Photo by Colin Way

When David Garcelon got his start as a commis chef at Toronto’s Windsor Arms Hotel, never did he dream he’d one day be a hotel manager.

The move from back- to front-of-house has been seamless for the 53-year old native of St. Stephen, N.B., who attended the Culinary Institute of Canada. After years as an executive chef, Garcelon transitioned to food-and-beverage director positions at Waldorf Astoria New York and Fairmont Austin before moving to Fairmont Banff Springs.

Now eight months into his current role as hotel manager, he’s still in awe of his surroundings. “Fairmont Banff Springs is such an iconic hotel. However, what makes it extraordinary is our team. We’re fortunate to have young people join our team who are thrilled to live and work here and their enthusiasm radiates to our guests.”

Given the ebb and flow of business, the hotel boasts between 900 associates in the winter to 1,200 team members in summer to service 757 rooms. Not surprisingly, he says, the hotel’s biggest challenge is recruiting. “We’re prudent with recruitment and therefore need to cast a wide net across the country and internationally.”

Though he’s still a novice on the hotel-management front, he knows success is driven by people. “Hire great people, support and inspire them, then step back and let them shine.”

While Garcelon says the hotel has many financial, guest and employee-satisfaction metrics, he measures his “success in supporting colleagues to grow their careers. We have many examples of employees who began their careers in the Fairmont Mountain Resorts in entry-level positions and rose to senior or executive level with Fairmont. Our CEO, Heather McCrory, started her career in Banff Springs’ laundry department.”

Next up for Garcelon and the hotel is the final stages of the Willow Stream Spa expansion and renovations, which will add 28 treatment rooms. “Also, our primary hotel bar will undergo a complete renovation in the first quarter and reopen in the spring as Rundle Bar. This project will complete our multi-year food-and-beverage capital plan and we’ll begin renovating guestrooms in the main building in 2020. We need to continually invest in our product and be innovative in our offerings, but it continues to be a genuine, caring guest service that makes the difference and drives repeat business.”


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