a fly fishing guide and run luxury boats and a lodge in Alaska.
After almost 37 years in hospitality, Hyde says managing the internationally-renowned Blanket Bay is one of the only posts he’d come back to NZ to take at this stage of his career.
“Funnily enough, we were here in January and my wife said, ‘you know, Queenstown’s a place I could live in’.”
Four months later, he was contacted about the Blanket Bay vacancy by an agent he used 15 years ago to employ some chefs when he was running a luxury lodge near Nelson.
Ironically, that was the same year Blanket Bay opened.
“I watched it being built – it was a leader, particularly in the South Island.”
Hyde says Jenkins is a legend in the industry.
“I’ve been fortunate to follow him a little bit over the years, we’ve been in the industry around the same era, known many of the same people and shared many guests over the years.”
Jenkins, who’s shifting to the Bay of Islands, believes Blanket Bay owners Pauline and Tom Tusher couldn’t have got luckier with his successor.
“You’ve got a NZer, you’ve got a fishing guide, you’ve got somebody that knows about the lodges of NZ, he knows about the luxury industry and he enjoys living in this sort of area.”
Hyde says he started his career picking up empty bottles in a Hamilton pub frequented by a notorious gang.
“It has been the school of hard knocks, but patience has paid off and then opportunities come.”
Hyde is already feeling re-energised during the handover.
“Tom and Pauline, like Philip, give you a sense of ownership.
“One thing that’s clearly obvious at Blanket Bay is the professional team – they’re first-class, and I’m really lucky to inherit that.
“The industry’s been extremely kind to me over the last 37 years.”