Name: Laurence Tafanel
Position title: Owner
Company name: Hotel Esprit Saint Germain Paris
When and why did you join the industry?
I am the CEO of an 85 years family business that operates distribution of beverages in France. I love staying in hotels. In 2001 I decided to buy two 18th century buildings towns houses on a small and quiet street. The building is historic and protected. When I bought the property, we literally broke down the walls and rebuilt from the inside to modernize and create as much space as possible in the rooms. We only kept the original facade and 18th century beams. After 3 year of works with a 25 million euros renovation we opened Esprit Saint Germain at the end of 2014. I tried to create the kind of hotel I would love to stay in.
What do you like most about your job?
Definitely the people and the passion. Our staff are amazing and with 25 staff running Esprit Saint Germain – a boutique 28 room hotel – the team know each other very well. We are happiest when our guests are enjoying their stay and return to us year after year.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
The hotel has been fortunate to receive many awards and each was been important to us but to receive our 5 star classification in 2012 was a big milestone, especially for a small hotel. It is always a lovely recognition of the amazing work that François Souman the Manager of Esprit Saint Germain and his lovely team does.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
An American friend told me if you can not be better you can be smarter.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
In our amazing industry there are many roles models.
Keep in mind that my I do not have any hotelier background. Every professional I meet is a model for me and a source of inspiration
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
A warm welcome, and we hope our guests feel like they are staying in a private home that is uniquely Parisian. We want to offer an authentic Left bank experience
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and France.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
I am fortunate to have only lovely travel experience.
I went to Colorado for a fly-fishing trip and loved that experience.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
My iPad, a scarf for the chills, and my treasured cushion to support my grumpy back!
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
President Macron on a long flight as there is plenty of time one can have to share is thoughts on the government and life. He looks to me handsome, bright and smart.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
Increased demand for smaller hotels offering personalised service and a true sense of Authentic experience.