Brits abroad: Ross Sanders

09 April 2018 by
Brits abroad: Ross Sanders

The general manager at the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort in Sri Lanka was appointed last year. He talks to Katherine Price about Sri Lanka's developing luxury tourism scene, the daily running of the 152-bedroom resort and the opportunities for British expats

What inspired you to work abroad?

I had no reason to leave the UK, but every reason to go and explore the possibilities of life in the sunshine. It was the best decision that I ever made. Initially, it was difficult to adjust to the change in climate, culture, working environment and food, but eventually all of those adjustments became extremely exciting and positive self-development experiences.

What does your day-to-day working life involve?

I am responsible for the full business performance of the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, which includes asset management, financials, guest experience and the welfare of all 400 team members.

A typical day will start at 7.45am with a double espresso in the office, where I tackle emails and read reports before our daily operations briefing at 8.30am. I will then meet with guests at breakfast, walk the resort and greet arriving guests at check-in. Then in the evening it's a quick jog around the resort, I clear my emails and meet with guests during dinner service at each of our three restaurants, before finishing for the day.

What is your favourite thing about living and working in Sri Lanka?

I love the genuine friendliness and natural hospitality of the people. Sri Lanka is still fairly new on the luxury scene and Anantara was the first major international luxury operator to enter the Sri Lankan market, so we have had to develop and pioneer many concepts to help create awareness of the brand and the destination.

Is there anywhere else in the world you would like to work?

I would absolutely love to work in Botswana at some point, out in the pristine, untouched wilderness. It's always been my dream to work in an African game reserve or national park.

Do you miss anything about the UK? Would you ever come back?

Is it easy for British hospitality workers to find a job in Sri Lanka?

I believe that as Sri Lanka continues to develop into a world-class tourist destination and grows the luxury segment of the market there will be increased opportunity for talented British expats.

How has working overseas enhanced your career?

It's absolutely impossible to quantify how much my life has been enhanced and enriched by working and living overseas. I have lived on a small tropical island and on the top of the snowiest mountain in the world, met world leaders and celebrities - and my wife - tasted incredible cuisine, travelled to so many countries and learned from thousands of talented people. I always say that I can choose to go home when I get tired of being away.


March 2017-present 
General manager, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle 
Resort, Sri Lanka

2014-2017 General manager, Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia

2011-2014 Director of business development, YTL Hotels, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2010-2011 Operations manager, Green Leaf Niseko Village, Hokkaido, Japan

2009 Quality manager - operations, the Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2007-2009 Senior management development programme, the Ritz-Carlton 
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2003-2007 Guest relations manager, YTL Hotels, Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia

2006 Guest relations manager, YTL Hotels, Cameron Highlands Resort, Scotland

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