Toronto’s Kimpton Saint George has the distinction of being the first Kimpton property in Canada. For Bertrand Mangeot, GM of the boutique hotel, that distinction fuels him to build the brand and the buzz. “Our commitment is to deliver heartfelt care, unique design, quality and surprising ways,” he says.
The hotel prides itself on being “the first and only boutique hotel that really speaks to Toronto’s multi-faceted cultural scene,” says Mangeot. “Its location in the city’s Annex neighborhood brings together the best of bordering neighbourhoods, blending the historic feel of today’s chic, upscale Yorkville with the vibrant, bohemian hipness of Bloor West.” Virtually all of the art pieces in the hotel are original, with every finish, colour selection, piece of furniture and object carrying a meaning and a story. “This enhances the overall experience, making guests feel the warmth and vibe of the city from the moment they step in,” boasts the 41-year-old hotelier.
Born in Paris in 1977, Mangeot fell into the hospitality world during his final year of working on his Masters Degree at business school, doing a stint as an assistant financial controller in the West Indies. “I enjoyed my experience while doing this internship [and] realized my passion for hospitality. While the path was open, I got an opportunity to work as a duty manager at the InterContinental Barclay in New York,” which sealed his love for the industry.
“Every aspect of the job was unique; it showcased all dynamics, opportunities, challenges and needs of working in a true luxury hotel. I enjoyed interacting with guests, aniticipating their needs and going above and beyond for them. Each day gave me an opportunity to learn something different.”
In his role at the Kimpton, Mangeot oversees 61 associates and 188 guestrooms, including 20 suites and a presidential suite. While he may be new to the Toronto scene, Mangeot is already up-to-speed on a few of the challenges that plague the city’s hoteliers. “Our market is very competitive — finding great talent and retaining it is a challenge from time to time. The new MAT (Municipal Accommodation Tax) is impacting city-wide conferences as clients have an option of picking different cities. Technology is booming, but keeping up can be extremely expensive for owners. Lastly, Airbnb continues to grow and it’s [a strong competitor] in neighbourhoods.”
But at the end of the day, Mangeot is a firm believer that it all starts with making connections with guests. “That’s what makes their stay comfortable and memorable. I believe in cultivating great relationships; going the extra mile with every guest. They feel welcomed, cared for and trust that we’ll make it right for them if anything is not up to their satisfaction.”