Written by Saul Taylor
The unflappable Philippe Perd has been the GM and then MD at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc for 18 years. He was responsible for inviting amfAR, which is now a highlight in its annual calendar. He regales us of its impact on the region.
How does it feel to work here?
I have to pinch myself every day. I push that revolving door and walk down the main alley every day just to remind myself where I am. To enjoy that amazing view. The light is never the same, so you never see the same picture and it just helps me remind myself that, yes, I am in one of the most amazing hotels in the world.
How do you maintain such good service?
The vision of the general manger isn’t enough. It is how you share that vision with your team. When I say, “My vision is clear — I want to be the most legendary hotel in the world,” it’s very ambitious. If you tell them how you’re going to do that and give them the right operational tools and procedures, it makes things a lot easier. If they’re not as dedicated as I am, if they don’t have the same 360 degree vision of details, it can’t happen.
What does the 150th anniversary represent?
It means there is so much history attached to the place, but it makes me think of that slogan, ‘respecting the past but understanding the future’. Would that 150 anniversary mark the start of a new era? Yes and no. Because I think continuity is what we have always wanted in this place, through service quality, through infrastructure, through design.
How did the you get involved with amfAR?
I attended amfAR when it was at Le Moulins de Moujins restaurant in Cannes. I got on extremely well with Andy Bose and I said to him, I have a lot of respect for what you do at the restaurant and the chef is still a good friend of mine. But it was tough for them as the event became bigger. It was nightmare to get there and even worse to leave because it was just one road. One day, I was walking to the spa by the tennis courts and I thought, that’s where it’s going to be. It clicked straight away. I called my executive to come with a long tape measure. The two tennis courts put together were 1,460 sq m, which is huge. I called Andy and said, “I have a great idea, why don’t we do it there?”. In the old days there was nothing planned after the dinner so people ate and left. So we thought why don’t we do something for after. And I tell you, everyone came that first night. It was such a successful party. It made us so enthusiastic about doing the whole event here. We never looked back.
What about all the security?
It’s all important for everyone including the region. The prefect himself attends meetings with the chief of police. Zero risk doesn’t exist and it’s very exposed because there are hundreds of stars from all over the word. Security is prime importance for us and the security team from amfAR is exceptional. We close the entire Cap for the day. From 10am, it’s a one-way circulation. The neighbours weren’t happy but then they realised it’s great for the city and its exposure.Back