To say Franck Arnold is an accomplished hotelier is an understatement. The 50-year-old GM of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto has earned a professional diploma and degree in Hotel Management and Culinary Arts from the Strasbourg Hotel School in France, as well as a Masters’ degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University and an MBA degree from Henley Management College in the U.K.; he’s worked in leading hotels around the world; and he speaks three languages fluently. Through it all, he still manages to find time to run marathons, play golf and cycle.
The native of Strasbourg was introduced to the hotel world at the young age of 15 when he went to the renowned hotel school in his birthplace. At the time, his intention was to become a chef. “I had the chance to continue studying, ended with an MBA and took the hospitality-management route to become a GM instead.” It was during his first job at the Palace hotel in Brittany that he “became fascinated by the refinement of the environment, the decor, the guests and the level of detail deployed to create extraordinary, memorable experiences.”
After working at various hotels around the world, including the Balmoral, a five-star iconic Rocco Forte hotel in Scotland, the Barclay InterContinental in New York and the Four Seasons in Chicago, Arnold arrived in Canada in 2016, ready and eager to assume the role of GM at the luxurious 263-room (including 63 suites) Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown Toronto.
“Working for Ritz-Carlton Hotels and being located in Toronto, currently one of the most vibrant cities in the world,” suits him just fine. These days, Arnold says, his biggest challenge is “to remain relevant, avoid complacency and constantly improve.” Among the hotel’s recent initiatives is the launch of the new “Cottage-Social” theme for its outdoor patio, called “Off the Eaten Track,” a part of the hotel’s recently revamped Culinary Adventure program. The kitchen also has a new team led by executive chef Dan Craig, pastry chef Gael Moutet and TOCA Italian restaurant chef Daniele Trivero. “We are also launching our latest community footprint initiative, called the Refugees-Succeed-to-Service program,” whereby the hotel helps integrate recent refugees into the Canadian work and social environments.
“We have a very diverse and balanced segment mix, with corporate and leisure customers, travelling as transients or in a group, and many guests from the local community enjoy our services in our meeting spaces, at the Deq Bar and Lounge, at TOCA restaurant and Ritz Bar, and in our wonderful Spa My Blend by Clarins.”
One of the core lessons Arnold has learned along the way is “Constantly deliver on the fundamentals of luxury hospitality and delight with service and product surprises and innovations inspired by, and from, your local environment.”