Hotel Online Special Report

Global Update: Who’s Where and Doing What
February 2001
The Devil's Advocate: Readers respond to last month's article
Jaunt of the Month: Virgin Atlantic Airways and One Aldwych
Heads Above the Rest
The Newsletter of The Boutique Search Firm
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.
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 Worldwide. 
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 Westin. 
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 in Dublin. 
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 Beach. 
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.
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 Hilfiger store. 
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 Hotel. 
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 Manager. 
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 University

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

Jaunt 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.

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 

One Aldwych
London, England
am sure. The television in the bathroom is an excellent touch for those who like to soak at length.

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.

A California Corporation
3916 Sepulveda Boulevard Suite 203
CULVER CITY, California
Tel. 310-398-9320
Fax. 310-398-9541
[email protected]

Karen Jolley, Vice President, Europe, 
Middle East, Africa
     [email protected]
8, Rue David, 69003
LYON, France
Tel. (33) 4-72-12-04-32
Fax. (33) 4-72-68-08-40

Also See: Global Update: Who’s Where and Doing What / The Boutique Search Firm / Nov 2000

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