Born and raised in Israel, Liza Singer is qualified as a lawyer and accountant (CPA), with an MBA, major in Finance and experience as an investment manager in both private equity and venture capital funds.
Liza joined with late British entrepreneur David Lewis CBE in 2002 to initiate the ambitious project to establish Karpaz Gate Marina on the remote Karpaz peninsula in North Cyprus. As the Owner’s Representative and Managing Director of the investment, Liza has dealt with the actual development, design and construction of the marina since 2005.
In this Q&A Liza tells us more about the high-end resort, her journey so far, along with key insights into the luxury travel sector. Read on to discover more.
For readers not yet familiar with Karpaz Gate Marina please provide a brief overview of the resort.
Karpaz Gate Marina is a special haven and a unique, pioneering development. Immersed in the surrounding nature of the untouched Karpaz Peninsula, the resort was designed to inspire a sense of freedom and relaxation while delivering outstanding facilities and service. The resort is nestled in its own private bay and features a 52-key boutique hotel overlooking our award-winning, Platinum marina – the first international yacht marina in North Cyprus.
Today, there is a promenade area with outlets including: Hemingway’s Resto-Bar, offering traditional and international cuisine, and a special Chef’s Table; a Beach Club, with its sandy beach and outdoor infinity pool, beach restaurant and bar; a hamam and spa; The Gallery, overlooking the marina and promenade, with indoor pool, jacuzzi, gym and meeting rooms, and a multi-function studio. We prioritise a high standard of service across all our operations, from the hotel and the spa to the marina.
The spectacular setting and facilities position Karpaz Gate Marina as an idyllic location for intimate holidays, peaceful retreats, special occasions, business meetings and gatherings.
For those wishing to enjoy the beauty of nature and to escape the busy tourist routes, this is the ideal destination.
Please tell us more about your transition from the world of finance to MD of a luxury independently owned boutique resort. Was this always an ambition of yours?
I have always been passionate about travel and highly appreciative of fine hotels designed with a sense of place without compromising on functionality. I also highly value attentive operation. However, I never imagined I would be responsible for the development and operation of a luxury independently-owned boutique resort.
My original passion definitely assisted and enhanced my capacity to create the concepts, ideas and service-oriented operation of Karpaz Gate Marina. My legal, finance and accounting background served as the perfect tools to be able to perform a variety of tasks from a to z.
Describe a typical day for you – if such a thing exists!
It does not exist. When I am in Cyprus, the day will start early with some yoga exercises in my home next to the marina. This is followed by meetings at the marina with the different departments’ team members and management. I will tour the whole site, as well as specific areas that require attention. There is always something to fix, build or maintain in such a big and complex site. If I am not in Cyprus, the morning begins with running or exercising and then Zoom, email and phone calls with the marina team. I will also participate in various board meetings in which I sit.
The hotel represents your vision to provide travellers by land the opportunity to relax in the beautiful nautical surroundings, enabling them to enjoy the barefoot lifestyle and experience of being onboard a supersized sailing yacht. Where did this vision come from? And please tell us more about the journey to making it a reality.
From the moment we selected the site in a secluded bay on the peninsula of the island, our vision was to create our own micro cosmos – a relaxed, exclusive haven meeting the highest international standards.
Our aim was for the resort to combine touches of nautical flair, imaginative design, first-class service and modern facilities, all working in harmony with a deep affinity with the sea, connection to the environment and respect for the natural beauty of North Cyprus. The Karpaz peninsula is a unique location, remote and off the beaten track. We have used and supported the development of the local economy, helping to create the welcoming atmosphere felt by our guests.
Designed to assimilate perfectly with the marina setting, the hotel is meticulously specified and decorated to present guests with an unforgettable sensation of being onboard a lavish sailing yacht. New arrivals are transported to a nautical world from the instance they step into the main reception area, while each room is specified to ensure they are enveloped in intimate and indulgent surroundings, with access to the highest standards of amenities.
The development of Karpaz Gate Marina Resort, was done so with great respect for the natural beauty of the area and the infrastructure adopts an eco-friendly approach. Please tell us more about how this approach has been delivered and will be maintained.
From the beginning, we recognised the importance of respecting and protecting the unspoilt area in the development of Karpaz Gate Marina Resort. We implemented an eco-friendly approach within the infrastructure and today the resort is immersed, but also reliant, on its natural surroundings. Vibrant trees and flowers thrive in the on-site nursery, while the vegetable and herb garden and green house provide fresh produce straight to the plate alongside home-made bread and fresh, locally-sourced dairy, fish and meat. To encourage green energy, an on-site solar plant supplies over half of the total electricity usage, while ecological and recycling initiatives include minimal usage of non-recycled materials like plastics. Creating an aquarium in the marina basin, a no fishing rule is in place to protect the wildlife and preserve the crystal-clear water – in support of the protection of the many species which thrive throughout the peninsula, both on land and in the warm, clear waters and sea caves along the coast. The hotel’s design and ethos maintain the marina development’s sensitivity to the environment and support sustainability through its choice of ecological materials and accessories.
Learn more about Karpaz Gate Marina Resort here.
Who is a typical Karpaz Gate Marina guest?
I am inclined to say there is no typical guest, since marinas are always a mix and hybrid of nationalities and characters. However, we naturally see guests who appreciate nature and the lack of noise of any sort apart from appropriate music. Those people who are looking for seclusion and appreciate comfort and good food will be the ones who will enjoy our resort the most.
Which three words describe how you’d like your guests to feel after their time at Karpaz Gate Marina.
I’ll be back.
The luxury travel sector is a highly demanding one – what has been the most pivotal change you’ve observed to date and how do you expect it to evolve in the next 5 years?
I am seeing that attentive and intelligent service, above and beyond the usual, is becoming even more highly regarded. Also, design that offers creativity with a connection to the place where the hotel or resort is located is important and preferred above the generic hotel facilities and architecture. Demand is also increasing for a pampering experience with the right elements, such as high-quality linen, an exceptional sleeping experience, luxury shower and enough living space in the rooms. The desired atmosphere will create an ambience in which there is no need to dress up and feel up tight. Barefoot luxury is the best feeling.
Luxury is a highly subjective term – what does it mean to you?
As above, for me, luxury is feeling relaxed, pampered, free and connected to the destination.
Finally, what is your life motto?
Maintain authenticity as much as possible; set a personal example and practise what you preach; and love, in its broad scope as well as within your circle of close family and friends, is the most important thing in life.