Heads Above the
The Newsletter of The Boutique
|Changes at Paris’ Hôtel de Crillon: Hotel Manager Philippe Perd
is leaving to become the General Manager at the exquisite 38-room Chateau
Saint Martin in Vence, part of the hotel holdings of the German Oetker
family (along with the Hôtel Bristol Paris, Antibes’ Hôtel
du Cap, Brenner’s Park in Baden Baden and Park Hotel Vitznau in Switzerland).
Current Chateau Director Danièle Brunet, a 33-year veteran of the
group, will remain on board for one year alongside Perd. Prior to
joining the Crillon in 1998, Perd spent nine years with the Savoy Hotel
Group in London. Also new at Chateau Saint Martin is Executive Chef Philippe
Guérin, 34, who joined from the prestigious kitchens of the famed
Hôtel Négresco in Nice.
Another loss for the Hôtel de Crillon is Director of Housekeeping
Laurence Buggiani, who joins Mandarin-Oriental’s Hôtel du Rhône
in Geneva. Before her three years at the Crillon, Buggiani had logged seven
years at the Hôtel Ritz Paris.
|At London’s Royal Lancaster, Philip Skitch is Resident Manager. He
previously was the General Manager of the Harrington Hall Hotel, also in
|Gregory de Clerck has been appointed Regional Six Sigma Manager for
Starwood in Holland, where his expertise will be applied to the Amsterdam
Sheraton Airport, the Pulitzer Hotel Amsterdam and the Westin Rotterdam.
He was previously the Hotel Manager at the Hyatt Regency Jerusalem.
|At beleaguered Méridien Hotels, Jacques Charles moves up from
General Manager at the Méridien Juan Les Pins to the same position
at the larger Méridien Nice. There he replaces Jacques Le Couls
who moves on to Rio de Janeiro, where he takes over as Regional Director
from Adrian Constant. The latter is joining Orient-Express as Regional
Director for Europe. Still at the Méridien Juan Les Pins, Director
of Food and Beverage Emmanuel Richardet leaves to become the Executive
Assistant Manager at the Méridien Penina in Portugal.
|At London’s Savoy Hotel Group, Cornell-educated Kostas Trivizas
is out as Director of Revenue Maximization, a position for
which he had been plucked away by Savoy from the Peninsula Group in Hong
Kong in August 1999.
|Jean-Philippe Hubau is the General Manager of the Manoir de Beauvoir
in France. He was previously the Executive Assistant Manager at the Méridien
Cancun, a Leading Hotel of the World.
|Bernard Villain is the Chef de Cuisine at the Manoir de Hautegente
in France’s Périgord region. Prior to that he was the Chef de Cuisine
for the gourmet restaurant of the Ritz-Carlton Dubai.
|AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
|Based in Johannesburg, Elke Margarete Menz has taken up position as
Director of International Sales & Marketing with Accor Africa,
looking after incoming and outgoing sales for properties such as Ibis,
Novotel, Mercure and Sofitel across the continent. She previously was for
eleven years with Southern Sun Hotels in a number of sales and operations
|Pierre Baumgartner is the General Manager of Amanjena, arguably the
most breathtaking of all Amanresorts, in Marrakech, Morocco. An Aman veteran,
he originally joined the company in 1993 as the General Manager of Amanpulo.
Baumgartner is a Lausanne Hotel School Graduate.
|At the 290-room Renaissance Hotel Dubai, David Ippersiel has been named
Director Sales and Marketing, moving up from Dubai’s JW Marriott where
his position was Director of Sales.
|Bill Kimpton is dead at 65. He who single-handedly revolutionized the
hotel industry and launched “boutique” hotels will probably be forever
remembered as a visionary on par with the Conrad Hilton and Ellsworth Statler
of the world. From its 1981 humble beginnings with one property, his Kimpton
Group now owns or operates 35 hotels and 29 high-profile restaurants. He
will be sorely missed.
|More changes at Bacara in Santa Barbara where Richard Holtzman takes
over from Alan Fuerstman as Managing Director. Holtzman, a second-generation
Hotelier and Cornell graduate (his father was the highly-respected President
of Rockresorts in the company’s heyday) is one of the country’s foremost
experts in resort management. After launching The Boulders for Rockresorts
and making it a household name for golfers and sun worshippers worldwide,
he became President of Carefree Resorts until that company was taken over
|Herbert Pliessnig is the new Managing Director of New York’s St.
Regis. He just completed a very long tenure with Four Seasons, where he
held positions at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, Seattle, Vancouver, New
York (The Pierre) and Berlin (which he opened as General Manager). Until
this March he was the General Manager of the Four Seasons New York.
As if to trim payroll prior to Pliessnig’s arrival, the St. Regis New
York has downsized nine management positions overnight, to include Director
of Housekeeping Services Susan Richardson and Hotel Manager Steven Bie.
Bie was an eight-year veteran of the property.
|At the Four Seasons New York, Pliessnig is replaced by Austrian Thomas
Steinhauer. For the past three years, he was the General Manager at the
Four Seasons Wailea in Hawaii. Steinhauer’s stellar career also included
four years at The Phoenician and a one-year stint at the Doral for KSL.
His successor at the Four Seasons Wailea is Radha Arora, until now the
Hotel Manager at the Four Seasons Philadelphia.
|Christopher R.J. Knable is the new General Manager of The Regent Wall
Street. Most recently he was the General Manager at the Regency Hotel in
New York, a 351-room flagship property for Loews Hotels. Knable also has
extensive experience with The Peninsula Group, having held various positions
with Peninsula hotels in New York, Manila and Beijing. Knable replaces
Manfred Timmel who joined Ritz-Carlton as General Manager for its upcoming
Wall Street area property.
|Joe Violi is the General Manager of the Swiss Grand Chicago. A Cornell
graduate, Violi is a former General Manager with Ritz-Carlton, for whom
he opened what is now the St. Regis Aspen. 29-year-old Javier Rosenberg
is General Manager of the Swissôtel Atlanta, after six months as
Acting GM at the Swiss Grand Chicago. He previously was the General Manager
of Marbella Club in Spain.
|Tobias Mattstedt has been picked as Vice President Food and Beverage
for MGM Grand Las Vegas after an eight-month search. A German citizen,
Mattstedt had been the Executive Assistant Manager in charge of Food and
Beverage at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua since October 1998.
He previously logged four years with Peninsula in Hong Kong. At the
MGM he will be reporting to Gamal Aziz, Executive Vice President,
|At the soon-to-open (summer of 2001) St. Regis Monarch Bay in Laguna
Niguel, Reinhard Neubert is Hotel Manager, coming from the Four Seasons
Chicago where he was the Director of Food and Beverage. New Rooms Director
for the property is Eon Taylor, who comes all the way from Turnberry in
|Speaking of Turnberry, the original developers of the wildly successful
Turnberry Isle in Florida are now launching Turnberry at the North End
of the Las Vegas Strip. The four high-end condominium towers will offer
a full array of hotel services. Asaad Farag, who had been the Director
of Food and Beverage at the Beverly Hills Hotel and briefly the VP Food
and Beverage at the MGM Grand, is in charge. As for Las Vegas whiz kid
Paul Pusateri who deserves full credit for making the Paris Hotel &
Casino Las Vegas’ best cash-cow-with-style, he has resurfaced with the
Turnberry development team: the goal is to eventually build a 2,500-room
London-themed property on the site of what used to be the El Rancho Casino.
|Still in Vegas, John Culetsu joined the upcoming Palms Hotel &
Casino, a 475-room “boutique” property slated for a December opening as
General Manager. The Palms will feature a Buddha Bar, straight from the
creators of its Paris namesake and its Barfly sister restaurant. Culetsu
just spent over eight years as General Manager of the Crowne Plaza Las
Vegas. Prior to that he had been VP Sales and Marketing for Utell International.
|Michael Smith and Debbie Gold, a high-profile husband-and-wife chef
team, are leaving the helm of the famed American Restaurant in Kansas City
to open their own eatery which will be called Forty Sardines.
|While we are on the subject of restaurants, a page was turned in Los
Angeles with the simultaneous closing of two of its most famous eateries:
Spago Hollywood is no more, nor is Citrus. The latter closed allegedly
over a dispute with its landlord.
|David Hill has been appointed General Manager of the soon-to-be-renamed
Hotel Derek in Houston, a 319-room conversion of the former Red Lion at
the Galleria. Hill previously opened the very successful Hotel George,
on Washington’s Capitol Hill.
|At Barbados’ just re-opened and very, very plush Sandy Lane, whiz kid
executive chef Mark Patten, an Australian, now also holds the title of
Director of Food and Beverage. Exit Kevin Peterson who was previously the
Director of Food and Beverage and had come from the Inn at Spanish Bay,
in Pebble Beach.
|Thomas Tolxdorf is the new Executive Chef for the Ritz-Carlton Amelia
Island, in Florida, promoted from the position of Executive Sous
Chef at Singapore’s Ritz-Carlton Millennia. Tolxdorf replaces Jeffery Vigila,
who moves on to open the upcoming Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, in Miami.
As for Jorg Behrend, he opens the new Ritz-Carlton Boston as Executive
Chef. Alain Piraux has been promoted from Executive Chef to Director of
Food and Beverage at the Ritz-Carlton Dearborn.
|Pascal Billard, a former Director of Food and Beverage at the Hôtel
de Crillon, has been promoted by China Grill Management from the position
of Food and Beverage Director at London’s Sanderson to the same position
at New York’s Royalton. Both properties are part of Ian Schrager’s hotel
group. At Sanderson, Billard launched Alain Ducasse’s Spoon+. At the Royalton
he will be responsible for opening an outpost of Miami’s Blue Door, with
China Grill consulting chef Claude Troisgros. Billard’s fiancée
Daniela McLean, a former Director of Marketing and Public Relations at
the Hôtel de Crillon, is opening a North America sales office for
Alain Ducasse’s Chateaux & Hotels Indépendants.
|Sabine Glissmann has been appointed Director of Food and Beverage at
the Water’s Edge Resort in Westbrook, Connecticut. She recently relocated
to the United States after a stint as Director of Food and Beverage at
the very hip Park Hyatt Hamburg. She also was previously the Director of
Food and Beverage at the Four Seasons Palm Beach.
|At the New York Palace, Director of Catering Nick Type flies the coop
to concentrate on his budding fast food business, dubbed the “Tiffany of
fast food” by Gael Greene of New York Magazine. At the Palace too there
is a new Chef de Cuisine at Restaurant Istana. He is Dion Sprinkle, whose
pedigree includes stints at the Gotham Bar and Grill and at the River Café.
|At Rosewood’s newly acquired Hotel Carlyle, Albert Herrera is the new
Director of Sales & Marketing moving up from Rosewood’s New York Regional
Sales Office. Herrera’s superb resume includes several years with Four
Seasons and Mandarin-Oriental.
Still with Rosewood, Ray Jacobi has been elevated to the position of
Chief Operating Officer. Taking over from him as General Manager at Dallas’
Mansion on Turtle Creek is Richard Baker, a former Four Seasons man who
joins from the Four Seasons Dallas, and had been Rooms Director at the
Four Seasons Beverly Hills.
|At L’Auberge du Soleil, Toby Reivant is Restaurant Manager, coming
from the St. Regis Los Angeles, which he opened. Prior to that he was the
Restaurant Manager at the Peninsula Beverly Hills.
|At The Charles in Cambridge, Fabian Unterzaucher is the Director of
Food and Beverage, having previously held the same position at the Four
|Director of Sales and Marketing Steve Janicek has left Miramonte in
Indian Wells to join the Ritz-Carlton Phoenix in the same capacity. He
is replaced at Miramonte by Michael Dominguez, who comes from the Sheraton
|Wanda Chan is the new Number Two at the Drake Swissôtel New York.
She was previously the Director of Hotel Operations at Las Vegas’ Rio All-Suite
Resort and Casino, a 2,548-suite behemoth. At the Drake, Chan joins
the rest of a whole new crew gathered by Managing Director Guenther Richter,
including Executive Housekeeper Donna O’Brien, Front Office Manager Augusto
Gomez formerly of The New York Palace and Restaurant Manager Philip Lee
formerly of China Grill and Asia de Cuba. The new team is rounded up by
Chef de Cuisine Rhys Rosenblum, formerly of the Millennium Broadway.
|ASIA & THE PACIFIC
|William Black, one of the stars of Asian Hospitality, has joined Singapore’s
spanking new Grand Fullerton as General Manager, taking the spot left vacant
by MV Puri. Black, a Canadian citizen, previously spent 18 years with Regent
International as General Manager in Bangkok and Singapore.
|Nick Clayton is leaving his post of General Manager of the wildly successful
Ritz-Carlton Millennia Singapore to take over from Andreas Matmuller as
Director of Operations for Mandarin-Oriental. The change is slated for
|Peter James Freeman, a New Zealander, is General Manager for Imperial
Century Hotel & Resort West Jakarta. He previously was the Director
and General Manager of two properties of a major hotel group in Australia.
Still with Century Hotels, John MacNeill, a British national, becomes
the General Manager of the Century Imperial Palace Suites in the Philippines.
He originally joined the company at the 516-room Century Hong Kong Hotel
as their Rooms Division Manager in October 1999.
|Erik Berger is the opening Executive Chef for Singapore’s Spoon Bistro,
a venture launched by former Singapore Oriental Manager Scott Swank. Berger,
a US citizen, previously worked with Joachim Splichal and Jeremiah Tower
|At the Ritz-Carlton Millennia Singapore, Executive Chef Christophe
Megel has just hired a Chinese chef from Taipei, Simon Ho, to steer the
hotel’s Chinese restaurant.
|Bill Sayce was recently named General Manager of The Pan Pacific Bangkok.
Sayce has been with Pan Pacific for eight years and was most recently General
Manager at the Mauna Lani Hotel and Bungalows on the Big Island of Hawaii.
|Akram Touma was named General Manager, The Westin Resort Macau. Before
joining the property, he was the pre-opening General Manager of the Sheraton
Shenyang Lido Hotel, and the General Manager of the Sheraton Guilin Hotel.