Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 1989
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Director of Housekeeping, Four Seasons Hotel Boston
- Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre; Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Malaysia; Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu; Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay (formerly a Four Seasons hotel); Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea; Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta (formerly The Regent Jakarta); The Pierre New York (formerly a Four Seasons Hotel); Four Seasons Hotel Boston; The Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Resorts
- Hackensack, New Jersey, USA
- Bachelor of Hotel Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
With just 305 square miles to go around, it takes a lot for a hotel to stand out in the Kingdom of Bahrain. If Greg Pirkle is any judge, Four Seasons has got what it takes. “We have an offering that is all our own and really raises the bar,” says the opening General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, which occupies its own island in a master plan development on the northeast shore of Manama. He counts off the Hotel’s atypically expansive, state-of-the-art rooms; five specialty restaurants and a celebrity chef; spa and fitness facilities that court the local community with outside memberships; and more. “There is nothing else like us in Bahrain.”
Pirkle’s new posting finds him catering to all types of travellers, with corporate clientele – primarily from the oil, gas and financial industries – arriving to do business in Bahrain during the week, and tourists – many from Saudi Arabia – checking in for weekend getaways. The mix plays to Pirkle’s strengths: his two-plus decades with Four Seasons have been divided between resorts and hotels, from shorts-and-sandals destinations in Hawaii, the Bahamas and Malaysia to necktie-expected addresses in Boston, New York, Jakarta and Riyadh.
Riyadh was also Pirkle’s first experience in Middle East. He admits thinking he was coming into a “cold, harsh environment,” but was pleased at being very well received. “For an American like myself, the Middle East is a different culture. But the people are really warm and friendly – the Saudis especially so.” The expectation of luxury, he learned is part of the Middle Eastern character, he continues: “And I truly believe what we have created here will give guests the most luxurious experience in Bahrain for sure.”
Pirkle’s decision to pursue a career in hospitality came while studying electrical engineering at Purdue University. “I hated it. I remembered my days as a dishwasher in high school and thought, ‘I’m going to get into a hotel.’” Purdue had a good hospitality management program, which opened the door to Pirkle’s first assignment with Ritz-Carlton, which in turn opened the door to Four Seasons. He has no plans of going anywhere else: “From the day I joined I believed in the company’s core values and still do.”
When not assuring the most luxurious experience in Bahrain for guests, Pirkle and his wife plan to continue their work with feral cats that, by wont of his career path, has become something of a global campaign. In Hawaii, Pirkle sat on the board of directors of the Hawaii Island Humane Society. In Malaysia, he was instrumental in building an animal shelter for wayward felines and encouraging hotel employees to help out. And in Riyadh, he teamed up with a couple of veterinarians who volunteered to spay and neuter strays for free.
Meanwhile, Pirkle treats his three pets the way they should be in their new Middle Eastern home. “They were all former street cats who’d had troubled early lives. Now they’re living the life of luxury.”