Think you know John “JP” Oliver, think again….
There’s more to JP Oliver, v.p. and managing director of The Confidante and v.p. of lifestyle – Americas, Hyatt, than meets the eye, so we decided to ask him those comical, personal and telling questions to reveal the man behind the suit.
It goes without saying that JP has seen and stayed in his fair share of hotels, so when he says the Corner Suite at Mt. Kenya Safari Club would be the place where he would want to hang his coat, you know it must be spectacular. JP’s nearly 30-year career in hospitality began at the historic Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Since then, he has held leadership positions at LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels, where he spent 15 years and served as v.p. and managing director of Puerto Rico, and Morgans Hotel Group, where he served as regional v.p. Southeast overseeing the Delano, the Shore Club and Mondrian hotels in South Beach.
Nowadays JP is bringing his extensive management expertise and leadership to The Confidante, a glamorous oceanfront oasis in Miami’s mid-beach neighborhood. But don’t think he spends all of his time behind the luxurious walls of four- and five-star resorts. JP is a true outdoorsman in every since of the word and enjoys dirt biking, fishing, horseback riding, tennis and golf. Still, he can’t travel without one particular piece of technology. What device is that? We’ll let him explain in this installment of our Coffee Time With Industry Vets Q&A series.
Where did you go on your first trip and how old were you?
My first trip was to Breckenridge, Colorado when I was 8 years old. The vista is stunning and the skiing is perfection.
What is your most vivid travel memory?
The most vivid travel memory I have is when I was lucky enough to go on a photo safari in Kenya. Every detail remains ingrained in my mind’s eye—no photos needed.
What was the “Aha” moment that led you into the travel industry?
Everyone always asks what drew me to the travel industry. I think it’s safe to say that when I was 12, I learned that life could be a permanent vacation and never looked back.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
I’ve never been married, but I’ve had my eyes on some amazing destinations if I ever do!
What was your favorite trip you took last year and why?
The best trip I went on last year was to Cabo San Lucas. It’s a one-stop destination for everything I enjoy: dirt bikes, fishing, horses, tennis and golf, not to mention a stunningly beautiful place to visit.
Where would you like to go that you have yet to visit?
My bucket list of places to see is long, but topping that would be Machu Picchu, Peru. I really need to start planning that one!
Do you always buy a souvenir the first time you visit a destination?
If I bought a souvenir every time I traveled somewhere I would have nowhere to live! I actually don’t ever buy souvenirs because the memories I have are far more valuable than any tangible item.
You can tell us – do you collect magnets from the destinations you’ve visited?
A lot of people grab a magnet at destinations, or even the airport they fly in and out of as a last minute reminder of vacations. Not only do I not collect magnets, I don’t even have a refrigerator to put them on!
What do you do to pass the time on the plane ride to your destination?
To pass the time on international, long flights I catch up on my latest read—God bless Kindle!
Who is your favorite travel companion?
My significant other is always the best travel companion.
If there were one hotel room in the world you could call home the rest of your life, which would it be?
If there were one hotel suite I could call home for the rest of my life, the Corner Suite at Mt. Kenya Safari Club would be the place where I would want to hang my coat.
What is the best food you’ve had on a trip? The strangest?
The best food I’ve had on a trip was in Spain. Everything in Barcelona leaves you wanting more. The strangest would have to be anything in Mainland China.
What can’t you travel without?
I can’t imagine traveling without my Kindle—the essentials can all be bought but you can’t put a price on distraction on a long flight.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met while traveling?
I’ve been lucky enough to meet incredible individuals on my travels but the highlight was being paired with Neil Armstrong in a golf tournament; he’s an incredible human being.
Tropical beach or Snowy Mountain?
If I had to choose between snow or sand it’s a snowy mountain without question.
City or countryside?
Living and visiting a city is always fun, but when I need to get away, the countryside.