LUANG PRABANG, Laos — After more than a year on the edge of the archaeological wonderland that is Bagan, Jon Bourbaud has relocated to one of Southeast Asia’s most alluring destinations — Luang Prabang — where he’ll take charge of the Apple Tree Group’s properties in Laos.
As an area general manager, Bourbaud’s responsibilities will center on the Villa Maly in the city’s historic royal of enclave; will range up and down the Mekong on Apple Tree’s one-of-a-kind dinner cruise, the Nava Mekong; and will extend as far as Kamu Lodge, an eco-outpost 35 kilometers upriver.
A seasoned Southeast Asia hand, the 47-year-old Australian native has been managing leading heritage, golf, beach and city properties across southeast Asia for more than a decade.
He holds a diploma in Hotel Management and a certificate in Catering from Melbourne’s prestigious William Angliss Institute. He began his career as an executive chef for Novotel hotels in Auckland and Brisbane, and spent a year as executive chef at the Mercure Hotel Sydney before uprooting for Vietnam in 2001.
From 2001 to 2013, Bourbaud scaled the ranks of senior management in leading hotels across Vietnam — from F&B director of the Duxton Hotel Saigon, to executive assistant manager of the Novotel Phan Thiet Ocean Dunes & Golf Resort, to general manager of the five-star Sofitel Dalat Palace Hotel.
He then worked as general manager of La Veranda Resort in Phu Quoc in Vietnam for three years before moving to Myanmar to join the Apple Tree Group’s Bagan Lodge, an 85-room boutique hotel in the former kingdom of Bagan.
The Apple Tree Group operates three properties in Laos: Villa Maly, a boutique hotel in Luang Prabang that was built as a royal residence in the 1920s; Kamu Lodge, a unique eco-lodge experience anchored by 20 safari tents on the banks of the Mekong river, two-and-a-half hours upstream from Luang Prabang; and the Nava Mekong, a dining cruise, which offers traditional Lao lunch and dinner options across the Mekong.
Bourbaud is conversant in English, French and Vietnamese.