An Interview with Pierre Ferchaud, General Manager of Hotel Metropole, Monaco

By Paul Joseph

Since opening its doors in 2004, Hotel Metropole in Monaco quickly gained a reputation as a world class luxury hotel, embodying within its lavish confines the old-world glamour and modern allure of the iconic principality.

In the year of its 10th anniversary, we talked to Pierre Ferchaud, General Manager of Hotel Metropole, to find out more about the secret behind its success. For those who have not visited, can you tell us about some of the services and amenities at Hotel Metropole?

Pierre Ferchaud: “Set in the heart of Monte Carlo a few steps away from the Casino, Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo was revamped ten years ago in a Belle Époque style by French designer Jacques Garcia. He was inspired by the spirit of the early 19th century, adding a few modern touches that give the hotel a timeless Mediterranean style.

“Once in the hotel you can experience a unique and diverse culinary ‘journey’ with four restaurants under Joël Robuchon’s management, named France’s chef of the Century by Gault et Millau, and also the world’s most-celebrated Michelin-starred chef.

“For a wonderful relaxing experience, the Metropole ESPA, certified as a Leading Spa of the World, offers a large selection of rituals and effective treatments, which provide guests with the ultimate well-being experience.

“Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo is more than a hotel, it is a house with character and soul, which strives to provide guests with the highest level of service.”

SY: In 2014 the hotel celebrated its 10th anniversary – what would you say have been the secrets to its success?

PF: “The feedback we have from our guests is that they feel at home, they like the atmosphere, the service we provide is also very much appreciated. Our main objective is to anticipate our clients' needs and expectations and make them feel comfortable. We are delighted when a client departs our house overjoyed by the impeccable quality of service leaving them with happy memories of the experience."

SY: How important is the Joël Robuchon restaurant to the hotel’s status as one of the best in the world?

PF: "The hotel has truly become a remarkable gastronomic reference due to the large selection of restaurants within the hotel, all orchestrated by Joël Robuchon. He thought it was essential that clients could enjoy the impeccable gastronomy in a friendly atmosphere and that is why our restaurants are very successful, not only for our in-house guests but also our local clientele who are loyal and regular.

SY: I understand you helped create the new category of hotels known as ‘palaces’ – what can you tell us about that?

PF: “The main goal of this classification was to stimulate the improvement of quality of the French hotel network, or in other words, to strengthen the attractiveness of our country in a highly competitive international environment while, highlighting properties of outstanding qualities for location, architecture, history, facilities, décor and service. Currently, there are sixteen hotels in France that are ranked as 'Palace'."

SY: How would you say the demands of the contemporary luxury hotel guest have changed over the years?

PF: “Clients have changed over the years; you can say there was a time when luxury was consumed in an ordinary way by extraordinary people whereas now you can have more modest people that consume luxury on the exceptional occasion. At the same time you have a clientele who shop at Louis Vuitton as well as Zara. We have to adapt to a mixed-clientele. Clients like to have a range of facilities, which allows them to work as well as relax and enjoy free time with the use of the spa, quality restaurants etc.

“There are also a growing number of luxury consumers coming from the emerging countries, therefore we have to learn, understand and adjust to their values. Ethical values are also penetrating the luxury consumer whereby there is a new concern about wastage and the preservation of the ‘planet’."

SY: How exciting (and challenging) is it for the hotel when big events like the Grand Prix and the yacht show come to the principality?

PF: “The Grand Prix and the Monaco Yacht Show are the biggest and most prestigious events in the Principality. It’s an exciting and wonderful buzzy atmosphere throughout Monaco with a lot of private parties, beautiful cars whizzing around the city and amazing yachts in the harbour. These are crucial events for us as we usually have 100% occupancy rate with repeat guests as well as new clients. Our challenge is to always keep our high standards of quality and excellence.”

SY: What does the hotel have planned for 2015?

PF: “I took my position here mid-November so it’s too soon for me to detail our future plans. I know that I will pursue the quality of work that was undertaken previously and will build upon this with my experience. I believe that where quality is concerned, whatever the place, we are always 20% under what we could achieve; so it is an endless effort towards perfection, attention, imagination and care. The world moves quickly and clients change; it is necessary to build a quality team around a plan and make sure the employees of Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo are proud of their job, from this they will be proud of generating happiness around them.

“We will work on preparing a strategic plan for the years to come in order to make sure this hotel will remain at the top. The hotel has unique assets; it is privately owned, very cosy, and it can cater for a niche market where its clients are proud to feel a part of the Metropole family - the Metropole Club.”

By Paul Joseph