Photography by Tanvi Madkaiker

Simon Chapman’s arrival in Toronto last fall to helm the 212-room InterContinental Toronto came on the heels of the hotel’s $12-million renovation. The native of Capetown, South Africa arrived at Canada’s first InterContinental property in September following a stint in Washington.

It’s a milestone year for the hotel as it celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2020. “It’s nice to see many employees still with us today — that’s true dedication to the brand and our loyal guests,” says the 42-year-old hotelier.

Chapman is no stranger to hospitality. His mom was a pastry chef and his dad a hotel GM in South Africa. Chapman attended London’s Thames Valley University for Hospitality Management, which was sponsored by IHG, and cut his teeth working in the family bar and restaurant business.

His first real hotel job was in Banquets at the Crowne Plaza London Heathrow. “It was a physical job with long hours, but it gave me significant respect for how tough certain roles can be in the industry.”

Having come from Operations, Chapman likes to get involved and “drill down into a potential service issue to ensure we understand and adjust our process if necessary.” He’s collaborative in his approach, guiding his team to determine the best solutions.

Though a GM’s success is measured by a series of metrics, Chapman says guest and employee feedback is pivotal. “I’m constantly working towards making our guest’s stay as memorable and seamless as possible. Employee engagement is crucial and I ensure employee feedback is listened to and addressed.”

While stress is inherent in a GM’s job, Chapman says he sleeps well knowing he has a strong team of 156 associates. “Having high service scores allows me to further push myself and the team to create new and unique experiences.

“The upgrades to the Proof Igloo have been the cherry on top our 30 years of excellence,” says Chapman, explaining the one-of-a-kind venue provides an annual winter outdoor-dining experience featuring igloos that can be booked through March 31. “These unique experiences help differentiate the hotel. We have an excellent culinary team, but what brings loyal customers is consistency in service, recognition of repeat guests and ensuring the team is engaged.”


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