About Justin King – GM of Saffire
Justin has spent a large portion of his career refining his experience in luxury hotels around the world. After graduating with a bachelor of Commerce specialising in Hotel Management, Justin began his management career in Singapore before moving to London where he worked with Morgans Hotel Group, a hospitality company widely credited as the founders the modern boutique hotel. After six years with the company, he rose through the ranks to become the Front Office Manager of both St Martins Lane Hotel and the Sanderson Hotel.
In 2008, Justin moved to the Middle East and held a number of senior management positions throughout the Emirate of Qatar. His last position before coming to Saffire was in Fiji where he held the position of General Manager at the Blue Lagoon Beach Resort. Under his tenure the property was awarded the Fijian Prime Minister’s Tourism Exporter of the Year Award in 2011 and the Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Award for 2012.
Since joining Saffire, on the Freycinet Peninsula in Tasmania, the property has been awarded three consecutive AHA awards as Australia’s best resort, as well as a wealth of commercial and professional awards including “Best Gastronomic boutique hotel in the world” at the world Boutique Hotel Awards. Most recently Saffire has been awarded the title of best luxury hotel by Australian Traveller magazine, and best unique property by Luxury Travel Magazine.
Justin is a board member of his local regional tourism organisation, and is married to Melanie. While originally from Victoria, he is very proud to call himself Tasmanian, living only three minutes drive from Saffire in the township of Coles Bay (four minutes with traffic).
How long have you been in the travel industry?
I have been in hotels for 15 years
When did you get the travel bug?
When I was a teenager I went on a school trip to Indonesia. I became convinced at that time that my career needed to have an ability to travel.
What inspired you to go into the hotel business?
Hotels always fascinated me. I used to sit in large inner city hotels when I was young and just watch what people were doing. I would become fascinated as to what happened behind the “staff only” doors. I particularly enjoy the science behind providing the predominantly intangible product of “exceptional service”.
What are the top five activities that you recommend people do when they stay at Saffire?
Marine Farm- an iconic experience, it is so much more than just an oyster farm visit. I won’t give much away, but it is a surreal experience.
Schouten Island Cruise – home to a fur seal colony, Schouten island also has an abundance of bird and aquatic life. Our sensational custom-built vessel takes you there in style and comfort. Our remote control submarine camera adds a unique dimension to the experience.
Wineglass Bay lookout Walk – Freycinet National Park was Australia’s first national park for a reason. It is unique and stunning. Walking through it with one of our guides you will view over what is this year the seventh best beach in the world!
Quad Bike Tour – Far from being a rev head only experience, the quad bikes allow us to go where few can. Friendly beach is a 27km expanse of one of the whitest beaches you will ever see – and you will have it all but to yourself at the end of a fun quad bike journey.
Connection to Country – Mick Quilliam, one of Saffire’s indigenous guides will take you on a journey through time to show you the unique connection that Tasmania’s indigenous population continue to have with the area and have had for 30 000 years!
What are your favourite restaurants in Hobart?
I love Henry’s restaurant for being creative and inventive with their menus. They are constantly evolving, and always provide genuine and gracious service.
MeWah is an exceptional choice. Chinese cuisine, it has the best wine list in town!
What are your favourite destinations outside of Tasmania?
I love central Java. The warmth of hospitality, and uniqueness of culture are very immersive against a rugged volcanic landscape.
What do you think is the ‘finest thing’ about Saffire?
Two things. The fact that we are given the time and ability to really get to know and understand each guest. Many larger hotels claim to have this, but we are able to tailor service to each individual guest above any other property that I have had the pleasure of working in, and is a true luxury among Australian properties.
Understated elegance. I love that a guest can arrive, and be completely free to be themselves and want for nothing. Saffire can make two days feel like two weeks. I believe this to be the true definition of luxury.