Mendes Cavin, founder and CEO of Miner’s Hospitality believes that people will pay more for great experiences and memories.
by Percy Roxas.
When Mendes Orisis Cavin came to Thailand from Dubai in 2009 with his now-wife Maypreeya, most hotels wouldn’t accept his application. But he didn’t give up. And if luck played a big role in taking him to where he is today, he apparently deserves it.
“I was either too experienced,they say, or overqualified,” Mendes recalls. He didn’t get a job for three months. And he remembers doing visa runs to extend his stay, until immigration told him he would not be able to get in anymore after his last visa run. “I was under extreme pressure as you can imagine,” he says, “and me and my wife were basically already saying goodbye to one another; it was very sad.”
Mendes was about to fly back to Switzerland on a Monday, but on Friday, his phone rang and the lady on the other side said, “would you be interested to introduce yourself. Can you come at 4 o’clock?” Of course, he said, “Yes.”
InVision Hospitality offered him a job as hotel manager at the Glow Silom — and the rest is history. That started Mendes on the path where he is now today, the founder and CEO of Miner’s Hospitality, a Singapore based one-stop hotel development company with a hotel management office in Thailand.
After Glow Silom, Mendes was promoted to general manager with the mission to rebrand Hotel Selection Pattaya to Glow Pattaya. He was then promoted to director of operations for another brand under the same company with properties in China, Sri Lanka, Nepal. But, because of creative differences and an enterprising spirit, he left the company at the end of 2013, and started Miner’s Hospitality. “We design, we rebrand, and manage hotels,” he says of Miner’s. “The Monttra is the first hotel we built, our first jewel!”
“We thought we had a great idea,” he explains his decision in founding Miner’s. “After my previous experiences, I thought why not focus on managing individual hotels where owners can have their own brand without sacrificing on service and product quality?
Unfortunately, they ran out of funds not long after starting, “to the point where we had to decide whether to go back to our old jobs or try again but do better this time,” he says.
“I have always wanted to be in Thailand,” says the Swiss native who graduated from Glion Institute of Higher Education, which last year was awarded the world’s best hotel school. Mendes moved to Pattaya to look for opportunities. “To make money because that’s what we needed,” he says. “We have family in Pattaya so we moved here for matters of ease.”
With his wife, whose background is in F&B, Mendes started a streetcar restaurant business. “We realized that we do not have to do something crazy, just something different; and after four months, it became a legitimate success. After six months on theroad we had enough money to build a proper restaurant, which today is known as May’s Urban Thai Dine, and I had time to refocus on Miner’s Hospitality.”
Perhaps the most auspicious date was October 2015, when they met the owner of The Monttra. “I received a call one day with a succinct message: “Call this number: it might do something for you, or maybe not, but just call.
After hesitating a bit, he did make the call. A very nice gentleman answered and said, ‘I have a property and I’d like to make something out of it. I’m here in Pattaya at moment, can you come?’” So he went.
When he first saw the land where The Monttra stands now, he instinctively knew its potential. “When I walked in and saw the beauty of this land – it was literally magical for me — I knew it had so much potential,” he says. “We must do something exceptional here, I said. That’s how The Monttra started.”
The four-rai area of land was a veritable private estate. There was no restaurant, no lobby, no landscaping, and no pool. “You come here in this run-down jungle and you will end up with mosquito bites all over your face,” he says. “Today, it is paradise.”
The first thing that caught him was the beautiful tree canopy. “I knew we have to preserve them; we have to build around them, and we did.”
The original plan was to build a three-four star hotel but as they developed the project, “it just got bigger and bigger,” he says, “and that’s how it is today – a luxury boutique resort, probably the last magical sanctuary in Pattaya.”
Today, Mendes sees The Monttra as a realization of a dream. “I have always wanted to do something, in some place where people can find peace as they would in Samui or Phuket. Being in Pattaya but relatively still out of it – we knew we have something here at The Monttra.”
What makes The Monttra such a success? “One, location,” says Mendes. “Our location is unique, nobody has it. Second, we are a fresh product. The combination of contemporary elements and Thai culture worked very well within our environment. Third, we have introduced services that have never been seen in Asia before, like the soap concierge and people love them!”
Naturally his goal for The Monttra is very high. “We wanted to be awarded as the best boutique hotel next year,” he says. “And we are trying to become a truly green hotel.”
In the meantime, Miner’s Hospitality is currently developing a couple of hotel projects with a total of 500 rooms combined, both of which are very unique in their own ways, once again with services never seen before in Thailand. A little hint — get ready for The Lifestyle Manager!