Heads Above the
The Newsletter of The Boutique
|At Grace Leo Associates, GM Regis Lecendreux moves from Montalembert
to Lancaster, while John Petch moves up to the Corporate Office in charge
of Sales and Marketing.
|40-year-old Andreas Christodoulides, who had been Deputy General Manager
for seven years, has taken over as GM of Le Méridien Limassol Spa
and Resort, on the island of Cyprus.
|Brigitte Chevillotte has been named Director of Sales and Marketing
at the Hotel Plaza-Athénée in Paris, a Leading Hotel of the
World. She previously was with the Société des Hotels Concorde,
and also spent several years with the Royal Monceau Hotel Group in Paris.
|AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
|Lionel Alvarez is the GM of the Beau-Rivage Mauritius, part of the
Naiade Hotel group. He previously logged six years as the General Manager
of the Plantation Club in the Seychelles.
|Lothar Gross, who has been, since 1997 until now the Food & Beverage
Manager at Belle Mare Plage Golf & Resort in Mauritius, will start
in March as Executive Assistant Manager in charge of Food & Beverage
at Les Pavillons, also on Mauritius. Les Pavillons is part of the fast-growing
Naiade Hotel group.
|Anna-Maria Santos retired as Director of Housekeeping at the New York
Palace after six years, January 15. She had previously been the long-standing
Executive Housekeeper at The Pierre, a Four Seasons hotel.
|At the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Michael Doyle is replaced as General
Manager by Jean Mestriner, a globe-trotting luxury expert who spent his
most recent eight years with Sun International, first at the Palace of
the Lost City and later at the Tablebay Hotel in Capetown. A Dutchman,
Mestriner also assumed General Manager stints for Regent International,
Rosewood and for the 5-diamond Windsor Court in New Orleans.
|Gary Pugatch has left his position as VP Sales and Marketing for Our
Lucaya in the Bahamas, which belongs to Li Ka Shing's Harbour Plaza hotel
group. Prior to that Pugatch held the same position for El Conquistador
Resort in Puerto Rico.
|Frank Calaguire, a 27-year hospitality veteran, has been named Senior
Vice President, Hotel Sales & Marketing Operations for Starwood Hotels
& Resorts Worldwide. Calaguire most recently served as GM of The Westin
Copley Place in Boston. Prior to joining Starwood, he served as Senior
Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Renaissance Hotels & Resorts
|Sebastien Noat, an authentic Monégasque (i.e. a citizen of Monaco:
they are rare enough that we thought we'd mention it) is the Manager of
the spanking new Jerne restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey. He
previously was at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco.
|Chris Baum has left his position of VP Sales and Marketing for Sonesta,
after eight years. Prior to joining Sonesta, Baum was VP Marketing for
|Yves Wencker, former General Manager at the exclusive Cotton House
in Mustique, has handed over management of the property to
Olivier Sevestre and picked a challenging new job: he is now the General
Manager of Alain Ducasse at the Essex House. Cotton House is operated by
Grace Leo Associates whose other properties include Montalembert, Lancaster
and the Hotel Bel-Ami in Paris, as well as the Royal Riviera in Beaulieu
sur Mer. Sevestre previously worked at another GLA property, U2's Clarence
|Ritz-Carlton Hotels Corporation has a new President and Chief Operating
Officer: he is Simon Cooper, a 30year industry veteran who comes from
Marriott (Ritz-Carlton's parent company). He joined Marriott in 1998 as
President of Marriott Lodging Canada. He was previously President and COO
of Delta Hotels and Resorts. Prior to that he had been Executive Vice President
for Omni Hotels.
|One year and three months after getting the job of Managing Director,
Wolf Walther is out of the St. Regis Los Angeles. He is being replaced
(by the owners, Iranian investment group Pivotal) by Araj Azarbazin,
formerly the Hotel Manager at the adjacent (and Pivotal-owned) Century
Plaza. Prior to joining the Century Plaza, he was at the Four Seasons Newport
|Stephen Brandman has left Inter-Continental after sixteen years to
seek new opportunities. His last posting was as General Manager of
the Inter-Continental New York on Central Park South.
|Sean Loeffel who left his position of Food & Beverage Director
at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills last June after 16 years with the company,
has launched his own consulting firm, Spoonfed. Located in Los Angeles,
Spoonfed provides interim management and consulting services for
the Food & Beverage industry at large.
|Thomas Kellerhof is now GM of the Marietta Country Club, in Kennesaw,
Georgia, established in 1915. The club has 700 members. Cornell-educated
Kellerhof previously was the opening General Manager of the King Pacific
Lodge in British Columbia, a floating ultra-luxury fishing camp on a barge.
|Laurent Lhuillier is Executive Pastry Chef at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons
Corner, coming from the Prince of Wales Hotel in Canada. Prior to that
Lhuillier held the top pastry whisk at the Atlantis in the Bahamas.
|In other pastry news, Michael Dory is the new Pastry Chef at Bacara,
coming from Rosewood's Crescent Court in Dallas.
|Another Pastry Chef, Laurent Carratié, is leaving the United
States after eight years to take over the family business in Béziers,
France. He is the fifth generation Carratié to run the business.
He leaves the Regent of Wall Street, which he opened. Prior to that he
was the Pastry Chef at The Mark, also in New York, for over three years.
|Rafael Torano is now Executive Pastry Chef for Rosewood Hotels and
Resorts' Hotel Crescent Court. He joins the team with almost 20 years
of pastry experience including his most recent position as Executive Pastry
Chef at Culinary Concepts in Kansas City, Missouri, where he oversaw the
distinguished award-winning American Restaurant.
|Jim Samuels is Hotel Manager at the upcoming Shore Club Miami. He previously
was in the same position at Rosewood's Mansion on Turtle Creek.
|Now that Rosewood has purchased New York's tony Carlyle, Albert Herrera
has been named Director of Sales and Marketing. He was previously in charge
of Rosewood's New York sales office. Herrera's impressive resume includes
major stints with Mandarin-Oriental and Four Seasons.
|François Cnockaert, who was successful as opening General Manager,
to garner Five Diamonds for the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia within four months
of opening, has been promoted to Corporate Director of Food & Beverage
for the company, reporting to Vice President F&B Gerard Van Grinsven.
|At St. Regis New York, now that Richard Cotter is gone, and until a
new General Manager is appointed, Paolo Danieli from Starwood's Hotel Prince
de Galles in Paris, is temporary holding the fort. Not his doing,
but Lespinasse is now closed for lunch.
|Michel Brelière is now the Corporate Chef for Barcelo Bavaro
International Hoteles, based in the Dominican Republic. He previously plied
his trade at the Sheraton Bahrain.
|ASIA & THE PACIFIC
|With John Segretti as Chief Operating Officer and Jean-Michel Offe
as Corporate Food & Beverage Director, Shangri-La is stirring big changes
in its Food & Beverage concepts. In Kuala Lumpur alone, $100 million
are being spent to entirely revamp all Food & Beverage facilities.
Regional Food & Beverage Director for Malaysia Eric Pendaries is getting
ready to create three new outlets and has enrolled the services of none
less than Adam Tihany. Expect a revamped Lafitte Restaurant to remind you
of Sirio Maccioni's Le Cirque 2000, and named (pourquoi pas?) Lafitte 2000.
|Speaking of Tihany, the architect does not always fare as well as his
clients in terms of the success of his own restaurants: Remi Santa Monica
closed January 31 after eleven years, to see its space turned into a Tommy
|Jeffrey Seward has been named Executive Assistant Manager at the Ritz-Carlton
Hong Kong, after more than three years as Director of Rooms Operations
at the Ritz-Carlton Bali. Seward is a ten-year Ritz-Carlton veteran.
|MV Puri, one of the biggest names in the high-end Food & Beverage
industry, has moved again. This time he is returning to Raffles in Singapore
as General Manager. Puri opened Raffles ten years ago as its inspired Food
& Beverage Director, generating attention from the industry worldwide
for the uniqueness of his concepts. He had left Raffles in 1998 to head
Food & Beverage for British Airways, but that was short lived. So was
his next job as VP Food & Beverage for Rosewood Hotels and Resorts;
and the next, as the opening General Manager of Singapore's Grand Fullerton
|Fabrice Bohbote has left his position as General Manager of the Moana
Beach Parkroyal on Bora Bora (part of the Parkroyal Collection, soon to
be renamed Inter-Continental) after 13 years in the group, to become the
Regional Director of Operations for Sheraton in French Polynesia. As such
he will supervise the Sheraton Tahiti, the Sheraton Moorea and the upcoming
Sheraton Bora Bora. He is replaced at the Moana Beach by Anne de Saint-Pierre,
a seven-year veteran of the hotel who had been the Executive Assistant
|Jan Hendrik "Henk" Bosch is the new General Manager at Bangkok's new
Plaza-Athénée. Bosch's appointment comes less than two months
after the opening of the hotel in November. Interestingly enough, Bosch
was the GM of New York's Plaza-Athénée now (but not then)
under same Thai ownership, some fifteen years ago. Most recently he operated
Hendrix, his own restaurant in Bangkok's Sukhumvit district.
|Denise French is the new Executive Chef at Bali's Amandari. No stranger
to Indonesia she was until recently consulting for several restaurants
in Bali. She also used to be the Pastry Chef for the Regent of Fiji and
the Four Seasons Bali. French is a US citizen.
|Richard Launay has left his position of GM of the Hotel Yak and Yeti
in Katmandu after four years. Prior to that he had been the General Manager
of the Royal Riviera in Beaulieu sur Mer, following a fourteen-year career
with Méridien all over the world.
|The newly opened 303-room Novotel Atlantis Shanghai has assembled a
crack team from Accor's best people in Asia, including GM Gilles Cretallaz,
formerly of the Novotel Bali, Rooms Director Marc Cherrier, a veteran (at
age 31) of Shanghai and Beijing, Resident Manager Stanley Chan, who previously
held a similar position at the highly-visible Novotel Siam Square in Bangkok,
Director of Sales and Marketing Jerome de la Fuente, Director of
Food & Beverage James Ravi, Executive Chef Marshall Orton and Executive
Pastry Chef Philippe Kotzky.
|Sliman Rouibi is Director of Finance for Société des
Hotels Tahitiens, owner of all three Sheraton properties in French Polynesia.
He joins after more than 14 years with Accor, most recently as Area Controller
for French Polynesia.
|General Manager Dermot De Loughry has moved from Edinburgh's Posthouse
Hotel, where he managed the opening, to Colony Club Hotel, Barbados. Previously,
he had a brief stint with the Sheraton Corporation and worked in Food &
Beverage Operations management for the Mandarin-Oriental Hotel Group in
Hong Kong and Inter-Continental Hotels in London.
The Devil's Advocate:
Readers sound off on last month's editorial piece
In our January newsletter, Benoit Gateau-Cumin contributed an editorial
piece that invoked quite a response from our readers, of which we've
selected just a handful to share.
|I read with great interest your [article] and must say that I am in
total agreement with your thoughts. I say that because of my own experience
working at Regent International Hotels under the leadership of Bob Burns
when individual hotels were the responsibility of the GM and success and
/or failure rested squarely on his/her shoulders. GMs dealt directly with
owners on most issues and the corporate office was there for support and
guidance only if needed. Today, this same type of corporate structure seems
to be working effectively at Adrian Zecha's Amanresorts. -Bill
Black, Former GM, Regent of Bangkok
|Fantastic, what you wrote lengthily is the truth, the absolute truth
and the only truth about the success in hospitality - you hit the nail
in the head - but do the others understand it? Thank God they don't,
otherwise there wouldn't be any work for you and us... -Peter
Wirth, Peter Wirth & Associates
|You posed some interesting ideas in your commentary. Given the
shorter- and medium-term economic concerns (in the US and abroad), a more
"lean and mean" corporate office is certainly appealing. However, you failed
to address an organizational function that accounts for 35-45% of a firm's
operating expenses -- human resources management. What are your thoughts
concerning corporate HR? -J. Bruce Tracey, Ph.D.,Cornell
Dear Dr. Tracey,
At the risk of sounding like a simpleton I will say that human resources
are to be treated the same way as the other key components of the corporate
entity. Top quality managers at the property level again would be my answer,
with a good set of policies and procedures monitored from the home office.
The other aspects of human resources management can conveniently be "farmed
out." -Benoit Gateau-Cumin
|I read your article with an open mind, and while I agree that most
corporate offices are a bit top-heavy, I have also experienced firsthand
how an experienced, lean corporate office can be very effective.
One of the real challenges hotels experience today is the lack of "qualified"
work force in the local market. With some areas reporting less than
2% unemployment rate, the available market, for the most part, is unskilled
and lacks the experience necessary to do the job. Centralizing tasks
such as brochure design and production can be far more cost effective when
you have an experienced Corporate Marketing Director managing this process
for 50 hotels versus 50 different DOS/M at the property level trying to
produce their own brochures. Many of those property DOS/M have little or
no experience in design or print production. And, as indicated by their
titles, often time are pulled away from focusing on the more immediate
task of heading up the sales effort to spend time on producing print collateral.
No need for a brochure if your sales team is not generating leads.
In my opinion, and as a former Corporate Director of Marketing, small to
mid-size companies would be wise to consider a centralized corporate office.
-Denise Roberts, Hotel Net Marketing
|I usually don't answer these but your article was right on target.
However, if you are going public (or are public) , Wall Street is
easily impressed by a corporate office and its staff. Maybe you could
do an article on companies that are lean and productive. Lastly,
the trouble with "corporate staff" is that most of them are considered
bosses and not resources. -Drew Dimond, ISHC
of the Month
One Night in London; Helen Berger jet-sets on
Virgin Atlantic and lives it up at One Aldwych
|Driving down Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, one is bombarded with larger
than life billboards displayed on the heavily cruised strip. After the
uproar due to the removal of the Marlboro Man and the uproar of approval
for the pantless Marky Mark (as he was known then), there were a few years
where I saw little to warrant anything more than a fleeting glance.
I attempted my best Angeleno nonchalance but was not successful when I
saw a 15-story high banner of Austin Powers, straddling a 747 jet. "Now
that is advertising," I thought to myself and promptly bumped the car in
front of me. No damage done, but the image of Austin Powers partnering
with Virgin Atlantic Airways stuck.
The time had come to book my flight to Delhi and I chose Virgin, based
on the fact that an overnight layover in London would allow just enough
time to rove the food halls at Harrod's and take in a West End production.
As I boarded the airplane, the image of Austin Powers flooded my memory.
Although I was directed to the right (towards Economy), to my left,
in the Upper Class area, was a retro-modern bar and lounge where one could
sense Mr. Mojo's presence. The soundtrack to my embarkation was less
on the classical side and more rock 'n roll as bands like U2, Luscious
Jackson and the Pixies played over the PA. While walking towards my seat,
my travel partner whispered to me, "This is not your father's airline company."
Looking at the bright red and purple décor I emphatically replied,
"No, it isn't."
At my seat I found an amenity kit containing the essentials as well
as a notepad, postcards, a miniature rubber ducky, mints and eye shades.
Each item, down to the most mundane, comes in stylish, quirky packaging
(i.e. earplugs labeled "pardon?" and a "scrub-up" Mylar package containing
a colorful toothbrush with "clean" printed on the handle). After
taking inventory of the goodies, the more than helpful staff assisted me
with settling in for the long-haul flight.
Virgin Atlantic slaps you in the face with the realization that this
industry severely lacks innovation. Case in point: in-flight entertainment
on your average airline involves a single movie. On my Virgin flight, I
chose between a Keanu Reeves Marathon (four Keanu features including Point
Break and My Own Private Idaho) as well as the more cerebral Cannes film
festival hit Dancer in the Dark. Included in the selection are Bollywood
hits, for the Hindi film fans. The music channels include the requisite
classical and contemporary stations, but just to keep things fresh I also
found the Think Pink channel, a tribute to gay anthems, as well as one
dedicated to the nervous traveler, where a soothing voice guided
me through stress reducing
meditation. If that doesn't interest you, perhaps you and your
ten-year old can challenge each other to a game of Tetris or Super Mario
Brothers -- each seat has Nintendo.
A beauty therapist in the Upper Class offers services such as face and
scalp massage and back massage designed to combat jetlag. Passengers are
also offered a duvet and sleep suit, or if sleep's the last thing on your
mind you might enjoy the bar and lounge. When all is said and done, it
is the most exciting airline I have ever flown but six hours into the flight
sitting in my designated 32 inches, it is still just 32 inches.
am sure. The television in the bathroom is an excellent touch for those
who like to soak at length.
|Once in London, I stayed at One Aldwych -- a
veritable hipster paradise. At rack rates of £300 and up, its 105
guestrooms cater to the contemporary elite. It has won some major
awards in its short existence including the coveted AA Hotel of the Year
2000. As a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, it takes luxury
seriously with a deep bathtub and dangerously comfortable beds covered
in white crisp Italian linen with an impressive thread count, I
While passing time in the sleek cocktail bar, I talked to a young British
scenester, spending an evening in London. I asked her what she liked about
the hotel, her reply: "You can make ball gowns out of the curtains,"
referencing the deep purple raw silk numbers in the guestrooms. After taking
another tug on her afternoon G&T (this is England after all), she mentioned
that she liked the note pads included in the place settings at Indigo restaurant,
just in case an impromptu business deal were to take place.
Up in my room, I received a note in the evening asking, "Wondering what
to wear tomorrow?," followed by the weather forecast. One Aldwych
is all about those small details, as well as larger-than-life touches,
such as the sculpture of the man in a rowboat, plunked down off-center
in the lobby.
Richard Brandson's keen eye on innovation keeps the other airline companies
on their toes and One Aldwych is surely a good complement to the millennial
adaptations of the Barefoot Billionaire.