10 questions with Giampaolo Ottazzi of the Belmond Hotel Cipriani
Born in Genoa, Giampaolo Ottazzi has worked in luxury hotels for more than 35 years. Now Direttore D’Albergo presso (General Manager, in other words) of Hotel Cipriani Venezia, he has a good idea about what makes a good one – and a good guest!
1) When did you begin your career as an hotelier?
I started my hotel career in 1983 at the Splendido in Portofino as a bell boy. My idea at that time was to travel and visit the world, or, alternatively, make a job that would permit me to see the world staying in one place.
2) Was it a something you had always wanted to do?
Yes. Since I was young, I had wanted to travel and have the opportunity to meet people from different part of the world.
3) Name the definitive hotels you have worked at over the term of your career?
I have worked in many different hotels during my 35 years of career and not only in Italy, but I just want to mention the most important four: Villa d’Este, Villa La Massa, Belmond Hotel Caruso and Belmond Hotel Cipriani.
4) What is the best thing about working as an hotelier?
The best think is to come to work every morning without knowing what it will happen that new day…
5) And the worst?
… Same as above!
What makes a great hotel, and a great guest?
6) What do you think makes a truly great hotel – as opposed to simply a 5 star hotel?
The sense of hospitality and of empathy that staff is able to offer to the Guests, making them feel as at home… or better!
7) Can you name three of your favourites?
Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea in Taormina, Belmond Villa San Michele in Florence and Belmond Hotel Splendido in Portofino.
8) Now name three not Belmond hotels...
9) You are an expert in both hotels – and guests. What qualities does a great guest have?
A good guest must be respectful of the works that staff members offer to him with humility and simplicity.
10) You have been to so many luxury hotels. Can you consider the quality of simplicity and name a favourite holiday spot which has that?
The most recent hotel where I have been is the Hotel Hermitage in Cervinia where the genuine approach of the staff and the hospitality of the owners make the simplicity of this place a real luxury.
Main image: Giampaolo Ottazzi Image 1: Two famous faces, with THE face of the Cipriani, Roberto the genius concierge on the boat dock