#Feliz43 in La Manga Club: An interview with José Asenjo, General Director of La Manga Club: “Every day is different to the last one here at La Manga Club”
On the 24th October, 43 years ago, the official opening tournament of the then called La Manga Golf Course took place. This tournament lasted several days and was concluded on the 29th October which was the same day that José Asenjo, the General Director of La Manga Club, was born. Coincidence or fate? Strangely enough he also started work here at the Resort in October two years ago and is 43 today!
La Manga Club, 29th October 2015.
Is there any truth in the expression midlife crisis?
Yes, if we look at the concept of crisis as a moment of change. In my case it coincided with a period in my career when I had to decide to make a change after being in the same company for 15 years. It was one of the most important decisions that I think I've ever had to make. I made sure of what I wanted and what I needed, and now, after two years, I can safely say that I made the right decision and that I am in a good place both personal and professional.
What has been your greatest achievement in these two years at the helm of La Manga Club?
I think that in these two years we have begun to reposition the resort where we want it to be, leaving behind a very negative period which the resort had been experiencing since 2009. We have also begun an important cultural change within the company without which the objective of repositioning the new La Manga Club cannot be achieved. A change that is not yet over and needs time and above all, examples of which way we are heading.
Do you remember your first day at La Manga Club?
Yes, I started in a big way, with a board meeting. I arrived here on 29th September, it was a Sunday, and I was given apartment 72. The very next day there was a board meeting. I had to learn the ropes, the company and understand the hotel sector. I had come from the theme park sector which has a lot in common with La Manga Club because it is a great leisure and sport theme park. With me began a new phase with new objectives, we had everything and we had to reposition ourselves and take a fresh new look at the market we were in and what new markets where out there. The new journey for La Manga Club is to create the best leisure and sport residential resort in Europe.
Is there a specific corner of La Manga Club that you particularly like?
I love to walk to La Cala and sit for a while on the beach, the environment surrounding La Manga Club is stunning. I like walking up the Cenizas Mountain to sit on top of the cannons to enjoy the spectacular 360 º views of Calblanque Natural Park, the Mar Menor, the Mediterranean coast and almost as far as Cartagena.
Do you have any obsessions or confessable vice?
Order. I am a maniac with order. I also keep track of everyone's calendars and remind them of what they have to do. It helps me to sleep better as something I suffer from insomnia.
Is there any particular dish or type of food which you go crazy for?
Good rice. I don't mind what type as long as it is made well.
Could you recommend a dish at the Amapola?
It is a very simple one but I love it, Salted Sea Bream. At La Cala, Rice a Banda.
What would you consider is your greatest strength?
I have a lot of patience, and I'm a good team leader (I think!).
Do you have any weaknesses?
I am too much of a perfectionist. Although this has more positive connotations it sometimes has negative ones as well.
Which historical figure do you identify yourself with?
I am not sure I could do anything as big as identify myself with anyone from history, but someone who knew how to convince others about an idea or positive goal and then carry it out. A good leader of teams and individuals. A good boss is a good manager and leader as well as has human qualities. I think I know how to both manage companies and lead so I would identify myself with anyone who was like that.
Wine or Beer?
Both. Depends on the moment.
Beach or Mountains?
I enjoy them both but I feel more comfortable at the beach.
If La Manga Club were a colour and a smell, what would they be?
Green and blue. As for the smell, something that reminds me of the countryside, rosemary, or thyme.
What do you think is the greatest invention in the history of mankind?
It is very difficult to choose. Any of the milestone in medical history, penicillin or discoveries to alleviate cancer which is the great curse of our times. Also the industrial revolution, the change from manpower to machine power. More recently I would say computers and the Internet and the way we access and share information.
What three things would you take to a desert island?
A computer with Internet access, a survival kit that my mother would prepare for me (for sure she would be able to remember more things that I would need) and a good pillow to sleep well.
What is the first thing you notice when you go to a hotel?
Everything from the decoration, uniforms and smells to the attention paid to the guests. The smallest to the biggest details are all important. Arriving at a Hotel should be an experience for any guest.
What qualities do you value most in a person?
That they have human qualities.
How do you think people describe you as a boss?
As an approachable and human boss with common sense, something that is also very important for running a company.
Can you describe La Manga Club with just three concepts?
Impressive, previously unknown and potential.
As a child what did you want to be?
Commercial airline pilot and I almost was.
When you are not working what do you like to do?
I like to spend time with family and friends or even have a bit of alone time. It's important to me to take care of myself and go to the gym.
Can you describe your perfect day?
A day with my friends or family at my house in Madrid. These are things I need to help balance my working life. Lunch with family and dinner with friends. Also just being at home, reading a book, relaxing or watching TV.
And what about a perfect day at La Manga Club?
Any day that is different from the last one, and this is possible here at the resort. Every day can be different and you're always learning. It's definitely not a dull place. For me it is important to go to bed having learned something new and to enjoy your work and the people you work with. I believe that La Manga Club has a great team of market professionals and we all work very well together.