Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with W Hotels’ Craig Seaward

This week, we caught up with the general manager of W Sydney, Craig Seaward, to find out how he’s been faring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are you reading?

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

What are you watching?

David Attenborough’s Our Planet.

What are you listening to?

Anson Seabra.

What are you cooking?

‘Toad in the hole’ (sausage in savoury Yorkshire pudding).

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

I work out up to five days a week. Usually, I stick to two RPM spin classes and three HIIT classes. For me, it balances the body and fuels the mind.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

Prior to moving to Sydney, I had lived in Bali for the past 30 years, and when COVID hit, I really saw the Balinese caring culture play out in these tough times.

When people have so little but are prepared to share it with so many just so that everyone can get by, it truly shows what humanity can do when everyone comes together in a time of crisis.

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

This crisis was a reset for me – an opportunity to realise what’s really important versus what’s materialistic.

Family and health – mental health, in particular – bubble up as key priorities. Being isolated with family created new bonds and I recognise that may never have eventuated if we continued life always in the fast lane.

What’s your advice for others in the industry on coping with the crisis?

Keep your mind and body active. These are our greatest gifts in life, and they will both serve to help you keep positive during these challenging times, which none of us are immune to.

Although it is still uncertain when routine and normality will return to the tourism industry, when the pause button is fully released what we do in hotels will be in demand more than ever before, as everyone has realised how much value is placed on experiences and exploration through travel, as well as face to face meetings and catch-ups.

Where is your favourite domestic travel destination?

The NSW Southern Highlands during autumn. Incredibly beautiful to witness the changing of the seasons. A sensory overload.

What is the one international travel memory keeping you going through this time?

The Il Ballo del Doge (The Doge’s Ball) – a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list event during the Carnival of Venice.

Where do you want to travel to once international travel restrictions ease up?

I want to head to the UK to see my children who, earlier this year, left to work and study there; and my mother, who I have not seen for nearly two years now.


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