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39th International Relais & Châteaux Congress

November 23, 2013 Corporate No Comments Email Email

The most important annual meeting of the Association has just concluded. More than 500 Owners, Maîtres de Maison, Grands Chefs from 60 countries participated in the International Congress in Berlin from 17 to 19 November.

Following the presentation of the highlights of the past year, a key event was the election of the new International President of Relais & Châteaux and his Executive Committee: a topic fully aligned with this year’s convention theme: “The Transmission”.

Positive stocktaking

Relais & Châteaux New President Philippe Gombert

Relais & Châteaux New President Philippe Gombert

During the past year all of the Association objectives were met: the 2014 International Relais & Châteaux Guide lists 36 new members; 8 new destinations (Croatia, Latvia, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Russia, Ecuador, Mauritius, Turkey); nine additional cities (London, Seoul, Riga, Quito, Valparaiso, Seattle, Calgary, Johannesburg and Hangzhou); and 12 new Grands Chefs. A wind of renewal and rejuvenation has been blowing with the launch of the new CRÉATION gift range and the presentation of 85 villas and private homes.

These dynamics are reflected by the sales revenues 2012/2013 of the Association of EUR 112 million, including EUR 18 million from gift certificates and boxes sold (+ 3% versus prior year) and EUR 94 million of reservation volume via Central Reservations (+ 22% versus prior year). The sales revenues generated by our member properties totaled EUR 1.7 billion.

Jaume Tàpies, International President of Relais & Châteaux, presented an optimistic report at the end of his eight years of presidency: “Relais & Châteaux has definitely entered the era of modernity with a membership network which is more than ever international and has grown by 18%. We have moved from an Association to an enterprise-based model to accompany our growth, whilst respecting our founding values. And I am proud that our brand, a true gem with a rich history, continues to defend a concept of hospitality and cuisine which today encompasses the world and the cultures. These eight years have been an unforgettable human experience and I will continue to fight for the Association.”

A new President

Philippe Gombert will act for four years as International President of Relais & Châteaux.

This son and grandson of hoteliers, a former lawyer with the Paris bar, owner of Château de la Treyne (France), became a member of Relais & Châteaux in 1992 in the Great South West delegation of France, before he was elected Regional Delegate from 2001 to 2005 and nominated Secretary General by Jaume Tàpies in 2005 He coordinated all the French regions from 2006 to 2009 as National Delegate France, and became a member of the Executive Committee of the Association as Secretary General from 2009 onwards.

Philippe Gombert, new International President of Relais & Châteaux, confirms: “The heart of our Association has truly beaten in Berlin. I am proud to have succeeded in gathering around me an international team which is representative of our cultures and sensitivities, an experienced, young team which is also driven by the willingness to place Relais & Châteaux at the service of all its members.

We are passionate hoteliers and talented restaurateurs, all independent, convinced of the vital need to be part of a strong network which is capable of offering our guests the most beautiful experiences to discover the world and its unexpected savours.”

List of the members of the Executive Committee

The elected members are:

Philippe Gombert    Château de la Treyne, France                                President

Olivia Le Calvez      L’Hôtel de Toiras & Villa Clarisse, France          Secretary General

Thomas Maechler    Beau-Rivage Hotel, Switzerland                           Treasurer

George Goeggel       Auberge du Soleil, USA                                        First Vice President

Silvia Lafer                Johann Lafers Stromburg, Germany                    Vice President

OIivier Roellinger                Les Maisons de Bricourt, France               Vice President

Jaisal Singh                           Sher Bagh / The Serai Jasailmer, India     Vice President

Mar Suau                               Son Brull Hotel & Spa, Spain                    Member of the Board

Andrew Stembridge           Chewton Glen, United Kingdom             Member of the Board

Topical theme

The meetings and workshops focused on “The Time of Transmission”.

Transmission between generations through accounts by the Bras family in France (cuisine as a heritage), Asaba in Japan (transmission between generations for 500 years), Da Vittorio in Italy(transmission after a death).

Transmission of expertise was covered by a panel discussion highlighting the need to take care of the members of staff, the permanent search for excellence and the quality and benefits of synergies among the members of a family within an Association.

Finally, the transmission of the values of Relais & Châteaux, which have proven to an even broader extent their contemporary and dynamic features, as showcased by the publication of the booklet “Taste of the Americas”.

Two celebrities presented their visions of the world which will be the drivers of the future of Relais & Châteaux: “Take Up The Daily Challenges” by Stanley Bendelac, Spanish writer, author amongst others of the book ‘Never Give Up’; “101 Reasons to be Optimistic” by Edouard Punset, famous professor, politician, economist and journalist …

2014 will be marked for Relais & Châteaux by ambition and optimism.

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