The new chief executive of the five-star resort group Anam is about living in a new country after spending more than two decades in Malaysia, what Vietnam has to offer the contemporary traveler, and his idea of ​​the perfect weekend getaway.

Choice: Congratulations on being named General Manager of The Anam Group. Tell us a bit about your property and its location in Vietnam.
Lawrence Myter:
The Anam is one of Vietnam’s top resorts and the first truly luxurious property in Cam Ranh, an up-and-coming pristine coastal destination that’s removed from the hustle and bustle of nearby Nha Trang. The resort is easily accessible from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, with many daily flights, including a direct AirAsia from Kuala Lumpur. It will take you only 15 minutes by car to reach us from Cam Ranh International Airport. Once here, you will experience how Anam’s design is inspired by Vietnam’s bygone Indochinese era and the resort’s romantic appeal is inspired by that particular era, which evokes a nostalgic tone with stylish rooftops imperial, lanterns, potbellied water vessels, decorative pools, custom mosaic floors and stone walkways. We are guided by an “Indochinese charm, modern luxury” approach to accommodation, blending colonial-era elements and warm Vietnamese service with all modern comforts and conveniences.

So, what would you recommend to the first visitor to Anam?
Start the day watching the sunrise from the beach. Residents are active as early as 4:45 a.m., exercising, swimming and running on the beach as part of their daily pre-work routine. You can then enjoy an outdoor yoga session with Umesh, our yoga guru, at 6am. Visit our farm to collect chicken and duck eggs, pick fresh vegetables from our garden and bring them to our chef, who will use the ingredients to prepare your breakfast. Then relax by the pool with a good book or play a round of golf at the Greg Norman designed KN Golf Club course just 10 minutes away.

Savor a light bite of tuna sashimi in our Indochine restaurant before a spa session. To feel truly pampered, try the signature Bamboo Therapy, where bamboo canes are gently rolled over the body, kneading and gliding in rhythmic motion and melting away any muscle tension. Bamboo provides a harmonizing and balancing effect, leaving you in a state of extreme relaxation. Dinner should be at our Lang Viet restaurant for authentic and delicious Vietnamese cuisine. Lang Viet also offers Mama’s Cooking nights every two weeks, where the mothers of five of our employees cook up a family feast before your eyes. End the day with a Saigon Negroni (Song Cai dry gin infused with Vietnamese coffee, Campari, red vermouth and a dollop of Limoncello) at the Saigon Bar, alongside music from our resident pianist and singer.

You have spent more than 20 years of your career in Malaysia. What prompted the move?
I had the good fortune to work for YTL Hotels for a total of 26 years, 23 of which were in Malaysia. It was a professional challenge, with new projects to come, contributing to and witnessing firsthand the astronomical growth the company has achieved. But I just needed something new: a new challenge, a new country, a new company, and to be in unfamiliar, unfamiliar territory. I needed to get out of my comfort zone. It was not easy, especially when YTL has taken care of me and my family for so long and so well. But it was the right time to make a fresh start. Moreover, I have been a nomad all my life. I was born in France, spent seven years of my childhood in Italy, then moved to Switzerland for 18 years, followed by Saudi Arabia, Thailand and then Malaysia.

Hoteliers have great work stories to tell. What are yours?
Welcoming Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise to Zermatt for their honeymoon in 1992, participating in outdoor restoration work at the King’s Palace in Jeddah, and being part of the Global Leadership Forum at Pangkor Laut, where Luciano Pavarotti performed before 300 guests selected at Emerald Bay in 2002. The experiences have been many and mind-blowing, but one of the highlights is seeing former young department heads, who worked for me, now blossom as directors generals in international companies. This is the greatest professional satisfaction for me. You tend to believe that you have contributed a little to their career.

What was your childhood ambition, though?
You mean, in addition to becoming a rock star? Seriously, I always knew I wanted to work in hospitality and tourism. I see it as a great way to travel the world and experience different countries and cultures. Asia has always been on my radar in one way or another, and looking back, things have worked out pretty much the way I wanted.

What advice would you give to people who want to succeed in the hospitality industry?
Be open to the world and passionate about serving people.

What are you reading right now?
by Christopher McDougall Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen. Just before Covid hit I got back into running and now start my day at 5am, running around 50km a week. The book was recommended to me by Luke Hurford, a dear ex-colleague and himself a really serious top runner.

Your love of music is well known. What would be the top five songs on your playlist?
The Beatles would already fill all five places but I’m also always happy to hear Annie’s Song by John Denver, do i wanna know by Arctic Monkeys, brown sugar by the Rolling Stones and Stay on the line from Toto, one of my favorite bands of all time. I saw them about seven times live!

Do you play music yourself, if we’re not mistaken?
I’ve been playing bass since I was 13 and was in a band with my brother Christophe (guitar and vocals) and Roger, a faithful friend since 1974. We still play together, not often, but we we do. We feel like teenagers again when this happens. In Phuket in 1996, however, I had the chance to play on stage alongside Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran. I also had the opportunity to jam with INXS drummer Jon Farriss. Music never paid the bills, but it’s just a fabulous pastime.

What other epic gigs have you attended then?
Whitesnake, with Ozzy Osbourne in the first part, in Lausanne (1982); Toto in Paris (1990); The Rolling Stones in Madrid (2015); several Guns n’ Roses concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York; any of the three Paul McCartney concerts I attended; and Brian Adams. I’ve seen Bryan Adams many times since 1987 — in Lausanne, Paris and Zurich — but his 2017 concert in Kuala Lumpur was memorable because I got to meet him backstage afterwards.

Where do you plan to travel next?
This year has just been spent traveling nearby: to Hanoi, Saigon, Danang and a trip to Phuket. My to-do list for 2023 has Bhutan – that and a long weekend in Luang Prabang.

Describe your idea of ​​a perfect weekend.
The answer is a bit boring. Usually my wife and I tend to stay home and spend time together. My wife is an excellent cook, so the perfect weekend is to eat homemade food at home. We tend to see a lot of people during the week, so weekends are best enjoyed cocooning and avoiding crowded places. This has long been our routine before Covid started.

This article was first published on July 18, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.