Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort
- One Keomoku Highway, PO Box 631380, Lanai City, Hawaii, 96763, USA
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2000
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Bellman, Four Seasons Hotel Austin
- Four Seasons Resort Lanai; Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane; Four Seasons Resorts Maldives; Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai, Pudong (formerly a Four Seasons hotel); Four Seasons Hotel Singapore; Four Seasons Explorer; Four Seasons Hotel Austin
- Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
Four Seasons knows luxury hospitality. Sensei, the wellbeing company of Larry Ellison and Dr. David Agus, knows health and wellness. And David Emig knows how to coordinate the finer points of the first-of-its-kind partnership that brought the two together. “I set the direction to make certain wherever our guests are on their wellness journey, we’re going to meet them and take them further,” he says of his role as General Manager of Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort. “When people stay with us, I see to it that they don’t have to worry about a thing.”
Located high in the hills of the Hawaiian island of Lanai, surrounded by a backdrop of towering Cook pines and banyan trees, the wellness enclave Emig helps manage is the sister address of coastal Four Seasons Resort Lanai.
For instance, Emig is Four Seasons main point of contact for Sensei’s onsite Retreat Director – “she’s the wellness equivalent to me” – and he works to smooth logistics on customisable wellness offerings and give Sensei Guides all they need to shape every guest stay. He also regularly engages with individual guests in his easy-going way to gain insights into their wellness intentions and glean impressions of their Resort experiences.
Being visible on the floor goes a long way toward the last, he says. “I learned the importance of visibility early on from a Four Seasons GM who told me his goal was to be in the lobby as much as possible every day.” Emig’s challenge became to be in the lobby more than the GM. “I took it personally,” he recalls, adding with a laugh, “still do.”
Emig interacts with many others at Sensi Lanai, of course, connecting regularly with the Resort’s department and division heads and getting feedback from employees in the field. Whatever the effort and with whomever he works, he likes to approach things collaboratively. His management style is “politics-free,” he says. “It’s really built on trust and action. The team is here to do the best job they can, and working with them is the best way to help them succeed.”
Born in Pennsylvania and raised “all over” following his father’s aerospace career around the country, Emig stumbled into the hotel industry after a chance interaction in Austin, Texas. He’d never heard of Four Seasons until the day before he applied, he remembers. “I was working multiple jobs, trying to get by, and I came home one night with my last $20 and told my roommate something had to change.”
His roommate mentioned that his brother was doing all right with tips as a bellman at a local hotel, and Emig was intrigued. The next day while on his shift managing a sandwich shop, he jokingly commented on the hairstyle of a bald, clean-shaven customer. When the two got talking, he mentioned his thoughts on becoming a bellman.
“Turns out, the guy was a Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Austin. He gave me his business card and said, ‘Come apply.’ I still have his card.”
Since joining the company in 2000, Emig has been all over the world with Four Seasons with “amazing life experiences at every stop.” Most memorable was his turn as Cruise Director aboard Four Seasons Explorer, the live-aboard luxury yacht that cruises between Four Seasons two properties in Maldives. “I got to dive the entire country!”
Emig is still diving, especially with his wife. And he still gets around, lately training for a triathlon with running and swimming on the beautiful beaches of Lanai. “Seven years ago, I quit smoking and learned that breathing is an amazing thing.”