#OverACupOfTealeaves: A Taste of Luxury with John WashkoDec.18.2014
“It takes me out of that chaos in which we live, in the day-to-day, and I guess that is why I like to gravitate towards luxury.”– John Washko, Vice President of Operations at Auberge Resorts
John Washko is the Vice President of Operations at Auberge Resorts and has been a good friend of Tealeaves since 2001. With over 30 years of experience in the luxury hospitality industry, John initially started his career in film production only to discover that his passion for taking care of others surpassed any further ambitions in pursuing the silver screen. Hospitality would eventually be his life. His daily quest: providing memorable experiences that are never forgotten at Auberge Resorts.
Tealeaves had the opportunity to sit down with him over a cup of tea on the topic of “luxury”. Watch, read, sip and relax with John’s perspective on luxury. Here are some highlights:
· NOT JUST ABOUT “THE BEACH” ·
Tealeaves: What do you think makes an experience luxurious?
John: There’s going to be a certain count, there’s going to be a certain quality to the cotton whether it’s organic or whether it’s Egyptian, where it’s produced, and above and beyond that for luxury I think it’s about variety. It’s about understanding that the luxury experience is not just about going – if I’m going to a beach, its not just about a beach experience, what else is offered around that beach, what do they provide, what does that property hotel resort provide to me that gives me more than just lying on a beach, and that’s what I look for and that’s what luxury is to me, it is providing that activity, that ability to do much more than just relax, if I have my family what are you going to do for my children, what are you going to do for my partner, my wife, my children, that gives them five-six-seven-ten days of “newness” of being able to walk away and say “wow”, I feel good.
· MAKE THE JOURNEY WORTHWHILE ·
Tealeaves: Why do you think it’s so important to give guests a memorable experience?
John: I think it’s important for someone to have that memorable experience because you spend a lot of time, we spend a lot of time, investing money, time, energy to get to locations, to relax and coordinate getting there, and it’s important because if I don’t have that memory to take back, I’m probably not going to go back. So I really think it’s what sets the best apart from those that are very good. If I remember that, that stays with you a very long time and that garners loyalty.
Tealeaves: With all your travels and hotel openings, what would you say has been your most memorable luxury experience?
John: The ones that have always stayed close to me that I have remembered and I will remember are those ones where you have that one-on-one time with the individuals that are taking care of you. So I’ve had not a lot, but I can count probably on two hands, the times of which people, staff, a company, a certain property have come forward provided me with something very very unique and personalitized, and that’s the key…If they know me, and I can walk away saying that “Wow, they understand who I am, they understand my needs, my wants,” that is a memorable experience. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, you go back.
· KINDRED SPIRITS ·
Tealeaves: Since we’ve known each other for so long, we would love it if you could talk about our history.
John: Of course! [Tealeaves and I] have known each other for a very long time. I’ll be honest, thirty years in the hospitality industry, and certainly most of that time focused on food and beverage. I have to be honest to tell you, I was never really a tea drinker. I am more of a coffee guy. It was up to the time I […] was introduced to Tealeaves, that it did change my approach to beverage.
I always approached tea as being somewhat of an average beverage, and I didn’t give it much thought, and when I was introduced to Tealeaves and I learned the variety and certainly the quality that [they] provide, which, for me, that’s probably the most important. The way in which [they] approach [their] company, [their] professionalism, the way in which [they] train our staff and what [they] deliver, at the end the result, it’s for our guests isn’t it. They walk away with a “wow” and that makes my life easier.
“In today’s world, particularly the health-conscious quest that I think everyone is looking for, Tealeaves provides a very unique and special approach to providing a beverage that’s not only different, but I think helps in our day-to-day life.”– John Washko, Vice President of Operations at Auberge Resorts
And you know I did learn a lot about tea! What I was doing wrong, how you store it, how you brew it, at what temperature, the medicinal purposes, which I found quite interesting, and in today’s world, particularly the health-conscious quest that I think everyone is looking for, Tealeaves provides a very unique and special approach to providing a beverage that’s not only different, but I think helps in our day-to-day life. So I’m a bit more shall I say I am quite a bit more of a drinker than I was in the years past and that’s due in great part to Tealeaves and what you do. It’s true!”