A LITTLE BIT MORE
What actor or actress would play you in a movie of your life?
Russell Crowe — that’s what my wife thinks!
What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t in your current industry?
I would be an architect. Having spent a large part of my life restoring a 14th- and 17th-century castle to adapt it to our times while respecting its soul, I’ve learned to love this craft. I find the teamwork and constant dialogue with craftsmen of great quality inspiring.
What is your favorite book, movie or television show?
The Crown, a Netflix series which portrays an epoch that is gradually disappearing while depicting the permanence of particularly complex human relationships.
What historical figure, dead or alive, would you love to have dinner with?
Pharaoh Djoser of the Third Egyptian Dynasty (2600 B.C.). I met Jean- Philippe Lauer, Egyptologist, who dedicated his life to the study of the famous step pyramid of Saqqara, which served as the tomb of this great pharaoh. I hope Djoser’s architect Imhotep would accompany him so I could unravel building secrets that remain imperfectly solved.
What is your most recent project, and what was the inspiration behind it?
I travel the world to visit Relais & Châteaux members (more than 580 in 60 countries), all renowned and independent hoteliers and chefs with the same passion. I always go behind the scenes, where a chef, with his team, plays his reputation. This inspired a project at my family’s Relais & Châteaux.
In our new open kitchen we serve simpler dinners than in our Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant, enabling guests to admire those who work so hard to give us a taste of the best of a terroir thanks to a constantly renewed creative spirit, while tasting dishes prepared in the oldest fireplace of our castle; it is a show we never tire of. Guests will discover beautiful bottles of classified Grands Crus in a cellar we will dig under the kitchen in the rock.
What is your favorite aspect of the job?
I love to meet our members and discover their exceptional hotels and restaurants where the authenticity of their unique region is sublimated.
What’s the biggest business risk you’ve ever taken?
As a consequence of the current health crisis, we drastically cut our budget (by almost 50 percent) to relieve our members’ operating costs and thus help them get through the long and difficult period ahead. It is a heartbreak to part with committed and talented staff. But it is my duty to make sure we will be ready to bounce back by keeping all our members on board.
Who is someone you admire professionally in the travel industry?
I have great admiration for Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso, not only for his extensive knowledge of and great passion for our properties but especially for his vision regarding the evolution of the luxury travel market. To better understand the expectations of tomorrow’s guests in order to better satisfy them is part of our common challenges, and Matthew always has a wise and reasonable view which represents a form of reassurance.
AS A TRAVELER
Share a comical travel experience: My family had a wonderful two-week stay discovering Japan, which remains an extraordinary country because it is so different from any other place. On our first train journey from Tokyo station, we were taken aback by signs exclusively in Japanese. Knowing the reputation for punctuality of Japanese trains, I had the idea of forgetting our destination and concentrating on schedules. After we finally arrived at the right platform, I told my family in front of the perfectly illegible sign that everything was “very clear now” and we all chuckled. This one sentence turned a frustrating situation into a comical one, and we repeat this story every time we talk about our memorable trip to Japan.
What is your preferred method of travel — planes, trains, automobiles, cruise ships — and why? I have had pleasant experiences with all forms of transportation, and I cannot say I prefer one in particular. Each mode of transport corresponds in a different way to a specific need. Obviously, traveling by car or train gives the trip another dimension, allowing one to get to know the country’s culture better.
What has been the best example of customer service you’ve experienced during your travels? Just before the health crisis, I visited Relais & Châteaux properties in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia. Apart from the warm welcome I received, I was conquered by the ease with which, despite the borders, I traveled between countries. The guides who shared their passion for the beauty of the African fauna and flora were exceptional. Flying over Victoria Falls; spending two hours in a discovery car admiring two lions wisely asleep, nonchalantly opening one eye then closing it again; chasing a leopard then contemplating him in the tree where he found refuge are memories for a lifetime. The number of people constantly present to take care of us is impressive. It was truly a fully curated Relais & Châteaux experience!
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
The Global Business Travel Association, the world’s largest business travel and meetings trade organization, recently released a statement from GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang regarding the Biden administration’s recent announcement that the U.S. travel ban will be relaxed in November for vaccinated travelers from 26 Schengen countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
Anchorage-based Northern Pacific Airways agreed to purchase its first six aircraft — Boeing 757s — this week. This transaction meets part of its initial fleet requirements, and the first aircraft from this purchase will be delivered immediately. Northern Pacific Airways plans to offer service between U.S. points and Asia, via Anchorage, Alaska.
The Rittenhouse has long stood out as one of Philadelphia’s finest hotels, centrally located in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Needless to say, I knew I was in for an afternoon of luxurious pampering when I hopped in my car and headed down I-95 from my suburban home to the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. As I drove through the seemingly endless roadwork on the highway, I realized just how long it had been since I’d driven this once-familiar route into the city as a result of the pandemic. Of course I was eager for the relaxation and bliss that was in my future, but it was also a welcome feeling to head back into Philadelphia for a moment of normalcy.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Nice, France, with us.