Before he was 30, he had already managed a hotel in Cambodia, saved two five-star hotels in Thailand and Bali with financial difficulties and he is now preparing to open a 300 room hotel in Shanghai.
A Vatel Paris 2000 alumnus, Jeremie de Fombelle was asked to sponsor the Class of 2006 of his own school, because of his fascinating and irreproachable career path!
An exceptional Success Story follows!
Before Cambodia, I already had previous experience with the Victoria Hotels and Resort Group - 4 star leisure activities. I was in charge of their small Sales and Marketing office for Europe, located in Paris. All their hotels are located in South-East Asia. I had worked for this hotel chain in my final internship in Vietnam. Because they were happy with my work, they offered me this job in France. But I really wanted to remain abroad, in Asia, and work in an operational job and I left to manage the restaurant of this romantic little hotel in Cambodia.
It was a crazy bet for me and for the owner too! I didn’t have a lot of experience but I had lots of common sense and above all, lots of motivation. It wasn’t very well paid either, but I learned a lot. This was quickly quite successful and the hotel owner rapidly promoted me to manage the entire hotel.
After that you joined the Orient Express Group, where you managed the Residence Phou Vao 5* Hotel in Laos for four years. Then, another three years in the Napasai Orient Express 5* in Thailand, and finally a year in the Jimbaran Puri 5* in Bali. Tell us more about your “Orient Express” years. How did you jump from one company to another? What differences did you noted about team leading in Bali, Thailand, Laos and in Cambodia?
I’m firmly convinced that a career is made up of decisive meetings and a bit of luck. The way I joined Orient Express is a perfect example of this. I met with the managers of this mythical hotel group that owns the Ritz in Madrid, the Copacabana Palace in Rio, the Cipriani in Venice, the famous Orient-Express train and 45 other unique properties throughout the world, quite coincidentally.
They needed a young Manager for their hotel in Laos. I got the job and 10 years later, I still don’t believe it! I was under the age of 30 and managing an Orient Express hotel. This was the true beginning of my career. I loved working all these years for Orient Express. I owe them a lot. Really, I do. I also gave them a lot. When you love your job, you get good results! That was the case in Laos.
After Laos, the group gave me a bigger hotel to manage on the Koh Samui Island in Thailand. This Resort was in dire financial straits. Everything had to be redone and it needed serious upgrading. That’s what we did with the team and frankly, it was an exciting job! The scenario in Bali was the same as for Thailand: an Orient Express Group Hotel in a superb location, though it had poor results. Once again, they called me to be the fireman!
These three countries, though every different, did have one common denominator: an unheard of sense of hospitality. Managing a hotel in one of these countries is a great opportunity. I think that in our Western countries, this unequaled sense of service is no longer the case. There are also some Asian constraints that you don’t have in Europe, but the main thing to remember is the strong sense of hospitality that you have in this region of the globe.
What do you think of the luxury hotel sector in Asia after all these experiences?
Consumers have a huge advantage with luxury hotels in Asia: when compared with Europe or the United States, the prices are really cheap. If I stay at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok or at the Metropole in Hanoi - my two very favorite hotels in Asia - I won’t be “broke” for the rest of the month. I don’t think that would be the case if I stayed in the Ritz the next time I visited Paris. And I can promise you that service in the Bangkok Oriental is just as good as at the Ritz!
You have been preparing the reopening of the five-star Wanda Realm Hotel Changzhou for August, 2014. This is a 300 room hotel near Shanghai. Could you tell us about the Wanda Hotels and Resorts Hotel chain?
Wanda is a very large Chinese group specialized in real estate, shopping centers and movies. It had a 24 billion dollar turnover last year. If you want to compare, last year LVMH in France had a 27 billion euro turnover. Wanda’s owner, the wealthiest man in China, according to the Forbes Ranking, wants to make Wanda Hotels and Resorts one of the global leaders in luxury hotels. This group is growing by leaps and bounds, with 30% of uninterrupted annual growth for the past seven years. Half of their hotels are managed by Sofitel, InterCon, Starwood, etc. But most of the 20 hotels they’ll be opening this year will be under their own brand name: Wanda Hotels and Resorts.
They have huge resources, and a growth rate to match. I wanted a new challenge after having spent so many years with Orient Express. I wanted to dabble in “business hotel management” and roll out an opening; I didn’t have that yet on my resume, and I wanted to do this in a booming country! The Changzhou Wanda, next to Shanghai, was like a dream come true. My wife and three children were ready to follow me, so off we went to China.
What are you doing to prepare this opening?
Working a lot! When you open a hotel it always means a lot of work, but in China, it’s even more than I would have believed! The hotel will open on August 8th. A group hotel has never missed its opening date. So we sure aren’t going to be the first!
My colleagues monitor construction work to make sure that specifications are complied with and the deadlines are respected. I’ve already got a team of about fifty people in the offices with me, but most of the personnel will arrive next month to attend our training sessions that we’re setting up. The hotel will be delivered in stages until July, and we’ll be having a soft opening then. But before that we have to order all the equipment, make sure that we’re within budget, set up all the teams and our Sales and Marketing strategy, get all the permits, recruit and keep on recruiting! It’s an enormous job, but such an exciting one at the same time. You have to have good team members. It’s a human adventure.
What advice could you give to Vatel students who would also like to manage a hotel?
Be patient. Work hard. Make sure to communicate your results. Speak fluent English as quickly as possible. Make sure you have good support teams and know how to delegate, but not too much! Accept that you’ll fail, because that will make you grow and bounce back.
How did what you learned at Vatel help you to succeed in your career? What memories do you have of Vatel?
I’ve got great memories of the time I spent at Vatel. Vatel is a guarantee of seriousness and credibility in the small world of hotel management. It’s also a great network all over the world. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t change schools. I still remember the interview I had with Mr. Magne, who, at that time, was the Vatel Paris School Director. He trusted me and I owe him a lot. I’m also very proud to be the sponsor for the Vatel Paris class of 2006.
What is your one year project? Five years? And ten years?
I find it difficult to look ahead so far. First I have to open this hotel in China and make sure it’s a success. And that’s going to be a lot of work! I also hope to work one day again in South-East Asia: Thailand or Vietnam for example. Both my family and I love these two countries. Why not a job in General Management or even a job in Corporate in the medium term in one of these countries.
In the longer term, maybe I’ll come back to France and open the hotel I’ve always dreamed of. But there’s no rush. I’m 38 now, in no hurry, and my projects could change by then! Depending on whom I meet and that little bit of luck that I talked about, and hope to continue to have.
The hospitality and tourism industries are particularly concerned by sustainable development. And what if Vatel alumni played a key part in this transition towards more environmentally friendly hotel management?Read more
Theme-based events, dance lessons, help with courses, a skiing weekend: January is already full of events in the Vatel Nimes Student Services.
A Revenue Analyst at Lavorel Hotels, Laure Darbon’s job is a challenging one, one that works closely with all the stakeholders in the group’s eight hotels. And she loves it!
While she was working as the Sales & Communication Assistant at the Reserve Hotel, Constance learned from her internship supervisor that the Fauchon Hotel was looking for its Sales Executive. One interview later, and she landed the job.Read more
What jobs can a multiple-starred Chef like Yannick Alleno propose to Vatel alumni? We get the answer from Sandrine Cambazar, an HR Manager and Simone Peskine, a Vatelien and Manager of the Pavillon Ledoyen Restaurant, a 3-star Michelin restaurant.Read more
Travel broadens the mind, as the old saying goes. It also leads to unconventional restaurants. Let’s meet two Vateliens who founded Le Kaya Restaurant in Tignes.Read more
Richard Devos, the Restaurant Services manager for the past nine years at Accor, met Vatel students to tell them about his job and share what he does on a daily basis.Read more
Besides having a Bachelor or an MBA Vatel, what does being a Vatelien mean?Read more
Little villages in the countryside, staged tours, wine-tasting circuits, circuses, cinema, and jazz: Vatel, the partner and jury for the 4th year of the Trophies du Tourisme, took part in choosing the winners.Read more
Throughout their entire careers, Vatel alumni remain in touch with their schools. This is also true for Kevin Tessieux, who has never forgotten that he was also once a student, and who now shares this knowledge with students today.Read more
Chahrazade Baroudi, a Vatelien since 2013, describes her job as Marketing and Communication Manager in IDAM, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant on the top floor of the Doha Museum of Islamic Art, in Qatar.Read more
Vatel Nimes 1st year students, into the arena with you!Read more
Over 550 students attending, twice as many as in previous years! Vateliens from the entire world... Let’s find out more about the 2018 edition of the Nuit Vatel Event, organized by Vatel in Paris, for students and alumni working in the capital.Read more
Future hospitality professionals, welcome to Vatel’s 100% management simulation serious game! For an entire week and on three continents, MBA students met the challenge of managing a 4-star hotel and a resort in the Indian Ocean. The winners are...Read more
Who is Gaelle Garnier, the new manager of the network of 35,000 Vatel alumni throughout the world? Let’s meet a Vatelien who works with Vateliens!Read more
Here’s a riddle for you: Where can you find Vatel students when they’re neither in theoretical courses at school nor in practical courses in application structures, nor doing their internships? See you in the hotels in town!Read more
The 25th Eurhodip conference, which Vatel took part in, took place in Croatia. Targeting responsible tourism, this conference allowed participants to have more information on opening higher education courses in the field of sustainable development.Read more
Their names are Lola, Charlotte and Lea. All three of them are first-year students at Vatel Nantes and each of them has a hidden talent...Read more
Designed to address the needs of the global hospitality industry, the Marco Polo program strengthens the international profile Vatel students have and has just received the prestigious Best Innovation in an Educational Program Award.Read more
Graduated in 2011, Alexis Bouche began his career in England. Six years later, he returned to France and is now the Sales Manager of the 5-star hotel, Villa Maïa.Read more
Emma Lacour, who loves travelling and showing her photos on gastronomy and the French art of hospitality on Instagram, tells us why she decided to study in this field.Read more
Just 20 years old and Emma has already lived in France, in Germany, in Belgium and in England. She’ll tell us about her international experience with the Marco Polo exchange program from Paris to Brussels.
Vatel Bordeaux constantly strives to get its students acquainted with eco-responsible practices such as environmental awareness, waste management and help them support local producers.Read more
Boosting students’ integration and supporting the student council are the main tasks of Chloé Cassagne, head of Student Affairs department at Vatel Bordeaux.Read more
Nearly 40 years old, and now 50 campuses in 32 different countries: Vatel Group opened its first school in Paris and is continuing to grow and duplicate its innovative educational concept in schools abroad.Read more
What do Vatel students do when they are not training or in class? Some, like Maxime Culosse, decide to beef up their resumes.Read more
To thank them for a year of working together, the Lyon Metropolis in an Awards Ceremony, pays homage to what Vatel Lyon students have accomplished.
While the international outreach and mixture of theory and practical application convinced Milo’s parents, it was employability and quick promotions in the hospitality industry that seduced Edouard’s...Read more
Pierre Mettelin, Professor of Oenology at Vatel Bordeaux, completed a ten-day trip to the Anhui Region of China last October, visiting the University of Huangshan with which Vatel signed a cooperation agreement in 2014.Read more
Vatel Bordeaux is very proud of its students’ results, with 16 of its 25 MBA students graduating with merit in 2015. This year the girls lead the field, among them our top student, Alexandra Terrier, who has taken second place out of all the studentsRead more
Mathilde Corbin, who has taught at Vatel Nimes for the past five years, is an expert in events management and a coach for MBA students in this Specialization.Read more
Food and beverage manager and sommelier at Les Tables Vatel in Bordeaux, Julien Borreil likes to learn and discover.
Trained at Vatel Nimes ten years ago, Chloe Wu has a brilliant career in China. She no longer works in the hospitality industry, but has not forgotten her passion of hospitality and service...Read more
A green Vatel logo, students waiting on tables, at the cash register and advising clients: it’s evident, we’re at a Vatel Cafe!Read more
Vatelalumni.com, free and connected to your LinkedIn profile, will soon be one of your favorite internet sites!
The Vatel International Research Center in Hotel and Tourism Managementhas just published the 10th edition of its Journal, which targets research and reflections on changes taking place in the hospitality and tourism industries.Read more
Curiosity, humility, team spirit... A Vatelien shares his commitment to values his school transmitted to him.
Currently, in her 2nd undergraduate year, Océane Pilot has already and repeatedly experienced the power of the alumni network of Vatel Bordeaux. Testimonial.Read more
The same international spirit that students have Vatel and 4 students in nursing undertake a humanitarian project in Madagascar.Read more
A traveler - salesman - ambassador, Marco Polo introduced Asia, at that time nearly unknown, to Europe. This inspirational fate has given its name to Vatel’s international exchange program, where students can study at another Vatel campus for a year.Read more
Nine different jobs in the six months of internship they had in one of Hong-Kong’s largest hotels: that’s the experience four Vatel Lyon students had. Pierre Obeid, one of them, tells us more.
An English student attending Vatel Lyon, Phoebe chose Vatel Madrid for her second Marco Polo year to become trilingual!
Optimizing a hotel’s turnover and profitability: that’s what Revenue Managers do. A specialization that Vatel gives, where professionals in this line of work, such as Julien Bovina, transmit their expertise to students.
A 2010 alumnus, Francois Perraud is now a Financial Controller at the Nantes Radisson Blu. Coming September, he’ll also be a Vatel Nantes faculty member!
A 3rd year student at Vatel Lyon, Elisee tells us about the city where she went to middle school and high school. What to see and what to do - the TOP in Nantes!
Back to her Loire Atlantic region after graduation from Vatel, Lucie Leblet tells us why she loves her home town so much.
Accepted at Vatel Nantes, Lou Nguyen ends her admission interview by trying on clothing. By the way though, why wear a uniform and what do students think about this?
How can students appreciate and retain a theoretical course? With a professor who has worked in this industry and has lots of stories to tell!
Armelle Auguste worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years before being appointed as Director of the 5th Vatel School in France.Vatel Nantes will open in 2018. Her portrait and message to her future students.
Vatel Nimes 4th year students came in second place in the nationwide “Challenges for Youth and Companies” competition. What did they decide to promote? A hotel of course!
After a two-year technical degree, Manon Bouchard wanted to specialize in events management: she contacted Vatel, where, after her Foundation Year, she began the Events Management specialization.
We teach management, nutrition, human resources and marketing at Vatel, without forgetting safety! The Events Management specialization asks a specialist in this field.
A Vatel France student, Roxane Hamel will tell us about the year she spent in Asia.
... this is a winning trio! Find out more here about why Alizee and her mom, Agnes, love the Vatel curriculum.
As a token of recognition to Chefs and Lyon’s gastronomy they promote all over the world, Vatel has created Toque de Lyon.Read more
A second-year student, Marie Funes chose hospitality because she loved it and Vatel by conviction: her aunt, Alexa is a Vatelien and both of her parents, David and Alexandra, also are! A joint interview
The Marco Polo program was obvious for Mathilde Henault, who had the goal of spending her sophomore year on another campus. Seeking other cultures and educational methods, she tells us about this experience full of sharing and solidarity.
Back from when he started Vatel to his many internships, Jean-Charles tells us more about this perfect combination that led him into one of the most beautiful palaces in France: they day before receiving his MBA, he started work at Le MeuriceRead more
The most senior representatives in the international hospitality industry give Vatel the Best School Hospitality Award. An entire profession thus acclaims them.Read more
Learning the skills needed to be a manager, quick employability, international careers... Vatel, the passport that gets you hired. See the video.Read more
Working in the hospitality industry may not be an obvious choice for everyone. However, it must become a certainty for anyone who wants to succeed in the industry. A school director and a Vatel graduatRead more
The Vatel International Business Game, the culminating point of the 5th year, is a virtual management simulation game where students from all over the world compete.May the best team win!
From the testimonial of a candidate to that of a Vatelien, without forgetting student interviews, Vatel TV investigates this...
Alexandre Desmoulins did his first-year internship in the legendary Avoriaz ski resort. A winter season in the mountains, with a sense of community, autonomy and the pleasure of guest relationships.Read more
Dozens of different kinds of work to discover in just a few days, a unique family spirit, a field that’s hiring... And what about suggesting to middle or high school students to do their observation internships in a hotel?
A recent survey showed that nine international students out of ten recommend studying in France. Student in French Vatel campuses share how much they love the French Hexagon and confirm these figures.Read more
An intimate boutique-hotel or a large chain hotel? To Asia, the Americas, Europe? In the city or on the beach? Let’s have a look at some of the destinations...
Vatel students: your 4th year mission, should you choose to accept it, is the following: drawing up a development strategy to increase Chinese tourism in your city, working closely with the Lyon Metropolis.
Hotel owners frequently employ consultants. Ho36, a hostel in Lyon, assigned a true practical case study to the new and ephemeral agency, Ioké, imagined by third year students in their Vatel Business Case.Read more
Red alert! We found Tokyo, Berlin, Rio, Denver and even "El Professor" in the South of France: they were hidden among the Vatel Nîmes first year students during their orientation weekend in Fréjus! #moneyheist
From Montenegro, Tunisia and India, more than 60 students came to Nimes to do their international internship at the Vatel Hotel.Read more
A professor of hospitality management, restaurant services and tourism management for over 28 years, Pat Golden-Romero teaches MBA Vatel courses at Vatel San Diego, USA.Read more
Hired even before they received their degrees, the Vatel Lyon class of 2018 has great jobs again this year!
Vatel Bordeaux Academic Director Ludovic Glorieux presents his missions and a complete overview of the strengths and challenges for the Vatel Group entity in Gironde.
Today, “fast” is a key word for many people: the clock is ticking and things must get done quickly. It is in this context that fast food appeared, with the consumer’s need to eat quickly.Read more
Geoffrey Pédemay (President) and Andy Gallo (in charge of marketing) provide valuable advice on the organization of the Gala. They also look back on their year as members of the Student Office. Interview.
Are you dreaming of opening your own hotel? It’s possible, but you have to be prepared. Don’t worry, we’re here to walk you through it.Read more
Claudia Verver y Vargas, who teaches corporate strategy at Vatel Bordeaux, was born in Mexico and tells us more about Mexican gastronomy, which is a part of Unesco’s cultural heritage, for Tables Vatel’s Mexican Week.
With an MBA in International Hotel Management, Agathe Roger is now the Supervisor at the Executive Lounge in the London Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel, a 5* hotel with 237 rooms. Let's have a look at her success story.
Vatel, which trains managers in the international hospitality industry, allows students with a two-year vocational degree to take MBA courses, regardless of their previous majors, thanks to a one-year scale-up class.
After having moved in 2015 from the Cité Mondiale to the Chartrons District, the branch of the Vatel Group has opened a second location near to Les Halles and the Cité du Vin.
Today, Alexandre Piquer and Tanguy Fourquade (M3B in Vatel Bordeaux) are finally leaving for the 4L Trophy. Why are they participating in the largest 100% student rally in Europe? What challenges will they have to overcome? Where will they be going?Read more
A MAXimum of quality, a MAXimum of conviviality, a MAXimum of novelty: these are goals of the Vatelien, Mathias Cadet, at the launch of his second connected bistro “Max à Table,” in Bordeaux.Read more
Lucia Song was born in Seoul. She just finished her International MBA in Wine & Spirits Management at Vatel Bordeaux as the Valedictorian. Let’s have a look at her schooling.
Portrait - Eric Pourtau-Mondoutey, who started his job just three months ago, has already imposed his style and won his students’ hearts.
The Vatel Bordeaux Hotel, completely equipped to facilitate access to people suffering from a hearing, visual, mental or physical disability, confirms its commitment to promote tourism for all.
(In Vietnamese: don’t hesitate to join the Vatel family!) They were respectively born in Vietnam, Malaysia and Finland. Let’s meet Mai, Kenny and Robin, Vatel Bordeaux students and globe-trotters.
William Ribault, 22 years old, tells us about student life in his 5th year of specialization at Vatel Bordeaux.
Hospitality has always been her vocation and Bianca Bekker is now starting her second Bachelor year, after a 4-month internship at the Vatel Bordeaux Hotel.Read more
Vatel Bordeaux, in July 2016, was the first hospitality management school with an Ecolabel certified application hotel. An approach included in a global educational project.
Qian Qian Wu, a Chinese second year MBA student, gives us her opinion on her schooling and life in Aquitaine.Read more
As he is about to leave on the Marco Polo program in the Philippines, Romain de Charnacé, a Vatel Bordeaux student, gives us some tips to prepare such a trip.Read more
Sandra Pasteur, the mother of Océane, a young student in 1st year of Bachelor Degree tells us about the gratification of her daughter after her entry at Vatel last November.
From 4 to 7 November, Jean-Pascal Paubert, board member of the "Union de la Sommellerie Française in Bordeaux", was a judge at the 3rd competition organised by the International Sommelier Association (ASI), in Hong Kong.
Currently studying in Foundation Year, this young student gives us her first impressions about her life in Bordeaux.
Even before beginning the 1st year of her Bachelor’s degree course at the college, Sibylle had already decided to take part in the Marco Polo programme, without knowing what her destination would be.Read more
After teaching courses qualifying students for a BTS advanced vocational diploma in tourism, Marie-Fleur joined the team of Vatel professors in October 1994. She is one of the school's pioneers.