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Hotel Corner

Michel Cottray, General Manager at The Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong

Michel Cottray, General Manager at The Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong, shares with us his 30-plus years in the hospitality industry the world over.
I grew up in Paris. My father owned a delicatessen selling fine foods. I was asked to help out on weekends and I opted to work at the front counter selling and cashiering, basically interacting with customers which was something I really enjoyed and still do. My father then encouraged me to go to hotel school in Paris to further my interest in this area. 
The very first hotel I worked at was actually a Holiday Inn, for one year. Subsequently I joined ITT Sheraton, the predecessor of Starwood, the group I stayed with for most of my career. I've worked in hotels all over the world. I met my wife while working in Germany; went to Phuket before it became a well-known vacation haven; and spent quite a few years in Australia, then Saudi Arabia, Bali, Frankfurt, Monaco, Greece and finally Paris. You can say I’ve seen it all. 
I am very happy to be in Hong Kong both for the dynamism of the city and because here, the personal touch still matters. I can go to one of our restaurants and talk to customers and they will acknowledge and respond.
In fact to me, being connecting to people and so making a contribution to the success of the hotel is something I really enjoy as part of my job. In the same vein, I think the key to being a good general manager is to keep your feet to the floor, so to speak. The hospitality business is all about people and being able to connect with them and serve their needs.
I am very proud of the Holiday Inn Golden Mile. This is one of Hong Kong’s iconic hotels, with its illustrious history and tradition. Its location in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui is simply A plus. Our rooms are big by Hong Kong standards and in this city, space is luxury. So this is unlike any Holiday Inn in the world: we are in effect a four-star hotel with the full range of services that you’d expect of one.
Our hotel is going through an extensive renovation programme which will make the place more modern and up-to-date. Our lobby has been extensively refurbished with lighter colours and is less cluttered; our new pods for the reception helps to break down the barrier between our staff and the guests. 
While I am new to Hong Kong, I really appreciate the diversity and the contrast the city offers between modern and old.The Star Ferry ride, for example, which lasts all of seven minutes in a boat used for decades, sort of disconnects you from the present, at least during that moment. The same goes for riding the tram. 
I enjoy the Dragon’s Back hike which is truly scenic and spectacular. I also enjoy trying out new restaurants and new cuisines – there are so many of them. I am really looking forward to discovering more about Hong Kong.



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