Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg
- 67 Jan Smuts Avenue, Westcliff Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa , South Africa
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2003
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Hotel Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC
- Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt; Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora; Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche (formerly a Four Seasons hotel); Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC; Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square; La Plantation Resort & Spa, Mauritius
- Lyon, France
- Hotel and Tourism Management Degree, Institut Vatel, Lyon, France
- French, English
When Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts needed someone to mastermind the renovation and re-branding of its first address in South Africa, the iconic Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg, there couldn’t have been someone more perfectly suited to the task than Sebastien Carre.
Carre joined the company in 2003, overseeing the temporary closure, reinvention and repositioning of a US landmark, Four Seasons Hotel Washington DC – which to this day remains the only Forbes Five Star hotel in the United States capital. Not one to rest on his laurels, he headed to south of France three years later as Resort Manager of Four Seasons Resort Provence (formerly a Four Seasons property) opening one of Europe's most significant destination spas, before becoming the opening General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora in French Polynesia, one of the world's most acclaimed luxury resorts. Most recently, Carre coordinated the progressive renovation and expansion of Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh on the edge of the Red Sea – voted in 2011 by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler as the #1 Resort in the World.
It’s perhaps not surprising, then, that hospitality runs in Carre’s blood. Born in Lyon, France, he hails from a long line of chefs. He attended his hometown’s prestigious Vatel International Hotel Management School after his parents, a talented cook and an architect, encouraged him to pursue a career in hospitality that has taken him already to four continents, in locations as varied as the French Riviera, London, Seattle, San Francisco, Tahiti, Mauritius and Washington prior to joining Four Seasons, and five new countries since. Carre has relished the opportunity this has brought him to work and live in vastly different cultures. “I have learned the most from contrasting experiences and people over the years in the places I’ve been fortunate to work,” he says. “Often those teachings have had a lasting impact on my thinking and perspective on life.”
Carre is excited that the 17th posting of his career has brought him to Johannesburg. “The city is bustling, and we were thrilled to enter South Africa at the forefront of its renaissance,” he says. “We aim to build on the legacy on the iconic Westcliff Hotel, a Johannesburg landmark. This property’s extraordinary cliffside setting and legendary views are perfectly poised between the heart of southern Africa's financial centre, and Joburg’s vibrant and creative urban revival."
When asked if Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts intend to open other hotels in the region, and why selecting Johannesburg first, he replies: "Astute local and global investors already anticipate the impact of our upcoming global brand presence in the region. So we are working with investment partners to identify perfect hotel and resort locations that will most benefit from the considerable leverage that our Johannesburg property will create."
Drawing on Carre’s attention to detail, keen project management skills and creative approach, the transformation of the hotel into a Four Seasons property has been a massive, albeit exciting, endeavour – involving the creation of new restaurants and bar concepts as well as a new destination Spa and fitness centre and stunning pools. "Our partners have made considerable commitments that enabled us to literally reinvent the hotel physically. Yet, it is the incredibly talented team around me who offer our guests the superlative hospitality experience that Four Seasons is known for around the world.”
Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff is uniquely placed to host visitors to South Africa’s economic powerhouse, enabling them to discover a vibrant city ahead of safari travels in the rest of the region. Regardless of guests’ reasons for visiting, though, Carre believes it is essential to create unique and memorable experiences for each guest, beyond their initial motivations for travel. “Much of that happens through interaction with our employees and managers,” he says. “Whenever we tempt any traveller to stay longer with us to explore the city, we’ve done something right.”