Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2000
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Executive Assistant Manager, The Regent Jakarta (A Four Seasons Hotel)
- Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa; Four Seasons Hotel Newport Beach (formerly a Four Seasons hotel); The Regent Jakarta (A Four Seasons Hotel); Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa, Bali; InterContinental Dubai; Hilton Brussels; Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Brussels
- Deinze, Belgium
- Bachelor degree, Hotel Management, Hoger Technisch Instituut, Bruges, Belgium; Postgraduate degree, Public Relations and Media Management, HIBO Ghent, Bruges, Belgium
- English, French, Dutch, Flemish, basic German and a bit of Bahasa Indonesia
With so much ground to cover running Four Seasons Resort Lāna’i at Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele, Tom Roelens may just be the most roving general manager at Four Seasons. Then again, he likes to get around.
Growing up in Flemish Belgium, Roelens felt the pull of exploration from an early age, thrilling to tales from his grandfather who spent time in the Belgian Congo and brought back hunting trophies, masks and hunting guns to illustrate his exploits. Meanwhile, Roelens’ mother was adventurous in the kitchen, dazzling him with bold flavours and bolder ingredients. “She was quite the culinary queen, always cooking things other families didn’t normally eat,” he says. “I was the only child around who had a taste for veal sweetbreads.”
Though his parents weren’t thrilled when he announced he was considering a career in hospitality, Roelens made a go of it anyway, first at a restaurant, then at hotel school. Early assignments took him to Dubai, Bali and Jakarta, where exposure to other cultures inspired him for more. These days he globetrots with his wife, a Beijing-born consultant whose passport is even more crowded than his own. At last count, Roelens had visited 37 countries, 13 less than she.
Managing in Hawaii is all about coordination for Roelens, who says the most noticeable change from his last Four Seasons assignment in Maldives is that he has to wear shoes. With seven separate operations on and off the island of Lāna’i, he is constantly on the move, bouncing from the oceanside golf course to the upcountry Lodge, the horse stables to the sporting clays site. “With over 90,000 acres to explore on Lāna’i, it’s a very different experience than living and working on a mere 17 acres in the Maldives. Fortunately, I have a great team working for me.”