You worked at several hotels in the DHM -
Discovery Hotel Management portfolio before you took up the challenge of managing the Rio Douro Hotel & Spa. How do you view the way Discovery has evolved, the evolution of its units, its projects, its concept?
It's been a natural evolution. Learning by doing, listening, interacting with people, teams, and clients. They are our greatest allies and teachers. They are the voices we want to "hear"
Everything then simply happens. The units have undergone an incredible transformation and as a result, they have been converted into inviting spaces. Adapted to the regions where they are located, incorporating local cuisine, listening to the local people, absorbing their culture. The simplicity of the rooms blends with truly emotional experiences. You feel like staying, wherever you happen to be. Every detail is much more than just a detail, every smell, every color, every gesture, every genuine and generous smile from our teams. Our teams are our anchors. They are responsible for developing and nurturing this concept, which is so remarkable, so uniquely ours!
DHM - Discovery Hotel Management is promoting a new kind of hospitality, which is more laid back and closer to guests. Do you believe that this difference is truly reflected in operations and in guest reviews?
Absolutely, there's no doubt about that. Our operations are never isolated, never impersonal. Everything we do reflects this proximity. We adapt to each client, to each season or to every hour of the day. That's how we create outstanding experiences and exceed expectations. The excellent ratings appear naturally, as a result of what we do. Accolades are not, nor will ever be our objective, they are always the result of our work.
Is the difference, or this new form of hospitality, only reflected in renovated units or can we speak of a transversal Discovery concept?
The true renovation and creation of the concept lies in our people, in our teams and that happens very quickly. The renovation is not always a necessary ingredient to produce a smile. True investment is in the way we interact with teams, how we create valuable relationships, in the humbleness and simplicity of each of us.
What are the main traits of Discovery's DNA which you feel are across-the-boards to the entire Discovery universe? Making things happen. Authenticity. The genuine warmth of all our staff. The way each of us, without exception, is committed to each project and always strives to achieve the best results. You cannot have results without commitment.
For something to be across-the-boards, there has to be constant communication between professionals and units. How are knowledge and information shared?
Even before we interact with guests, there is the way we relate to each other, how we create opportunities for interaction and training among the teams. This concept is based on sharing and it is evident in every department. We promote such interaction, we use social networks to overcome the barriers of distance, we share what we do, events and opinions, we learn from the errors that all of us make. We learn and grow together!
Why did you accept the post of general manager at the Rio Douro Hotel & Spa?
In recent years, I've had the opportunity to be at some of the units of the Discovery universe and participate in the inauguration of some of the best units in the country. I am the sum of all those experiences and their teams, of which I am an enthusiastic member and client. This was the right challenge to take up. You only have to come to the Rio Douro Hotel & Spa to see that. There are places which charm us from the outset, which make us smile instantly. In this profession, we have to be capable of making someone happier, to produce a sense of wellbeing, to make dreams come true, to create memories. I felt that was possible here. It's somewhere you can go beyond the ordinary.
What can we expect from the new Rio Douro Hotel & Spa and what are the expectations for the future? We are going to have a hotel where one can experience and enjoy its natural surroundings, the Douro River, and good food, for guests who seek a more active stay or guests who simply wish to relax. The serenity and tranquility of the waters enable true sensorial experiences in our Spa. The sunset provides the perfect light for enjoying a cocktail at the bar before trying out some traditional dishes in the restaurant. Our greatest ambition is to know if we managed to exceed the expectations of our visitors. We wish to transform ideas into reality! That is our future!
PHOTO Left: José Tomaz de Mello Breyner - General Manager of the Furnas Boutique Hotel Center: Nuno Sequeira - General Manager of the Rio Douro Hotel & Spa Right: Pedro Alvellos - General Manager of the Azor Hotel