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EXPATRIATES IN MAURITIUS
» 30 Oct 2009
PAUL VAN FRANK

Paul was born in the Congo in 1957, second son to Sylvia and Claude van Frank, who were English and Belgian respectively. He remembers little of that country, as the family moved to Belgium when he was three years old.

Tennis was Paul's first love, though by the age of sixteen he realised that life as a professional player was probably beyond his ability. Not to be discouraged, he qualified at an early age as a tennis coach in England and thereafter worked with the likes of John Newcombe, at the John Newcombe Tennis Academy in San Antonio, Texas, and Harry Hopman, at the Harry Hopman International Tennis Academy in Tampa, Florida.Travelling extensively around the globe and staying in luxurious hotels was part of the job and he helped to coach some of the top fifty ATP professional tennis players.
At sixteen Paul also became financially independent, due to his tennis career.

He put himself through university in Ghent, Belgium, studying law and marketing but continued to work as a tennis coach during the holidays. By the time graduation arrived, he had come to the conclusion that life as a lawyer was not for him and subsequently became manager of a local tennis and squash club.However, the urge to travel once more soon became irresistible...


Moving to Antigua, Paul became Sports and Recreation Manager for the Jolly Beach Resort and thus began is career as an hotelier. Island-hopping the Caribbean over the span of he next thirteen years, he worked as Resident Manager at Club St. Lucia (in St. Lucia) and landed his first job as eneral Manager (GM) working at the Fort Young Hotel in the Commonwealth f Dominica. The Renaissance Aruba Resorts and Casino was his ext port of call and he stayed there for three years working as GM.

Over the years Paul has troubleshot numerous resorts around the world, averting them from financial liability to profitable enterprise. As fate would have it, his last job in the Caribbean brought him full-circle back to the Jolly Beach Resort, this time as GM.
Here he had "The most significant turnaround of my life..." in the form of Wendy, an English lady, solicitor and disgruntled customer staying at his hotel.
Ten days later he proposed to her and they have now been happily married for seventeen years. In 1994 Paul and Wendy moved to the Seychelles, but fourteen years of island life had created a certain amount of ennui for Paul and they soon moved to Istanbul, in Turkey, where he worked as the Managing Director of Kemer Golf and Country Club over the course of the next four and a half years.


In 2000 Paul was tasked with resurrecting the Begawan Giri Estate in Bali (now known as the Como Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri). In 2002 the resort was not only voted number one in the "Top 100 Best of the Best" Conde Nast Readers' Travel Awards, but also "Best Overseas Hotel Spa" - a rare and prestigious achievement indeed. Paul was soon head-hunted to work in Thailand as Chief Operating Officer for a number of properties, but with the main focus on Rayavadee. Located in Krabi, it has played host to films such as "The Man with the Golden Gun" and "The Beach", due partly to the fantastic natural beauty of the location.


Two and a half years later Paul had his first appointment managing a world class "destination spa",Ananda, in the Himalayas. "Destination spas" have been around, at most, for fifteen years and there are only twenty or so well-known, high quality such destinations in the world.They differ from resorts in that the spa is the focus of the establishment and other facilities are supplementary.The Ananda was voted the number one "destination spa" in the world for three years running.

In July of this year, Paul began to apply his skills to "Shanti Ananda Maurice". Specialised in Ayur vedic treatment, there is, "... no other spa of this calibre in the Indian Ocean," and they employ expert therapists, yoga instructors and Ayur vedic doctors, trained in Southern India, to provide a variety of programs such as weight loss and detox treatments, stress management and over sixty types of health therapies. This luxury spa-resort also appeals to couples and honeymooners, as well as families, and provides activities such as tennis tuition, non-motorised water sports and special events for children.

Paul's work is very much the focus of his life at the moment. He works seven days a week and does everything possible to make this resort reach it's full potential. Despite his global success in management, he derives utmost satisfaction from training and developing the people he works with and as an "antique dad", he loves to spend time with his three and a half year old daughter, Phoebe. Ironically, though Paul is great at planning the future of hotels, the path his life takes he tends to leave, at least to some extent, to destiny.

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