Don Van Staden has moved on from his role of general manager at Gara Rock in Salcombe, almost one year after relaunching the property as a wellness retreat on the coast.
Von Staden first joined Gara Rock in 2017, shortly after the hotel was acquired by Aria Resorts.
According to his Linkedin page, he has now started a new position as hotel director at Knoll House Hotel in Studland, a property said to have inspired Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series off the coast in Dorset.
The 84-bedroom hotel was acquired by a ‘high net worth individual’ in 2017 off a guide price of £15m.
Commenting on Von Staden’s departure, a spokesperson from Gara Rock told Boutique Hotelier: “Following two years with Aria Resorts overseeing the opening and relaunch of Gara Rock, Don Van Staden is moving on to his next hotel opening project. We are delighted to announce the appointment of Aria Resorts hotels director Jeffery Ward who will be managing Gara Rock’s continuing success and other hotel projects within the Aria Resorts portfolio.”
Prior to his role at Gara Rock, Von Staden was front of house manager at Driftwood in Cornwall.
Originally from South Africa, his first taste of hospitality was working in luxury safari retreats in Zambia and Botswana, before returning to the UK in 2016.
Gara Rock relaunched in August 2018 after a significant investment by its owners Aria Resorts to transform the site into a 29-bedroom hotel, restaurant and spa focused on health and wellbeing.
The site was originally on the market in 2015 for £8.5m.