"Totally Disgraceful!" Review of Silver Sands Resort

Mandurah Silver Sands Resort - A Review


You're considering visiting Silver Sands Resort. There are rumours about and you want to know the deal. Is the trip worth it? Will the stay be plagued with issues? 

Just to make sure we're talking about the right holiday destination: This is Silver Sands Resort, Mandurah, Western Australia. It's not to be confused with another place in America or Africa. Ivan Hill manages this (plus) forty-year-old resort. It's part of the Classic Holidays group — built in the eighties when time-share resorts were popular.

Silver Sands Resort has fantastic potential — but it's limited by one thing.

Its leader. 

Ivan Hill has produced a toxic workplace — in turn, it's become a toxic vacation destination too. The guests are complaining and unsatisfied with the resort's standards. Ivan Hill continues to mismanage the place. His actions remain unchecked by head office. 

Morale is low at SSR. This flows onto everything that functions within the resort. The staff dislike Ivan's archaic management style. It's created a dysfunctional workplace. The guest experience reflects this too.

Most agree Ivan Hill is a buffoon.

Within weeks of his arrival, he lost a substantial amount of human resources. Then he lost the resort's invoices. Gone. Vaporised. Disappeared. No investigation was undertaken. Just accusations came forth. He got angry and blamed the staff.

Key personnel resigned. They got fed up with his bullying. Years of valuable resort knowledge and talent disappeared under his leadership.

He's old school — a former employee pulled out of retirement to do a job when no one else was available. Old school means that he comes from a time when bosses ruled and HR departments didn't exist. Bullies were allowed. Turning a blind eye was common. (HR knows the deal) 

There are no levels of administration at SSR because he's in charge of every department, micromanaging as he goes. He screws up and then denies ever being a part of the drama in the first place. Denial is his only defence. He then leaves it for others to clean up his mess. I've never seen a manager so out-of-touch as Ivan Hill.

His solution to conflict resolution is to escalate it until someone walks away and gives up. He'll even play guests or staff off each other if that's what's necessary to get an outcome. Visitors have been berated. They've stepped in when hearing him disrespecting staff and he's turned on them too. He's a law unto himself, a rogue, a cowboy in the wild wild west. 

I can't work out whether Ivan is arrogant, senile, stupid, or a mix of them. Whatever it is, it's wrong on so many levels. He shouldn't be where he is, doing what he does.

You'll find no joy at Silver Sands Resort, as a guest or as an employee. 

If you want to know a little more about the resort's prior connection to Ivan, read on:

"Classic Holidays" is an east-coast-based timeshare company. It owns many resorts around Australia. Silver Sands Resort is one of them. But the head office is on the opposite side of the country. That's why hiring and firing are done at the resort. They leave it up to Ivan Hill to (mis)manage things from his side of the country.

Ivan was one of the resort's earlier managers. He got old and retired from managing. It was another, contemporary manager who resigned (to pursue a career elsewhere) that opened up a job opportunity at the resort. He was re-employed to bridge the gap between the last manager's exit and the entry of the next. HR couldn't recruit from the east coast so Ivan ran the interviews — with a Director present at each of them.

Several suitable candidates were interviewed. What HR never knew was that only half of each interview was conducted with the Director. The second half was a one-on-one meeting between Ivan and the candidate on the grounds of the resort. 

Needless to say, those who were offered the job, declined it. Ivan adopted the role for himself. To head office, he looked like a hero who saved the day.

Silver Sands Resort - Mandurah
Safety Handrails

Ivan Hill came from a time when HR departments, OHS, and WHS didn't exist. The following is an example of his aged method of management:

Take a look at those handrails around the roof of the resort. They are the result of a safety directive handed down by the resort's Board of Directors some time ago. The work started before Ivan took over but it stopped because he prioritised other things ahead of them (weeding his personal garden, moving his home furniture, washing his car, etc.). 

Ivan said, "We don't need those rails. [We] never needed them before. They're unnecessary."

The half-done rails are more dangerous now than not being there at all because they look like they'll work. They won't. It's possible to reach out for a rail and then watch it pop out of the end sockets (the pipes already warp under their own weight!).

The unstable handrails (and those not yet in place) have been brought to his attention many times but he refuses to act. Safety is not important to him. It'll take an injury or a death to occur before the work continues. After that happens, he'll blame the staff for failing to complete the work in due time. Classic Holidays will be told that the staff was incompetent and they'll take it at face value. They won't see it was Ivan's arrogance that halted the job, not the workers. 

There is only one authority at SSR — and that one is incompetent.

I'm not sure why the resort's paperwork went missing. It's a conundrum (and highly suspicious). There are too many fail-safes in modern accounting software to stop this from happening. It requires someone to actively locate the files (and all the backups) and then delete them to lose them. He blamed the staff, yet he was the only one in control of the office. He was the only one with access to the files.

Ivan Hill implied that someone (not named) sabotaged the system. When challenged to investigate the crime to clear the staff of any wrongdoing, he denied ever saying it. No investigation took place. The head office knew the deal but did nothing. It left a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

(Ivan Hill is also the board's secretary. Record keeping is his other job!)

Nevertheless, Ivan Hill is immune and knows it. What happens in the west stays in the west.

He doesn't care about the safety of staff, Classic Holidays' records, employing resort managers, or solving workplace problems rationally. He wants workers he can boss around that keep their mouths shut. That's why staff turnover is high. 

There are dangerous, systemic issues under Ivan Hill's management. If it were any other workplace, there'd be one investigation after another and Ivan's contract would've concluded a long time ago.

Classic Holidays is aware of all of this. They're either unable to do anything about Ivan Hill or choose to look the other way. 

No stars for you or Silver Sands Resort, Ivan Hill. -M


P.S. Entertaining reading? If you've had issues with Ivan Hill, Classic Holidays or Silver Sands Resort, feel free to leave a comment below.

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