If ever there was a blueprint required for how a general manager should look, sound and behave, Lubosh Barta would be an obvious contender for the prototype. His impeccably tailored outfit, beaming smile and the passion he exudes for his latest project all give the impression of a man who was destined to run grand hotels.
Born into a family of four generations of hoteliers in what was then Czechoslovakia. “Although hospitality was always around me, it was never pushed on me,” he says. Barta took with him the expertise he had absorbed during his early years, rapidly climbed the ranks and by the time he joined Four Seasons Bangkok in 2004 as Food and Beverage Director, he had already been integral to the launch of numerous major hotels throughout the region.
“I immediately fell in love with Thailand,” Barta says. “It’s a country that I deeply respect and connect with.”
It should come as no surprise that he speaks so fondly of the Land of Smiles. After all, Barta married his then girlfriend soon after arriving in Thailand and all three of their children were born in the Kingdom over a decade-long stay, during which he also worked as General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai and Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui.
After trading the tropics for the bright lights of Seoul in South Korea, Barta and his family are delighted to be back in Bangkok, catching up with friends and soaking up the sights — old and new — in the city where their journey began. Barta meanwhile believes Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Bangkok at Chao Phraya River, which he recently joined as General Manager, is one of the most ambitious projects both he and the global luxury brand have undertaken.
“The aim is to create a truly unique ultra-luxury urban resort experience and that’s how we will position it, with the inclusion the largest residential project we have in the world,” he says. “As a hotelier, this is a dream for me. It combines a country, city and project that I love with the brand I love working for, so it all comes together.”
Eateries at the hotel will range from a casual Italian bistro on the riverside to an upmarket French brasserie and plush Chinese restaurant, Barta believes will all become fashionable dining spots in their own right.
“For the local community, it’s wonderful to have such an array of restaurants, spas and other offerings that will quickly be embraced as a new social space,” he says. “With any iconic project like this, it will become a destination on its own.”
But with such an illustrious array of lifestyle amenities to preside over, never mind the 300-key hotel and 366 residential units, is there a single theme that Barta wants residents, guests and walk-in visitors to take away from this new riverside destination?
“We hope people will once again appreciate the energy that is generated by the river,” he says. “It brings a flow through Bangkok and creates what the city traditionally was, and what it will become again. A city with endless opportunities for discovery.”