The Rees Team
Chief Executive – Mark Rose
Mark brings a wealth of talents and experience to the role as first Chief Executive of The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments Queenstown. Mark has spent his working life in the hospitality industry in the UK, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. He is a trained chef and a specialist in food and beverage services who has managed vineyard and winery operations in addition to his hotel management duties. He came to The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments Queenstown directly from an appointment as General Manager of the prestigious Cameron House on Loch Lomond, one of Scotland’s finest luxury hotels. Two golf courses, five dining rooms, a marina, a spa [voted best spa in Scotland], a staff of 450 – and a guest list that ranges from sport stars and celebrities to the King of Jordan.
Director of Operations - Roman Lee-Lo
Roman was a pre-opening team member of The Rees. He joined the hotel as Reservations Agent and after three months, he was promoted as one of the hotel’s first Duty Manager’s. His passion for creating exceptional guest experiences saw him progress and develop. He was appointed as Chair of the Health & Safety Committee and, had a passion that supported the CEO’s vision of continuing to build people capability. He championed Human Resources which saw the hotel establish its first HR function and various people-focussed initiatives alongside his role of Assistant Front Office Manager. After 5+ years with the team, Roman left to join the HR Team at Hilton Worldwide for almost 2 years, some of his key responsibilities included Recruitment, Health & Safety, Learning and Development and, Payroll.
Roman returned to The Rees in early 2016 as Manager, Special Events and Sales before being appointed as Executive Assistant Manager then Director of Operations. Roman was a founding member of the Human Resources Institute of NZ’s local branch in 2012 and, a past president. Roman is very proud to not only work for an award-winning hotel but to be surrounded by a team of highly experienced hospitality professionals at The Rees.
Executive Chef/Food and Beverage Manager – Ben Batterbury
Our award-winning Executive Chef, Benjamin Batterbury, is a culinary expert with a polished repertoire that includes French and English fusion recipes mingled with the flavors of Madeira on the Portuguese archipelago.Ben has a love of using supreme quality ingredients and seasonal Southern produce he personally sources in Central Otago and intimately handcrafts from the ground up in his kitchen, continually striving for perfection.Since 2009, Ben has been Executive Chef at True South Dining Room, our impeccably stylish flagship restaurant. Ben was promoted to the dual role of Executive Chef/Food & Beverage Manager in July, 2017.
Front Office Manager – Micka McDonald
Micka originally hails from Swan Hill, a small country town in the Victorian Mallee of Australia. Although Journalism and Media Production were her further educated fields, Micka began her hospitality career cleaning rooms in a motel in her home town, in between studying at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst. This lead to waitressing in Bistros and then bar work in nightclubs in Melbourne.
Micka worked as a Night Auditor to finance her Media Production course by day, which in turn, became the topic for most of her assessments as her experience working alone in a 3 star hotel on Elizabeth Street, Melbourne at The Hotel Y, (the old YMCA) was eventful every night. Hospitality lead Micka on her OE as she travelled around Canada working in reception roles in Hotels and Resorts in Jasper National Park and Sun Peaks Resort, then back to Australia to Far North Queensland taking on Supervisor roles at the Radisson Treetops resort and DayDream Island.
Micka was lured to Queenstown to work as a Duty Manager at The Heritage Hotel, before being promoted into the role of Reservations & Yield Manager which she held for 8 years. Micka began working at the Rees Hotel Queenstown in November 2014 as Front Office Manager. She brings 20 years of hospitality experience with her and is still challenged on a day to day basis.
Executive Housekeeper - Sharon Preston
Sharon Preston joined The Rees Hotel, Queenstown as its pre-opening Executive Housekeper in 2008. Prior to joining The Rees, Sharon was Head Housekeeper for over 3 years at the neighbouring Villa Del Lago.
Sharon is originally from Dunedin and is no stranger to the hospitality industry as she worked for CDL at its Kingsgate property in Dunedin for 20 years and, in the last two years as Head Chef. Sharon sets a very high expectation of herself and this reflects in her hard working ethic and the high standard of accommodation at The Rees. Sharon is very proud of the Housekeeping team she has built and she believes in 'treating people just as she’d like her children to be treated'.
Maintenance (Facilities) Manager - Kahn Johnston
Kahn Johnston is originally from the Waikato region in the North Island. Prior to settling in Queenstown with his wife Emma, Kahn did his OE across all but two continents – Antarctica and Africa. As a NZ Registered Electrician, Kahn has 10 years’ experience in residential, commercial, industrial and, marine electrical work. He joined The Rees in 2014 as Electrical Technician and was promoted to assistant manager, then manager over the course of 12 months.
Kahn’s priorities includes being a firm driver of ‘Guest First’ service, overseeing our long-term maintenance programme, managing our environmental foot print initiatives in energy saving across our water usage, recycling, lighting and heating systems.
In addition to ensuring all of our accommodation and IT services are of the highest standard, Kahn also represents our Body Corporate contractor negotiations and service providers.
Kerryn Boniface - Human Resources Manager
Kerryn joined The Rees Hotel in November 2016 in a full-time capacity, and is originally from Invercargill (even making a short cameo appearance in The World’s Fastest Indian). He brings with him an in-depth knowledge of New Zealand employment law as Southland’s very first Labour Inspector (MBIE) as well as previous generalist HR experience from the Invercargill City Council.
More recently, Kerryn has returned to his new home of Queenstown, New Zealand after spending about 6 years in Sydney, Australia. While there he worked for two global people-focused software companies – Halogen Software and Frontier Software, and was involved in implementation projects ranging from Performance systems to Succession, Learning and Talent Acquisition.
In 2016, he was selected as Halogen’s Culture Change Ambassador for Asia-Pacific, and travelled to Ottawa, Canada as part of this. In 2012, he was awarded NSW Consultant of the Year by Frontier Software. Kerryn has a passion for world-class customer service, best practice HR talent leadership and team engagement. Kerryn is committed to attracting, engaging and retaining the top talent available for The Rees Hotel, Queenstown, in order to support all of our 5-Star Departments in providing an exceptional experience for our guests and our team members.
Financial Controller - Lawrence Montague
Lawrence joined The Rees Team in late 2015 and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia & New Zealand. Lawrence has more than 20 years’ experience in hotel finance having worked in the Pacific Islands, Middle East, Australia & NZ.
Lawrence hails from Auckland city and made the move to work at The Rees. A career and lifestyle transition that he enjoys along with the natural surroundings of the Wakatipu after living in urban Auckland. Queenstown is now home to Lawrence and he enjoys mountain biking, animal welfare and furniture restoration and, is also a member of Toastmasters Queenstown - a branch of the worldwide public speaking organisation.
Lawrence is privileged to be part of such a talented group of people at The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments.
The Rees PR Director, Australia - Carloine Davidson
Managing Director of Davidson Communications Pty Ltd
Caroline was born in the U.K. (Portsmouth, England), schooled in Australia and the U.S., studied Psychology at Sydney University, resides in Australia and has lived and worked in the USA.
After a period in international hospitality management for the Greater Union organization, Caroline began her own business, Davidson Communications Pty Ltd, in 1990. This successful public relations and destination marketing business specialises in the leisure, entertainment and tourism industries. In addition, Caroline’s versatile skills and first-class media relationships have been employed as a consultant strategist and a specialist PR expert to benefit a range of clients as diverse as Australian Federal Government programs and launches, national sporting events and festivals, innovative corporate product launches and celebrity profiling.
Caroline was a shareholder and Director of Public Relations for Select Hotels & Resorts International between 2004-2009, successfully re-branding and building an enviable profile for this marketing group for over 50 unique, high-end luxury accommodation experiences across Australia, New Zealand Asia and the Pacific.
Davidson Communications has provided successful brand management, destination representation, public relations strategies, campaigns and initiatives in Australia, New Zealand and Asia-Pacific for a range of high profile international brands and corporate clients such as Rocky Mountain International (representing tourism boards for initially Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota & South Dakota and since July 2015 MT, ND, SD and WY); Visit Denver ( projects); Jackson Hole Mountain Resort/ Jackson Chamber of Commerce (projects); Travelocity ( t/a ZUJI.com.au in Australia); Starwood Hotels, Rendezvous Hotels & Resorts International;
Select Hotels & Resorts International; Hard Rock Cafe; Hard Rock Hotels and Resorts (Asia), The Rees Hotel Queenstown and The Noosa International Food & Wine Festival ( NIFW, QLD) over a twenty five year period.
Caroline Davidson Accreditations, Memberships & Awards & Affiliations
• Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) Annual national award for Best Tourism Board/ Product representation 2016
( for Real America States MT, ND, SD & WY)
• Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) Annual national award for Best Tourism Board/ Product representation 2017
( for The Rees Hotel Queenstown)
• Executive Committee member and Secretary, Visit USA Australia (2015, 2016, 2017)
• Associate Public Relations Member, Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) since 2000
• Visit USA Australia Member, Media Committee chairperson 2016, Trade Expos Committee Chairperson 2017
• Media committee member, IPW16 and IPW 2017 (formerly known as Pow Wow)
• Brand USA AU Advisory Board member 2017
The Rees PR Director, New Zealand - Sarah Sparks
Sarah was born in Marlborough, New Zealand, schooled in Christchurch, New Zealand and completed her tertiary education to post graduate level in Auckland (Bachelor of Commerce – Tourism and Post Graduate Diploma in Communications and Public Relations).
She is a senior public relations practitioner for more than 20 years with a marketing and journalism background gained from various in-house management roles, freelance writing and public relations contracts in the finance/banking/legal, tourism/aviation/leisure/hospitality, sporting, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), information technology, health/beauty, real estate/property development and food industries. She also consults with Māori Iwi and Hapu organisations which is a specialty.
The tourism sector is Sarah’s true passion. After graduation she was employed in public relations and communications positions in Australia and Japan before returning to New Zealand to work for an independent luxury hotel operator before being recruited by Air New Zealand Inflight Services Long Haul.
After leaving the award-winning global airline Sarah was appointed to a sole charge in-house communications managerial role for a global hotel chain, Pan Pacific Hotels Group (Park Royal, Centra and Travelodge brands) before being head hunted by a subsidiary of Saatchi & Saatchi, Mojo’s to work within the public relations consultancy team on accounts in the financial services, information technology and consumer categories.
In 2000 she embarked on her own business venture and launched Markom PR Limited a boutique communications consultancy. Who Sarah has advised has been eclectic; from a Crown Entity to start-ups and organisations in various stages of the business life-cycle both locally and internationally.
Markom PR Limited has provided strategic communications and public relations services to clients such as the French New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, Buddle Findlay (legal practitioners in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch), Business Immigration New Zealand, Jasons Travel, Bank Direct (subsidiary of ASB), Public Trust, National Urban Māori Authority (and member brands such as Whānau Tahi, Te Pou Matakana. Te Whānau O Waipareira, Social Value Aotearoa), Ngāti Tama ki Te Waipounamu Trust, Bachcare, Mondo Travel, Rydges Hotels & Resorts, The Rees Hotel Queenstown.
Sarah continues to freelance when she has time for media such as Fairfax (Sunday Star Times), Bauer (Women’s Day), Tangible Media (GOOD Magazine), NZME (the New Zealand Herald), NZBusiness magazine, Heritage magazine, LawTalk and VERVE magazine.
Sarah Sparks Accreditations & Languages
• PRINZ – Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (Associate)
• Te Reo
Architect – Kerry Avery
Kerry is the principal of Avery Team Architecture, and has led The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments Queenstown design team from initial concept to realisation. Kerry drew his inspiration for The Rees Hotel from the natural landforms of the Southern Lakes District and the rich building traditions of Otago settlers. Winner of numerous awards in a career spanning 30 years, Kerry has created a portfolio of major works, including Kauri Cliffs Resort – Kerikeri Bruce Mason Theatre – Takapuna Hallenstein Apartments – Queenstown
Furniture Designer – Ed Cruikshank
Ed Cruikshank applied skills acquired in the London studios of the renowned international designer, Viscount Linley, to design a range of furniture specifically for The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments Queenstown. Ed selected solid, enduring timbers – American Black Walnut and American White Oak – and neutral earthy linen fabrics to cover upholstery as the basic elements for his clean-lined and finely finished range of 34 pieces.