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Meet Jerome Stubert, General Manager of Novotel Century Hong Kong

Jerome Stubert, General Manager of Novotel Century Hong Kong, reflects on 20 years of life as a French hotelier in Asia

 

I decided to work in this industry when I was nine years old. My mother and grandmother loved cooking and welcoming friends and family at home – sometimes in disguise, with music, or even with fireworks. I loved it: setting up the buffet and welcoming everyone at the door one by one… I thought, this is what I want to do with my life.

I was moved to Africa in 1989, three years after my first job with Accor group. I was in the Central African Republic for three years in charge of one Novotel. Then I came back to France when my wife and I had our first baby; after staying in Paris for 2 years, we moved to Asia in 1994.

Our first home in Asia was Koh Samui in Thailand. We never left the region from there – our next stops were Indonesia, then South Korea for six years, and now Hong Kong…

 

 

My first attempt to move to Hong Kong didn’t quite work out. In the early 2000s I wanted to come here as an expatriate but management didn’t seem to think a Frenchman would do well in Hong Kong at the time. The playing field was more British or Australian dominated; a decade later, however, Hong Kong changed, my company changed, and so did I… there was finally a position here in 2011 and I was ready for it.

What I love about my job is being able to travel and discover different cultures and environments along the way, and moreover, learning from it all together as a family.

Hong Kong and Singapore were on top of my list, but Hong Kong stood out as having more of an Asian flavour. My first impression of Hong Kong was that of a very dynamic city – business oriented, and a bit rough around the edges. I liked the energy a lot.

 

 

Opening a hotel is like delivering a baby. I will never forget my first hotel opening as a general manager in Jakarta. It’s a lot of hard work, it drains your energy for at least six months, but nevertheless I loved the whole experience.

In moments of crisis you find the true heart of people. You see how far they can go to help others, and that’s the positive thing I take from the worst moments of my career, having had to deal with natural disasters in the past.

During my free time here I like to take my motorbike and ride to Shek O beach or to the beautiful vistas of the New Territories. I’m no guitar sensation either, but whenever my daughter is back from France we spend time singing and playing together. We go down to The Wanch on Jaffe Road and jam there for fun.

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