PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS — The brass bell adorning the entryway of The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, rings mighty at the hands of Bahamian Kristen Whyly, returning home as resort manager.
After more than a decade abroad delighting Four Seasons guests in Thailand, Hawaii and, finally, Washington, DC, the native-born Bahamian returns to his roots.
The Ocean Club is the seventh Four Seasons address for Whyly, whose career path has tended more towards resorts but has included city hotels. He first arrived at the Ocean Club on a task force assignment while serving as hotel manager of Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC.
The differences between the two operations were distinct, he remembers, and he drew from his own experiences to lead the resort team in finding its Four Seasons footing. It was eye-opening in terms of importance of development and creating connections with individual teams.
He noted: “As we keep innovating and moving forward, those connections continue to grow.”
Four Seasons’ renowned service standards are just the start for Whyly, who keeps them displayed on his desk, adorning the white sands and blue surf of Paradise Island.
General Manager John Conway echoed Whyly’s attention to service detail.
“A pedigreed hotelier, Kristen’s ability to translate and imbue empathy with guests and staff alike is precisely why he’s the ideal fit for resort manager,” Conway said. “He works with the team to build a strong foundation of exceptional delivery and master-craft hospitality that enable us to drive forth our business goals and marketing strategies.
“Together, and with our division heads, we are well-equipped to navigate a strong recovery and ensure the world knows that we are very much open for business.”
While The Ocean Club, Paradise Island, and Nassau were fortunately unaffected by the storm, Whyly’s family home, built with his father on Great Abaco, was among those struck by Hurricane Dorian on September 1, 2019. He was among the resort leaders and first to volunteer with World Central Kitchen of Chef José Andrés to prepare food for disaster relief.
While the need for relief in affected areas is ongoing, Whyly is working to showcase the culture and enthusiasm of The Bahamas and the Ocean Club. As the festive season approaches, he is working on a new experience that brings guests directly into the national pride that is Junkanoo.
Meanwhile, look for Whyly walking his black Labrador, Samson, or leading Crossfit sessions with the team and guests.
“Seeing people come together to get better is one of the things I most enjoy,” he said.