Christopher Edison Stafford

Associate Partner

His early passion as a hotelier started during a summer job in 1972 at the luxury Park Avenue Hotel in Goteborg, Sweden. From this Grand Dame of hotels and because he witnessed the early expansion of chain hotels growing up in Africa and Asia – he became totally immersed in the industry as a 16-year-old. This journey took him to Switzerland and Hawaii to learn his trade, then joining the Westin Hotel Group in Norway in 1980.

As a result of his early connection through then professor Bob Burns (later Global Hotelier of the Year and founder CEO of Regent International Hotels) at the University of Hawaii, he then joined the Regent International Hotels company in Sydney, Australia. Christopher’s career from this point took him practicing the art of hospitality in nine countries. from managing the Bali Hai Moorea in Tahiti to Singapore, Malaysia, the Maldives, Thailand, Laos, Norway, the USA, and Sweden.

Together with legendary entrepreneur William ‘Bill’ Heinecke, Christopher, and a small team created the Anantara brand in 2000, and remained with the project for seven years to open the first Anantara properties. Christopher created the King’s Cup Elephant Polo which gave the Anantara brand global recognition for conservation efforts for elephants in Thailand and the world.

In the years following the Anantara establishment and global expansion, Christopher joined The Beaumont Partnership architectural practice as lead hospitality consultant in 2008. This involved him in the development planning of hotels in Morocco, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Cambodia.

In 2010 he linked up with famous hotelier William ‘Bill’ Black in Ativa Hotels & Resorts (subsequently renamed SilverNeedle Hospitality and Next Story). Here the focus was on creating new luxury boutique properties in Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, and Bangkok. His brand instincts re-emerged with the creation of the 137 Pillars Hotel Group in 2015, where Christopher served as Chief Operating Officer until 2020.

Chris formed The Orient & Occident Company in 2021, which is part of the YAANA Ventures portfolio, and joined as an associate in YAANA Hospitality.