Behind The Retreats: Fly Fishing, Saving Lives & A Knack For All Things Culinary
Get to Know South Fork Lodge’s New General Manager!
Visit a stream or river near South Fork Lodge, Idaho, and you’ll likely find Kevin Kapalka, right in his element. This avid fly fisher has tackled every stream from Idaho to Montana, and he isn’t slowing down anytime soon. He also happens to be South Fork Lodge’s new GM, and we couldn’t be happier about it!
With his years of hospitality experience and a serious love of travel, Kevin epitomizes what Natural Retreats is all about. So, we thought it was time to learn more about the outdoor enthusiast, and share his tips on what really makes a vacation “Somewhere to Remember.”
Follow along to read our conversation with Kevin and get the insider’s guide to everything South Fork Lodge has to offer...
Tell us a little bit about yourself… What is your background and your current position with NR, and how long have you been with the company?
Kevin: I am a recent addition to Natural Retreats- it’s my 4th week! I have a degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. My entire career has been in the Resort sector of travel and I have worked in the Caribbean, Hawaii, the East and West of the United States. I am currently the General Manager of South Fork Lodge. My past nine years were spent at a Luxury Ranch Resort that specialized in families and adventure travel- thus we dealt with guests that spent a majority portion of their stay fishing, rafting, hiking, atv’ing, biking, shooting (sporting clays) and the remainder eating and drinking. I have a strong background in food and beverage. I am also a EMT that loves to volunteer and be part of the community.
Wow! That’s quite the trifecta. Why did you decide join the Natural Retreats team?
Kevin: I used to work for Rockresorts and a number of years ago I heard of the Rockefeller connection with SFL and started to explore the property. Prior to starting at SFL, I had been here two years in a row to fish with Jim Nielsen (another SFL guy) and spoke with him often. When NR took over SFL it seemed like a good pairing of companies and peaked my interest even more with the added properties, and strength of the brand.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned along your professional journey working at/with resorts?
Kevin: I’ve found that nearly all resorts have the Product part of the equation covered with beautiful locations, beautiful rooms, great dining options and activities and I have found that the staff become one of the most important parts of providing excellent service. A genuine, friendly smile and staff that anticipate guest needs are one of the most important aspects of any property.
What’s your favorite thing to do outdoors?
Kevin: I LOVE to fish- particularly fly fishing; Windsurfing if opportunity arises (only someplace warm!) and skiing.
When you’re not at SFL where can we find you?
Behind SFL fishing or better yet floating. Also there is a good chance I will be on another stream or river fishing in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming.
What do you look for most in a vacation?
Unique location, friendly people and good food (not necessarily fancy- just good).
What’s something about your property that nobody knows?
The top 6 guides have over 90 years of combined guiding experience.
What do you think is the key to providing good customer service?
The ability to anticipate guest needs and provide genuine welcoming service.
What travel trend do you think is currently making the biggest impact on the travel space? Or which travel trend in the past few years do you think has been the most impactful, and why?
I feel that international travelers are looking closer at home (USA) and that they are exploring more areas in their backyard. I think there has been a recent focus on the West and on Ranch and Lodge type properties. I also believe dining is a big part of the travel decision.
Let’s play quick game of word association… share the first word that comes to mind for each of the below words (or phrases):
a. Winter…..Ski, tie flies
b. South Fork Lodge…..Fishing
e. Community….Volunteer Fire/EMT
f. Travel…Western States
g. Natural Retreats… Great locations
h. Family... Time together
i. Spring... Fish
j. Adventure... Get outside!
We don’t know about you, but this game has us itching to grab our fishing rods and head for the nearest stream! Want to join us? To book your vacation at South Fork Lodge, call our Xplore team at 844.678.4556.
Go Somewhere To Remember.