In March of this year, Schmidt took up residence in a fancy resort on the semitropical island of Bermuda. His commute spans all of two hallways and an elevator ride down to his spa-level office. His work attire? A suit coat, tie, dark knee highs, and… Bermuda shorts, of course.
Schmidt reports that his new life as spa director of the 31,000-square-foot Willow Stream spa—the largest by far on this remote and tiny archipelago—has been exhilarating, alternating between moments of bliss and challenge. Bermuda’s culture might best be described as that of British formality blended with a laid-back, “island time” sensibility. The population has a keen awareness of its dependence on foreign tourism and products, as well as a generous supply of national pride and unity. Schmidt is enchanted by the country’s colorful spirit, the captivating beauty of his surrounds and the sheer novelty of his new life. “I feel honored to be invited by another culture to live and work as a contributing member of their society,“ he says.
Schmidt’s love for his new home is equaled by his passion for his work, the Fairmont brand and the Willow Stream spa concept. Despite his initial concerns about the potential for corporate inertia, Schmidt feels individually encouraged to contribute his creativity to the success of the spa and the betterment of the Fairmont brand.