Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 1990
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Food and Beverage, Four Seasons Hotel Newport Beach (now the Island Hotel Newport Beach)
- Four Seasons Hotel Macau; Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay; Four Seasons Hotel Sydney; Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so; Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia; Four Seasons Hotel Newport Beach (now the Island Hotel Newport Beach)
- Beirut, Lebanon
- General Sciences and Psychology, Vancouver Community College, Vancouver, British Columbia
- English, French, Arabic and conversational Japanese
Antoine Chahwan is passionate about great food and wine – and exceptional service. “I’m very demanding, but I’m fair,” acknowledges the regional vice president and general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.
After 28 years in the industry, including 20 with Four Seasons, Chahwan knows that while the need to provide faultless service hasn’t changed over time, technology – and the way his team responds to it – has: “There was a time when if you wanted to go to a restaurant, you would ask the concierge,” he says. “Now guests do all their research on the Internet. The challenge for us, then, is not just to list recommendations to guests but also to be insightful and informative about what each restaurant is like inside. You won’t find that in any Yellow Pages.”
Chahwan believes patience and persistence are two of the qualities most needed in a general manager, recognising that when you get it right, the rewards can be immense: “The opportunities you have and the people you meet are things no school could ever teach you.”
Outside the hotel, he enjoys baseball, has recently taken up golf and tries to get out on his mountain bike up to three times a week. Despite such energetic pursuits, he admits to a weakness for “an afternoon spent enjoying a cigar and reading a good book with opera music playing in the background.” Since the birth of his two sons, however, it’s not the kind of leisure time he gets to indulge in too often.
Chahwan himself was born in Lebanon, raised in both Canada and the United States and has worked all over the world. He feels at home amongst Singapore’s “melting pot of cultures, nationalities and cuisine,” and seeks out opportunities to learn about the culture of each destination he visits through its local food and beverage. He’s most intrigued by the countryside of Scotland and Ireland. “I’d love to get in a car and just drive around learning about the whiskies,” he says.
Chahwan’s favourite drink is wine – a subject he has studied intently. “I’ve acquired a taste for and knowledge of it over time,” he explains. “I state my opinion based on experience. I never criticise.” As with everything else he dedicates himself to, it’s an approach dictated by consummate fairness.