Bernard set for challenge
A new man is in the hot seat at one of the kingdom’s most prestigious resort properties with the aim of continuing to develop the brand, its facilities and its customer care as competition continues to hot up in the sector.
Bernard de Villèle has been appointed as the new general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain and packs in plenty of experience bringingnearly four decades of hospitality experience.
He will oversee all operations at the 5-star luxury seasidedestination in Seef and said: “I’m excited to join the ladies and gentlemen ofThe Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain – some of the finest service staff I have met. As I begin my role with The Ritz-Carlton brand, I look forward to continuing our journey to world-class excellence within the region.
“Our resort is truly the pearl of the kingdom, and I ensure its continued legacy for years to come from expanding our dining to enhancing our resort features, guest experiences and more.”
The award-winning hospitality veteran has journeyed over two continents from The St Regis Mexico City to take up the post, replacing Jean-Paul Dantil who was recently appointed vice president of operations for the Almanac Hotels group based in Vienna, Austria.
Bernard has been described by industry sources as a ‘fervent leader and visionary’.
His career began in the hospitality industry more than 35 years ago after graduating from the world-renowned École Hôtelière de Lausannein Switzerland with a degree in hotel management.
His first role was as an F&B manager at the Hilton Strasbourg. Since then, his career has crossed multiple continents with tenures in award-winning properties and senior management and executive roles for St.Regis, Four Seasons, Hilton, InterContinental (IHG), Orient Express Hotels,Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Savoy Group and TAJ Hotels.
Highlights of his career include serving as Lebanon Area GMfor Habtoor Hospitality, leading the opening of The Lanesborough in Hyde Park,London, managing major renovations at the legendary Belmond La Samanna withBelmond, formally Orient-Express Hotels, and serving at the vice president of business development & operations in Europe where he helped to establish the noted Taj 51 Buckingham Gate.
Gaining the attention of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences in 2003, one of his most honourable mentions to date was being awarded as one of the finest hoteliers worldwide.
In 2010 Bernard joined The St Regis brand and led the opening of The St Regis Mauritius Resort, as GM. In January 2014, he became the GM of The St. Regis Mexico City, where he helped position the hotel as alandmark destination in Latin America.
In this role, he led the team to achieve many top honours, including Robb Report’s ‘Top 100 Hotels of the World’ in 2015, TRAVVY Awards' ‘Best Latin American City Hotel’, TripAdvisor ‘Traveller’s Choice Awards, No.1Hotel in Mexico’ and Food & Travel ‘Reader’s Choice Awards 2015 & 2016’.
Set within 20 acres of lush gardens and golden sandybeaches, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain’s challenge will be keeping ahead of an ever-evolving marketplace, with strong existing competition and the arrival of15 new properties on the horizon.
The 245-room five-star city resort features 31 suites and 42Club Level rooms as well as 23 seafront villas with their own private infinity pool, private beach access and 24-hour butler service.
On the dining front, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain offers both modern and international dining experiences with its seven award-winning restaurants, including a taste of what the new GM will have become familiarwith in recent times, the popular Mexican Cantina Kahlo.
The French national will also no doubt be following the FIFA World Cup 2018 with France confirming themselves as one of the tournament’sfavourites. He’ll enjoy watching the action from Russia in the resort’s acclaimed World Pavilion.
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Stanley Louis Szecowka
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