Luxury is living new experiences
Voted Best Hotelier in 2010 by the Leading Hotels of the World group, Luca Allegri has been Senior Vice-President of Operations of the Oetker Collection since 2016 and CEO of Palace Le Bristol Paris. He is Italian and began his career in the luxury hotel industry at the age of 19, occupying most of the job positions in this field, from seasonal to sales manager. Getting skills in different fields such as finance, catering, customer relations and management at the prestigious Cornell University (US), he took on high responsibilities within the Four Seasons chain then co-directed the Plaza Athénée Paris before taking up the general management, in 2007, of the Hôtel de Paris in Monte-Carlo. In 2011, he became Managing Director of Société des Bains de Mer’s (SBM) hotels, restaurants, and spas in Monaco. With the Hôtel de Paris and the Hermitage, two legendary establishments of the Côte d'Azur.
To give its clients an irreproachable quality of service, Bristol Paris has been working for several years with Bureau d’Image. The Bureau d’Images’s trainers have trained a lot of collaborators during multiple grooming workshops adapted to the needs of Bristol. Bureau d’Image and Bristol co-created a training module: “grooming service”, a tailored and individual course for each collaborator. In 2019, a special workshop was created to respond to a significant trend these past years. It is called “take care of your beard”.
Bureau d’Image: How do you define luxury?
Luca Allegri: Each person has a very personal definition of luxury. For me, it would be the idea of having diner in a Michelin-starred restaurant. Epicure for example, the 3-star restaurant of Bristol Paris. Having time to enjoy every moment, having space, feeling (almost) like you are the only person left on the planet. To me, the art of living represents luxury.
BI: Does French luxury exist? What would be its features?
LA: It does exist, more than ever. Thanks to the artisans, hoteliers, creators, restaurant owners who work in France. To me, France and Italy are leaders in this field. French luxury products stand out thanks to their quality.
BI: What have been the major developments in the luxury hotel industry in the past decades?
LA: Indeed, the luxury hotel industry has evolved these past years. The creation of Label Palace, in 2011, has been a major event for all the luxury hostels. For a few years, we have been observing diversity in the offers, keeping a high quality of service. It is the case for the “Boutiques hotels”, which offer fewer services (restaurants, spas…). They have their very own identity, making sure every detail is perfect. To finish, I can say than luxury hotels used to be in large cities (Paris, Côte d’Azur, Monaco…), some high standing hostels were open in smaller cities. It enables to diversify the offers to our customers.
BI: How do Palaces stand out?
LA: Palaces stand out by their high quality of service, Michelin-starred restaurants, and very new experiences. At Bristol, Chef Eric Frechon has been there for more than 10 years. He has kept his 3 stars at Epicure for more than 10 years. To give our customers new experiences, we have created “Les ateliers du Bristol”. It includes a bakery, a chocolate factory, and a wine cellar. These spaces are in Bristol’s back stages, but our customers can visit them. In each Palace, we want to reach excellence.
BI: What kind of leader are you? What principles guide your professional life?
LA: The principles that guide me every day: wanting to learn and to pass on my knowledge, curiosity, wanting to do better. You should ask people I work with this question. But I think I am a leader who likes to participate. I encourage teamwork and autonomy. To me, each employee must undertake. Accuracy and respect are, to me, two very important values for a leader.
BI: What kind of needs does the direction of luxury hotel require? What do you except from your teams? What is the most important quality?
LA: Perfection, interaction with customers, but also teamwork. It is essential to reach excellence. It is also very important to stay authentic, to be yourself. That is what customers like. Thanks to that, our quality of service stands out.
BI: For what kind of mistake are you indulgent?
LA: When it results from wanting to do the right thing.
BI: Why is it essential to train your teams to a high standard service?
LA: We have to offer a high standard service, without any mistake. It can be learnt, and you can make it perfect.
BI: Does a CEO keep learning every day about luxury, its codes, and the multiple ways of representing it?
LA: Of course, it is important to always challenge yourself, to listen to our customers, our collaborators. It is the capacity to be amazed, to be curious, to be inspired, to discover…
BI: What advice could you give to young professionals?
LA: You always have to keep in mind that every experience is important, never stop being curious, keep learning, travel, observe…
BI: What do you preconize for men? Trimmed beard or clean shaven?
LA: It is not important. The attitude, emotions, passion of work and elegance of gestures are important.
BI: For women: for or against red nail polish?
LA: As I said, everything is in the elegance of gestures. We have to move with the times.
BI: If luxury hotel industry were a color, what would it be?
LA: Turquoise blue because it makes me think of the sea. Pastel and beige because they are elegant, sober, and trendy.
BI: An animal?
LA: A cat, more specifically a sacred Birman. This animal represents family, comfort, and the feeling of being home. About the race, I would say the sacred Birman are extremely beautiful in their attitude and they are elegant. You can understand why we have adopted Fa-Raon, sacred Birman and mascot of Bristol Paris for 10 years!
BI: An adjective?
LA: Beauty. Beauty of gestures, of a dish, of interior design.
BI: An emotion?
BI: An object?
LA: A gastronomic dish: Chef Eric Frechon’s truffle and foie gras macaroni. To me, this dish is a kind of art. It could also be a watch that represents a meticulous work.
BI: A motto?
LA: "We are host of choice creating meaningful connections in endearing places". Motto of Oetker Collection.
BI: A virtue?
LA: To like to please.
BI: A historical figure?
LA: Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol, who inspired a lot of hoteliers. That is why numerous establishments are called “Bristol”.