“Being a hotelier is not a job, it is a vocation. It is not about serving customers, it is about having pleasure in seeing guests happy”
I am a hotelier and it has always been my highest ambition working in the hospitality field.
When I was a child I used to live at Villa Alceo with my Mother, Father and Grandmothers. My Father and my Mother had a Fur Company and were always traveling and working. Growing up, my two Grandmothers taught me Russian and my Italian Grandmother gave me the passion for cooking and making homemade pasta. I was always thrilled welcoming mom’s and dad’s customers and clients and helping my grandmothers to prepare dinner for them or setting up their bedroom. I started to feel a deep emotion while making people happy. That was just the beginning. Villa Alceo was just our home and was not a hotel.
Unfortunately my Father passed away when I was 7 years old and my Mother was about to sell the property in order to breakeven with debts from the company. I was very sad seeing my Mother suffering and told her my point of view. “Mom please don’t sell this place, I would like to make a hotel here one day” My Mother kept her word and decided to sell the fur inventory for a very low price instead of selling the villa. Since then I worked hard in the garden with my grandmas, helped with the maintenance of the villa and thus we all put our heart inside the villa to maintain it just like my mother and grandmothers were doing.
At the age of 14 I was sent to Nick Bolletieri Tennis academy in Florida to play tennis at an almost junior professional level. When I came back at the age of 16 my Mother decided to kick me out of the house as I was not behaving well and my grades at school were doing pretty bad. So I started to live on my own, working at different places such as supermarkets, bars and restaurants while still studying.
It was one day that my life changed completely: I applied for a summer job at the Hotel Splendide Royal in Lugano, a very luxurious property and I was lucky to meet Mr Giuseppe Rossi, the General Manager. When I entered his office I was fascinated by his elegance and power. I really wanted to make a good impression on him so he gave me the opportunity to start an internship of 3 months in all departments. I first started in Sales & Marketing working in a suit at the age of 17 and was very proud of myself. It gave me a certain privilege. Nevertheless, the following week I was sent to the kitchen doing stewarding and sweating like in a sauna. That made me understand how easily life can turn, just like what happened to my Mother when my Father passed away and that life is full of difficulties to cope with. Of course I also learned that in order to become a good leader you need to know all kinds of operations just like a good orchestra Director knows all different scores when directing a play. My internship continued then in all departments and finally I decided to start hospitality management in Bellinzona where I had the opportunity to do my internships at the Ritz Carlton in Barcelona and Kempinski Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and Peninsula hotel in Paris. I then joined
the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne where I obtained my Bachelor in Hospitality Management.
After almost 7 years I came back to the Hotel Splendide Royal and started my career as Quality Manager. I was then sent to open another Splendide Royal hotel in Paris and in 2017 I finally opened Villa Alceo.