Breakfast with Christian Tavelli, Hotel Ritz, Madrid
Reading time: 1000 words / approx. 3 minutes
The fine dining Goya Restaurant.
I am having breakfast with Christian Tavelli, right at the time the new edition of our book HOTEL RITZ MADRID hits the market. On my way to the restaurant I am crossing paths with our book. It is prominently presented at the hotel's lobby; history is obviously part of the identity!
We meet at Alfonso XIII ballroom, where breakfast is served. Christian Tavelli, a Mexican, Argentinian and Italian (three nationalities) and the general manager at the Hotel Ritz, Madrid, is already into his favourite Spanish ham with toast.
Q. Is this your preferred breakfast?
A. Yes. “Pa amb tomàquet”, one of Spain’s most traditional breakfasts (toast, olive oil, tomato, and in this case with ham, 'jamon')
Q. What did you do and where were you precisely when you heard that you would become the new general manager of the Ritz in Madrid?
A. At a morning meeting as General Manager at the legendary Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas Texas. I immediately called my wife to share the amazing news and we started making already great plans about our return to beautiful Spain, and even better Madrid, hometown for her!
Q. The difference between Mexico and Spain in 10 words?
A. Amazing scenery with passionate service versus old world traditional luxury.
(well done; 10 words, by the way!)
Q. If you were a hotel tester, what would you check first?
A. I will always check the restaurant first, it is always great to start a job after an amazing meal!
Q. Your ultimate goal for the hotel?
A. Be the best hotel in Europe and one of the top 10 in the world.
Q. Do you have a motto in life?
A. Always do your best, target 150% to get your 100%.
Above its doors stands "R" as in Regal — Royal — Ritz. With an upcoming renovation The Ritz Madrid will give Europe's best hotels a run for their money.
Q. What was your 'dream-profession' when you were a kid?
A. Becoming a Porsche test driver.
The Ritz Madrid is one of the Grand Hotels on earth. It was built in 1910, following the hotel-concept of the legendary César Ritz. Today it appears with all comfort and amenities of a 'Grand Hotel', from a splendid bar, a tucked-away discreet reception desk, a central lobby-ruling concierge desk (wonderful old-school) to cosy rooms and great beds.
The Ritz appears as a Rolls Royce Phantom 1930. But under its bonnet gallops the engine of a Porsche. So – in a way – Christian Tavelli has his dream job ...
Q. You reduced the dress code at the Ritz. Did it pay off?
A. Certainly, class doesn't necessarily link nowadays with dress code.
Q. Have you studied the history of your hotel and it's related facts?
A. It was my first role to read your centennial history book and surf the web to learn everything about the history of the Ritz.
Q. How important is the hotel's history for you as a marketing tool?
A. Definitely important, but it's only the base as guests want updated products with new world's service in a classic shell.
Ritz Madrid Centennial Edition, co-authored by UK historian Thomas Cane.
Q. Do you prefer to enjoy beauty rather alone or in company?
A. Beauty must be shared and enjoyed in company as you can exchange ideas and point of views. Isn´t this why social media is now so popular?
Q. Do you rather fall in love with people or ideas?
A. Both, it depends who you are meeting and the moment.
Q. When you start a project do you prefer enthusiastic partners or experienced ones?
A. Tricky one again. Evidently BOTH, you can imagine that in a hotel like the Ritz I encountered both and making the right match between enthusiasm and experience is where you find the win-win situation.
Q. Which hobbies are absolutely essential for you?
A. Travelling and diving.
Q. How many languages do you speak and which ones?
A. English, Spanish, French, some German, some Italian and now learning Mandarin.
Q. What was the most important advice you ever received?
A. "There is never a second chance for a first impression".
Q. Do you think a woman would be a better general manager?
A. Nowadays both genders are extremely well prepared to run a hotel. All you need is leadership and genuine care for your team as it is them that will make the difference with our demanding guests.
Q. Can you give us an impression of your next month's agenda?
A. Busy, busy and some days even busier! Tons of meetings, some training, some travelling around the world to promote our great hotel, and a lot of love quality time for my team.
Q. What would you like your best friend to say about you at your funeral?
A. Great guy but too involved in his work and his family, never had time for his friends!
Q. Would you ever bungee jump?
A. Are you nuts? I have enough adrenaline running the Ritz!!!
Q. Do you consider polishing shoes a man’s affair?
A. It depends how much you love your shoes!
Q. What is the first thing you notice about people?
A. By looking through their eyes I try to see how peaceful their soul is.
Q. Do questions like these make you reflect more about yourself.
A. No, I am having true fun answering them and they remind me how much I enjoy life!
Greatest location ever: a Plate with a view. Alfonso XIII ballroom as a background, Prado museum across the street, Madrid at the doorstep.
The Quick-? ones for Christian Tavelli
Stone or Beatles? BEATLES!!!
Black & white or colours? Depends on the situation.
Furs or synthetics? None, wool/linen.
Electric or wet shaving? Wet!
City or countryside? Countryside.
Reading or watching? Reading.
Tea or coffee? Both.
Cats or dogs? DOGS, the bigger the better!
Sports or Sofa? Half and half.
Open air or inside the music hall? No concerts, thank you!
Introverted or extroverted? Extroverted!
Thank you Christian!
You are welcome!
Hotel Manager: Sonia Timsiline
Front Office Manager: Álvaro Marzal
Head Concierge: Borja Martín Guridi
Executive Chef: Jorge González
Executive House Keeper: Irene Pazos
Director of Public Relations: Inmaculada Casado de Amezúa Fernñández-Amigo
Director of Sales: Marcelo Moscheni
Photographs: courtesy Ritz Madrid
Questions: Andreas Augustin / famoushotels.org
The Book: Andreas Augustin with Thomas Cane,
Cover by Manfred Markowski
©andreas augustin / famoushotels.org 2017