The legendary Galle Face Hotel, which opened in 1864 and is the oldest hotel east of Suez, has appointed a new General Manager and Area Vice President as it seeks to re-establish its position as Asia’s most illustrious and historic hotel.
Robert C. Hauck, a highly skilled and respected hospitality professional with more than 25 years of experience, has been chosen to lead this exquisite heritage hotel into a new era of excellence.
With qualifications from Cornell University and École Hôtelière Montreux, the famous Swiss hospitality school, Mr Hauck has worked for some of the world’s leading hotel groups including Raffles and Shangri-La in an impressive career that has spanned more than ten countries and territories. Most recently he was GM of Kanuhura, the luxury resort in the Maldives, which he successfully re-launched following a multi-million-dollar renovation and led to a series of prestigious awards.
At the Galle Face Hotel, he joins illustrious company as the 36th GM and second German national in the position following Mr Stchutz (1902-1914), and a property with a reputation for legendary staff including Kottarapattu Chattu Kuttan, who welcomed famous dignitaries to the hotel in a career spanning 72 years making him the longest serving doorman in the world.
As General Manager and Area Vice President, Mr Hauck will now be tasked with restoring the Galle Face Hotel’s status as one of Asia’s most desirable destinations, creating unsurpassed guest experiences that reflect the warmth, culture and elegance of Sri Lankan hospitality.
“The Galle Face Hotel is an iconic property with a rich back story and unrivalled guest list. Having recently undergone extensive renovations, we needed an exceptional executive to lead us into a new era. Robert is a smart, sophisticated and energetic hotelier with a deep understanding of the hospitality industry, especially in Asia. This makes him the perfect person to write the next exciting chapter in our hotel’s illustrious history,” commented Sanjeev Gardiner, the hotel’s owner.
Unique in Asia’s hospitality industry, the Galle Face Hotel has been owned by a single family for more than a century. It is also passionately independent, having repeatedly resisted approaches from many top international hotel brands. Since it opened 154 years ago, this hospitality landmark has hosted some of the world’s most famous figures, including Che Guevara, Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Vivian Leigh, Roger Moore, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Bourdain.
“It is an honour and a privilege to be appointed to lead the Galle Face Hotel, one of Asia’s most iconic properties. With Sri Lanka’s tourism industry now flourishing, we want to create a brand that respects the past while looking ahead to the future. We have a great opportunity to restore the Galle Face Hotel to its rightful place as Asia’s leading heritage hotel, and I look forward to working with the entire team as we step out on this exciting journey together,” said Mr Hauck.
The Galle Face Hotel features graceful interiors that combine classical charm with modern amenities. The hotel’s 1864 Restaurant & Wine Bar reflects this exquisite style with an outstanding contemporary menu and an extensive wine list, while The Verandah serves exceptional local cuisine overlooking the Indian Ocean. Guests can also follow in the footsteps of the world’s most notable writers at The Traveller’s Bar.
A recent addition has been the launch of “Pimms O’clock”, a 24-hour affair that brings back the sensibilities of lazy summer days, but is popular at the hotel from about 5pm as the sun sets over the seafront and a bagpiper plays for the 6pm flag lowering ritual.
A new restaurant, King of the Mambo, is set to open next month. Drawing on the inspiration of guests from the 1950s, including the likes of Che Guevara, the oceanfront Latino concept will feature retro décor and a roster of entertainment where guests will dance the Mambo to the songs of Pérez Prado and Tito Puente.
For generations, guests have been enchanted by the Galle Face Hotel’s nostalgic charm, rich heritage and impeccable service. With Robert C. Hauck at the helm, this legendary hotel is about to embark on one of the most exciting periods in its 154-year history.