The Chrismar Hotel Experience

We were delighted to welcome Robert McCarron (above) as our Guest on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela. The Experience is our weekly Sunday night radio show airing on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. Rob is general manager of Chrismar Hotel, one of Livingstone larger hotels located on the Royal Mile near the Boat Club, close to the entrance to Mosi-o-Tunya National Park and of course the Zambezi. “The hotel currently has 59 rooms but is in the process of extending by an additional 40 rooms”, Rob told listeners. It was the first time we’ve had one of the general managers of Livingstone’s big hotels on the programme and Milli Jam asked him how he felt to be the first. Robert replied “you have the country’s best known hotel manager on the programme every week, so I’m hardly the first!” I guess I blushed!

Rob told us that he has been in Zambia for 3 years and has, for most of that time, been the manager at Chrismar. He’s an American, a graduate in business management, travel and tourism from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. “Why did you come to Zambia?” Milli Jam wanted to know. “For a change” the reply. We were not told the type of change required! Rob said the hotel had had a great year in 2013 with increased occupancy and room revenue, enjoying a thriving conference trade, with the majority of Guests coming from within Zambia.

The music on the show was good, we opened with two top Christmas hits from the UK by Sam Bailey and Pharrell Williams. George dropped Zambian tracks from Petersen and Mampi, while Milli Jam chose records from One Direction and Tiwa Savege. Our oldie of the week was Bruno Mars’ Grenade, and we had two prizes on offer to the first people to text us the name of the recording artist on the track. Robert had kindly contributed a dinner for two at Chrismar Hotel to add to the dinner for two with drinks at Chanters that we give away each week on a regular basis, and the two prizes were quickly snapped up by our listeners!

Robert told listeners that he’s married to a Zambian lady with whom he has twin one year old little boys, and yes, they do keep the family awake at night and busy, but he said he himself is a ‘deep sleeper’ so not that disturbed! Rob said that he comes from a family of musicians, his mum is a musician with the Boston Symphony Orchestra while his dad plays piano in piano bars across America. Both his brothers play in bands. He said his own musical tastes were wide and that he especially enjoys rap, rock and reggae.

As a Bostonian he loves all his Boston sports teams and, because the owner of the Boston Red Sox is also the owner of Liverpool FC in UK, he’s a fan of that club. This made George very happy. Rob’s first sporting love however is basketball, and he revealed that he is the coach of the Hillcrest School basketball team here in Livingstone as well as the team for Southern Province. As for tourist activities he loved white water rafting and felt that everyone should do that once in their lives. He had swum in Devil’s Pool but had not done the bungee jump. “No time!” He said. “It only takes 7.5 seconds” I replied, and we laughed!

Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in ten years’ time Rob revealed that he wanted to be the team coach for the Zambian national basketball team while training his 11 year old twin boys in the art of the game! He also mentioned that he would like to have more children. Nothing about hotels we noted!

We closed by wishing all our listeners a very happy Christmas and prosperous 2014.