In an exclusive interview, we at Destination had the pleasure of speaking with Fredrik Blomqvist, General Manager of Six Senses Southern Dunes, as he shares insights from his remarkable journey in the hospitality industry.
As a passionate individual, Fredrik’s journey is one of passion and dedication. From his beginnings with luxury hotel brands like Four Seasons to his current role, where sustainability and extraordinary guest experiences are sure to be highlighted, Blomqvist’s career is a clear story of dedication, integrity, and a commitment to the environment.
Can you tell us about your journey in the hospitality industry and how it led you to become the General Manager of Six Senses Southern Dunes?
My journey in the hospitality industry has been quite the adventure, spanning over two decades and taking me to some incredible luxury hotels around the world. I started my career with a strong commitment to giving guests unforgettable experiences, working with brands such as Four Seasons for many years around the globe and now the exciting journey with Six Senses. These diverse experiences shaped me as a global leader and gave me a deeper understanding of different cultures. They were genuine luxury experiences which ultimately refined me as a person and influenced my leadership approach.
One of my favorite quotes by British author and satirist Douglas Adams that has inspired my own leadership styles is “…to give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” So, stepping into the role of a General Manager at Six Senses Southern Dunes feels like the culmination of my passion for hospitality, sustainability, and a desire to create out-of-the-ordinary experiences for guests. The whole ethos of Six Senses, which emphasizes personal well-being, sustainability, and cultural engagement, resonates deeply with me. I am very fortunate to be part of this extraordinary journey with Six Senses Southern Dunes and Red Sea Destination.
Sustainability is a core value of Six Senses. Can you share some of the sustainable practices and initiatives implemented at Southern Dunes to minimize its environmental impact?
Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword at Six Senses Southern Dunes – it’s in our DNA. We have implemented a number of initiatives to minimize our environmental impact. One aspect of this is that we are the first resort in Saudi Arabia to be powered entirely by solar energy. Our commitment extends to waste reduction – we have a strict plastic-free policy and an on-site water plant for still and sparkling water. We have also implemented sustainable food practices by using locally sourced, organic ingredients to create an authentic culinary experience that supports local communities. And because we believe it’s not just about staying with us; it’s about taking a piece of sustainability know-how home, our Earth Lab serves as a hub for innovative ideas, engaging guests in workshops that promote conservation and eco-awareness.
What sets Six Senses Southern Dunes apart from other luxury resorts in the region, and what can guests expect when they visit?
It’s really this seamless blend of heritage, innovation, and sustainability. The resort is a gateway to an undiscovered world, where guests can immerse themselves in Saudi Arabia’s rich cultural heritage. Our aim is to help people reconnect with themselves, others and the world around them. Our resort is dedicated to delivering experiences that are out-of-the-ordinary. From engaging in the art of Sadu weaving to venturing into the Artisan Village and participating in local fishing tours, we hope to create lasting memories for all our guests. Guests can expect more than just a stay, it’s a journey of discovery and adventure that connects them with nature and culture.
Can you share some of the most memorable guest stories or experiences that stand out during your time as General Manager?
Being an avid racing fan, I had the greatest pleasure in having most of the top Formula 1 teams and racing drivers staying with me in Shanghai during the spectacular Shanghai Grand Prix for 6 years. A remarkable experience looking after the world’s elite racing legends.
What are some challenges that you have faced as the General Manager and how have you overcome or handled them?
Being the first hotel at the Red Sea to open is both incredibly exciting and daunting. It’s a chance to set new standards for hospitality while contributing to the evolution of sustainable tourism in the region. We embrace this responsibility with enthusiasm and see it as an opportunity to establish a legacy of excellence and innovation in the heart of the Red Sea.
As a leader in the hospitality industry, what advice would you give to aspiring individuals looking to pursue a career in luxury and sustainable tourism?
My advice for anyone looking to go into luxury and sustainable tourism? Follow your passions. This industry offers incredible opportunities to create lasting impacts on guests and the environment. Maintaining a mindset of continuous learning is also important -sustainable practices and hospitality experiences are always evolving. Find mentors who share your values and can guide you on your journey. And remember, every small effort adds up to create an experience that resonates with guests while preserving our planet for generations to come. Work hard, be open minded, enjoy the present time and believe in yourself as well as the future.