Q&A with Khun Moo, Co-Owner and Managing Director of The Slate Hotel in Phuket

Her personal touches are now evident throughout The Slate – from the stylish décor of the award-winning Coqoon Spa to the aesthetic of the suites and the smiling staff. 

Prakaikaew Na-Ranong (a.k.a Khun Moo), co-owner and Managing Director of The Slate hotel in Phuket, is the epitome of the modern-day business woman. She owns her own jewellery line, INIS, curates art for The Slate’s on-site gallery, Shades, manages all sourcing for boutique store, Stockroom, oversees operations at the hotel… all while being a mum of two!

As the daughter of legendary hotelier Wichit na Ranong, who is known as Phuket’s ‘Father of Tourism’, Khun Moo was born into a family of discerning hospitality professionals. As a result, she developed a passion for the industry at a young age, which inspired her to study hotel management at École Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland. She then furthered her experience in luxury hospitality with a stint at the InterContinental hotel in Paris and Four Seasons hotel in Bangkok, before forming a partnership with her father to run The Slate in Phuket.

Khun Moo shared more about her experience in hospitality, travel and style as well as her personal tips for juggling business and family with LadyBoss.

I’d definitely like to thank my father being a great source of inspiration when it comes to the hospitality industry. It was through him that my love for hotels, service and design first started.

Q: What can one expect in their stay at The Slate Phuket?

A: A luxuriously-crafted resort set beside the sheltered shores of Nai Yang Beach and cradled by Sirinat National Park, The Slate is an all-suite and villa hotel, offering 177 accommodation choices, seven exquisite Private Pool Villas, eight dining venues, three swimming pools, an award-winning spa and a host of other facilities and services across a 35-acre landscape. The property offers something for everyone – whether it’s a honeymooning couple or a family with young children, there are restaurants and activities to keep all types of travellers occupied, and at ease throughout their stay.

Q: Tell us more about the design inspiration behind the resort?

A: The Slate is a Bill Bensley designed masterpiece inspired by Phuket’s tin mining heritage. It is the only hotel in Phuket that really pays homage to the island’s past, with industrial, yet chic, touches throughout.

Q: Before The Slate, tell us more about your experiences in hotel management.

A: I studied management at École Hôtelière in Lausanne, Switzerland, before starting my career at the InterContinental hotel in Paris. I then moved back to Thailand to work at the Four Seasons hotel in Bangkok, before joining my father to run The Slate. I felt it was important for me to get my own experience and develop my own perspective on the global standards of luxury hospitality and hotel management before returning to Thailand to work with my father.

Q: How do you stay ahead in the hospitality industry?

A: I truly believe that you can never be complacent in the hospitality industry. As much as you may love your product and brand, you need to always believe you can be doing better to enhance the guest experience. This comes down to understanding your guests needs, continuously listening to them and anticipating what they need before they need it! We are always evolving at The Slate and making adjustments along the way to cater to the needs of discerning travellers.

I also travel often myself so I’m very aware of the way the hospitality industry is developing on a global scale. I think it’s important to be aware of what’s happening internationally in order to stay relevant and to keep one step ahead.

I truly believe that you can never be complacent in the hospitality industry. As much as you may love your product and brand, you need to always believe you can be doing better to enhance the guest experience.

Q: What is your business philosophy?

A: It’s all about maintaining a good balance between my professional and personal life. The lines are often blurred in the hospitality industry, for example I often travel with my children, but I make sure to carve out enough time to dedicate to both work and family separately to maintain a good balance.

Q: What motivates you personally?

A: The feeling of gratitude and fulfillment you get from achieving something you’ve worked very hard at.

Q: Your favourite travel destination, besides Phuket?

A: Madrid! I fell in love with the vibrancy of the city many years ago to the point that I started to learn Spanish to be able to enjoy it even more! I love the contrast of experiences in Madrid, from the delicious tapas to beautiful walks, the dancing or even watching a bull fight. There’s such a positive energy, which draws me back a few times every year.

Q: What are your travel essentials?

– A good piece of statement jewellery from INIS that will take me from meetings in the daytime to elegant dinners at night

– Gym gear, as working out is my remedy for combatting jetlag

– And of course, a good moisturizer – I could never travel without one! I particularly like the freshness of the body moisturizer from our in-house collection, which was customized using locally sourced tropical flowers

Q: What’s next for you in terms of business?

A: I’m working on developing the sub-brands of The Slate like Black Ginger, an incredible Thai restaurant at the hotel that I’d love more people around the world to be able to enjoy.

Q: Who would you like to thank for your success?

A: I’d definitely like to thank my father being a great source of inspiration when it comes to the hospitality industry. It was through him that my love for hotels, service and design first started. He is also one of the most hardworking men I know, so I learned a lot about the dedication it takes to achieve success.

My grandmother was also a guiding mentor throughout my early years, who taught me many lessons that I continue to live by today, and my Mother is a grounding force who has been the strongest support in every way throughout my career.

Written By

Shikin Hamid is Staff Writer for LadyBoss and a digital marketing executive for a fast-growing training company in Singapore. She studied Psychology and Human Resource and had stints in humanitarian, marine and automotive companies. In her spare time, you can find her whipping up delicious cuisines, swimming and travelling. She aspires to reach out to communities using social media platforms.

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