Chef de Village, Club Med Lijiang, China - Opening in September 2021

Merlin Chelliah is the General Manager of Club Med Lijiang, China opening in September 2021. Dexterous, daring and determined, Merlin's energy and passion reflects the many unique projects she has overseen. Bringing with her 29 years of experience in the hospitality industry, she spearheads and handles everything in the resort from guest arrivals to entertainment and cuisine in the restaurants. She has been working in Club Med for the past over 18 years. Read more about this power Singaporean.

When I think of Club Med, I think of….

An international trendsetter brand which celebrates our cultures and diversities and combines fun and development.

I get my inspiration from…

Friends and Family, sports, entertaining and dancing.

In the past week, what was the most memorable thing that someone said to you?

I dance really well and she could not take her eyes off me, did I have professional training? Of course not but it puts a pretty smile on my face.

What brings the best out of you / When are you your best self?

When I am with my son and family and also when I help others to do well.

What do you love most about your job / Club Med?

The diversity and the possibility that any gender can grow up in this company. You can have support to become the manager you want to be!

What have you learnt about yourself amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?

I love my freedom and when I came out of my quarantine, I became appreciative to life. I was more grateful and had a lot more gratitude and kindness towards humanity and situations.

What is one thing you’ve learnt to appreciate during the pandemic?

Travel and time with my family. We had dinners together, we went on hikes and we learnt to find new ways of being together.

How have your passion points changed in the past year?

No this is still live life to the fullest, enjoy the moments, don’t sweat the small stuff and carpe Diem!

After what has happened over the past year, has your dream destination changed and why?

No not at all, I still want to go to Australia one day and live there. However, home is where you make it, especially fill it with love and right amount of positive spirit.

What is it about the destination you’re in or what can you do in the coming week to help the people around you to get back to their best selves?

I started in Bali already to do several donations drives, started to help the local communities and this is the same action that we are doing in China right now. We set up training classes, development centers for the locals and we also enrich our staff by these actions of giving back.

2021 is the year to get Back to Happiness. I am going to…

Live life to its best every day and be more kind.

This year’s theme for IWD is #ChoosetoChallenge – which encourages women to be responsible to create an inclusive world and celebrate achievements together. How will you choose to celebrate it this year at Club Med?

All the ladies in the resorts will do a flash mob in a performance of the world in different nationalities and costumes embracing our countries and becoming one in a dynamic performance on the ski mountain.

What does #ChoosetoChallenge mean for you in your work life?

The ability to adapt to changes and to the challenges with travel restrictions. And missing my family that have been separated from me since the pandemic.

Being a leader in hospitality, what is your advice for other women who are looking to #ChoosetoChallenge?

Keep giving, keep enriching ourselves with what the world has to offer. Fall back but stand up again and let your energy shine to be the best you can be.

Thrive Again with Club Med promotes the idea of moving forward with an optimist outlook – how have you incorporate this as Chief De Village?

I have moved forward with the glass half full every day, knowing that the pandemic will come to an end, that life will never be normal, but it will be adaptable as always. Families and friends will reunite, and good times will start and this time it will be much more appreciated.

Why do you think the industry could benefit by having more female leaders?

The ability to think out of the box, micromanage and yet develops the mindset of individuals while maintaining their personality and their persona. The possibility to dream and achieve it. Goal driven ladies that know the objective and will exceed it, only to be humble during the entire process.