When Mickael Damelincourt started working at Trump hotels, there was only one property in the luxury collection. Eight years later, 10 hotels dot the North American landscape, with another 20 expected to open by 2020.
Damelincourt landed at a good company, but the Parisian never imagined he’d be working at a hotel prior to moving to the U.S. in 2000. “I went to business school in Paris, graduated with a Masters in Finance and Management and moved to New Orleans,” he says, explaining he wanted to find a job close to his future wife. “I was fortunate and found an opportunity in the hotel industry and fell in love with it.”
It was during a six-month internship at Le Méridien in New Orleans that he realized he had an affinity for hotels. Today, as the youngest GM in the New York City-based Trump Hotel Collection, the 38-year-old directs the team at the luxurious 261-room property, recently ranked number 1 on TripAdvisor and one of only two hotels in Toronto to be awarded the prestigious Forbes Five-Star award.
The charming hotelier juggles many tasks, but his biggest challenge is finding talent. “Running a hotel is simple once you have the right associates working with you. It’s about teamwork and working towards common goals. It’s also about celebrating our achievements together,” he says.
Damelincourt is casual in his approach to running the hotel. “I grew up in a family business and oversee the hotel the same way my parents ran their [business]. I care more about the associates and do not believe in titles. We are all important. My role is to set the direction, guide them, support them and make them proud of their successes,” he says.
Of course, making the guests happy is an ongoing goal, so the hotel recently launched a digital library. “[It] allows our guests to access newspapers and magazines from around the globe in the comfort of their guestroom,” he says. And the 31st-floor restaurant, which overlooks the Toronto skyline, was rebranded. “We entered into an agreement with Oliver & Bonacini and Ink Entertainment to launch America Restaurant and The Calvin Bar. They’ve been a huge success for us.”
Though the hotel has only been open two years, Damelincourt is always evolving it with the times. “We’re launching two new hotel units in the residential section of our building, which will be above and beyond what’s been offered in Canada and allow us to satisfy the needs of our most famous celebrities who already have embraced our property. The units will provide the privacy of a home with all the services of a five-star hotel. It’s about challenging ourselves to be creative and innovative with accommodations to satisfy the specific needs of our guests,” he says.