Portrait and interview of our room director : Vanessa Barets

At first she wanted to work as a teacher but her eagerness to travel and to discover the world led Vanessa B. to turn towards a more dynamic and internationally-oriented sector and, eventually, to choose the hotel industry.

Portrait and interview of our room director : Vanessa Barets


From age 16 she worked in English pubs or restaurants in Hossegor. Through holiday jobs she discovered the joys of customer relationship. The full satisfaction of her guests is a constant challenge and her main motivation in her job.

Routine and everyday life being contrary to her character, she often feels the need to travel abroad in order to confront herself with cultural challenges. 


Professional experience

After having graduated in Foreign Languages and Civilisations, Vanessa B. decided to major in international hotel management and applied to a business school in Paris.

First she worked as a trainee at the front desk of the prestigious Hôtel Le Bristol then she evolved as a front desk employee. Her internship strongly influenced her career,  confirming her interest for the hotel industry and more specifically the rooms department. The general manager of Le Bristol gave an impulse to her career by suggesting her to apply for the Four Seasons Hotel in New York where she started to work as a receptionist. From there she quickly moved towards the position of front desk trainer. That was when her objective emerged… Wanting to know everything about the rooms department, she completed a three-week internship in the housekeeping department among the staff and the manager. After eighteen months, since her visa was about to expire, she applied for the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel in Costa Rica, which would be her first experience of a hotel opening.

First she worked in the housekeeping department as an assistant manager then she joined the rooms department as a resort assistant manager while keeping her goals firmly in mind, that is becoming a rooms director. Within the Four Seasons, Vanessa insisted on going through all the hotel’s departments : she wanted to manage a team someday thus to know each position with its difficulties. Back in Europe, she pursued her career as a front office manager and housekeeping manager in prestigious French hotels.

Best professional memory

What could have been a living nightmare is actually one of Vanessa B.’s best memories. When the Four Seasons Hotel in Costa Rica had to deal with a water shortage, she discovered the strong ties that unite people from the same team now and then. Vanessa’s colleagues had to find some resources very quickly and to use some imagination in order to keep the hotel going. That was when she realized she was part of a supportive team she could rely on, even in difficult circumstances.

A significant encounter

The general manager of Le Bristol, an emblematic figure in the high-standard hotel sector, greatly influenced her. She describes him as a very considerate man who is respected by his employees. He supported her throughout her career within the hotel and encouraged her to apply for the Four Seasons in New York.



According to you, what are the main qualities required for a rooms director ?

I think that first and foremost, a qualified rooms director has to listen to her customers as well as her colleagues. She has to provide her team with notions of respect and excellence. She has to share a know-how and a know-how-to-be. Rigour is also an essential quality to my job. To sum it up, I can give  you three key words : organisation, concept of service and quality.

What are you uncompromising on with your team ?

I can be flexible with the team management but there are two things that I find unacceptable : insolence and lack of respect towards customers as well as colleagues. 

What can you bring to the Vatel hotel ?

I can offer my expertise and knowledge of hotel management gained from my numerous trips abroad.

I definitely want to share with my team my taste for high standards and a well-done job.

How many languages do you speak ?

As a native English speaker schooled in France, I am bilingual. My career abroad gave me the opportunity to perfect my knowledge of Spanish. I also learned a bit of Arabic through exchanges with colleagues and customers.

In which countries did you work ?

I worked in various European countries : England, Ireland, Spain and Italy. I also had the opportunity to discover the American continent through my experiences in New York and in Costa Rica. 

In which hotel would you love to stay ?

The One & Only resort in South Africa and the Four Seasons in the Maldives.

What is your worst experience as a customer ?

I have two : a room with dirty sheets and overbooking.

What kind of accommodation do you prefer when you travel ?

I rather go for hotels de charme with a relaxing atmosphere but impeccable service.

Depending on my travels, I can favour a four-star hotel for the services offered to customers and the farniente as well as a room in a private house if I want to share the daily life of the local population and discover its traditions and customs. 

What are your criteria for booking a hotel room ?

I value the cleanliness of the room as well as the services available. I also like when the atmosphere of the hotel reflects the country I am visiting.