INTERVIEW WITH GORKA BEGARECHE, MANAGER OF THE PARK HYATT MILANO
In the historic centre of Milan, only minutes away from Piazza Duomo, stands the Park Hyatt, an elegant 5 star luxury hotel in a nineteenth-century building.
Frequented by an international clientele including stars of show biz, the hotel now aims to become a landmark and meeting-place for all times of day, from breakfast to lunch, cocktails and after-dinner drinks. We met with manager Gorka Bergareche to talk about the hotel today and its prospects for the future.
D) You are a manager with a lot of experience working all over Europe. After Madrid, and many years in Paris, you are now here in Milan. Was it difficult for you to make a new start?
R) More than five years working in the French capital have taught me a lot, and so I was curious to see what it was like in Milan. But I soon realised why the Italian touch is so famous all over the world, what with Italian charm, style and culture. People made me feel at home right away, a stimulating experience in which my team and I have grown together day by day.
D) From your point of view, what is the current situation of tourism in the city?
R) At first I thought Milan was a place people mostly travelled to on business, and that it would be packed from Monday to Friday, but with time I discovered that the city is lively every day of the week. We have people arriving at the hotel every day, even on weekends, and they’re not only businesspeople, but couples, families and groups of friends out to have fun.
D) Where does your clientele come from?
R) We belong to an American chain, and so many of our guests come from the United States, as well as Asia, Russia, the Middle East, the Arab nations and Europe. We have received important political delegations, and have fond memories of hosting Michelle Obama with her two daughters during Expo 2015. We have also hosted big names in music such as Madonna and Bono of U2, who attracted a lot of media coverage. There’s always a lot of people coming and going in the hotel foyer and the dome area.
D) What are your goals for the future?
R) At the moment our annual occupancy rate is more than 70%, and this already appears to be a positive result, but we would definitely like to increase the average duration of stay, and even it out over the course of the year. We would also like to see continued growth in the appreciation of our faithful clientele.
D) To do this do you need to offer more services, or better quality?
R) I’d say both. We’re trying to make the hotel an event-filled place all day long, offering top quality services and products, starting with the gourmet food served in ‘Vun’ restaurant by award-winning chef Andrea Aprea. The public parts of the hotel are always open to guests from Italy and abroad for brunch, snacks, afternoon tea or cocktails at ‘Mio Bar’, and we also have a fully-equipped spa for wellness and relaxation.
D) What might be done to make the city of Milan more attractive?
R) The city could, or rather, must grow further, and to make it a world-class city we need to commit to maintaining the highest standards, organising events, presenting proposals and promoting the city all over the world. It’s in everyone’s interests, the hotel industry, the institutions, economic organisations, fashion and design, to create opportunities to attract big spenders and a first-class public.