A day in the life of a hotel manager is…
As the Hotel Manager, there’s no typical “day in my life” with my job. Each day is always full of surprises – both good and sometimes not so good, but at the end of the day what needs to get done, needs to get done. I don’t really have a routine or agenda that is set in stone, and I am usually finding myself adapting to situations as they come along. It’s all part of what makes what I do challenging and enjoyable, all at the same time.
How did you get into the industry?
I started my training in hospitality at the age of 14 with a two week F&B training at one of the hotels in Bordeaux, my hometown, where I continued my education till I moved to Switzerland when I was 19 years old. Since then, I’ve learned a lot, still am, and my responsibilities now at Grand Hyatt Singapore involves hands-on management of the activities and business decisions for each arm of the hotel, including the rooms, events, F&B and spa.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
After having been in the world of hospitality for 16 years, I can honestly say that the days where I feel the most satisfied are the ones when I see guests happy. Whether it’s with their stay in Singapore, their meal, or their time indulging in something else at the hotel, the joy a guest shows lets me know that my work is done well. It’s one of the best, most fulfilling experiences from working in this industry.
The difficulties that suddenly spring up at any given time can obviously be stressful, but it is also a point of excitement – like I said, no two days are completely the same. Things can turn out in unexpected ways, and unusual situations are a given if you work in this field long enough.
At the end of the day, I find that the most challenging part about this industry is that we are dealing with humans as this is the core of our business; working with and serving people. In the hospitality industry, there’s just no escaping these interactions on a daily basis. It is always my desire to empathise and respond to our guests’ individual needs, so we can provide them a memorable, personalised experience with us.
What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
This story happened during my time in Morocco. Together with almost 30% of the hotel’s staff, we had to drive with all our cooking equipment, tableware, food and beverages for three hot days into the Moroccan desert. We were catering for the closing dinner at the Marathon des Sables, a seven-day marathon attended by 500 endurance athletes and special guests.
The location was about 1,500km away from the city and we had to pack enough supplies to last the entire journey. We basically created a self-sufficient camp in the middle of nowhere, which took an immense amount of behind-the-scene coordination.
This was an absolutely unforgettable event because it’s a true testament to how individuals in a hotel can work with such harmony and team spirit to orchestrate something of this magnitude. Given the location, we were constantly worried that the experience for the guests could be ruined by sand getting in their dinner or worse, that the event would be hit by a sand storm, but thankfully we had prepared everything we needed in advance and the event concluded smoothly without a hitch.
What’s your favourite meal/ drink in Grand Hyatt Singapore?
I love the idea that there’s the opportunity to match all the culinary cultures at mezza9, our signature lifestyle restaurant at the hotel. The ability to travel through different countries in just one meal is probably why I think mezza9 offers one of my personal favourite dining experiences at Grand Hyatt Singapore. For drinks, we’ve got a really wide selection of wines by the glass, all presented and served from magnum bottles in 10 SCOTTS. Since it also has a really relaxed, calm and comfortable atmosphere, I personally like entertaining guests and even my friends there when they visit.
What’s your favourite food and wine pairing?
I can’t say I have any, but I’m definitely always open to suggestions. Since relocating to Singapore, I’ve never stopped marvelling at the variety of unique dining options here, but I have yet to find a strict food and drink pairing that I will swear by as “the one and only”.
The perfect day off would be…
My perfect day off would be one where I’d start my day in the gym or maybe go for a nice long run around the Botanic Gardens which isn’t too far from the hotel. For lunch, I’d prefer some place outdoors since I spend a good part of my day indoors. I love exploring the city and recently discovered the Tiong Bahru district which has so many great informal yet upscale restaurants with plenty of good food.
What do you want people to know about Grand Hyatt Singapore?
We’ve got exciting plans lined up for mezza9, including a major overhaul of the much loved martini bar. The bar’s concept will still remain the same but we’ll be giving our guests a refreshed and more spacious experience. Other plans for the restaurant also include a separate private events space built within mezza9 and promise that it’ll be accompanied by a brand new beverage concept. Our Thai kitchen will also be expanded, bringing guest more Thai street food favourites and more. All these will be revealed in full by next year.
Additionally, we will be continue to further accelerate our adoption of organic, sustainable, and low environmental impact ingredients for our menus. Other initiatives successfully launched at the hotel include complimentary access to 5,000 over digital newspapers and magazines for hotel guests, and the Biomax waste-to-fertiliser converter which keeps food wastage from the hotel at zero.
What’s your view on the luxury travel scene in Singapore?
Singapore has become one the highest standards in the world for luxury. Aside from the classic offers, the country was previously known to be quite conservative and reserved. But now, I find that businesses in Singapore are providing more daring concepts aimed at both a larger audience and a more niche group of travellers. There’re a lot more individual initiatives – bespoke bars, local designers, independent boutique hotels, all exposing Singapore as a more exciting location in Asia. So in one sentence, Singapore’s luxury travel scene has really started to grow into its first-world status.