Regional Vice President and General Manager
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 1997
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Hotel Manager, Four Seasons Hotel New York
- Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche (formerly a Four Seasons resort); Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence; Four Seasons Hotel New York; The Essex House, New York, U.S.A.; Chandris Hotel, Piraeus, Greece
- Alexandria, Egypt
- Master of Professional Studies, Institut de Management Hôtelier International, Paris, France
- English, French and Greek
Ask Dimitrios Zarikos about the new Four Seasons Hotel Toronto that opened in 2012 on Yorkville Avenue, and he bubbles over like a schoolboy with a crush.
“I’m not exactly an objective observer, but I believe very strongly that we have the best product in Toronto – the best in the world,” says Zarikos, who leads the hotel team in the city where Four Seasons began. “This is really the first time we have opened a hotel in our hometown that is worthy of our reputation since Four Seasons became the leader in high-end hospitality. It’s a statement of what we have become.”
The new property “is the real Toronto,” Zarikos continues, with over-the-top and befitting features including new dining and drinking concepts from Daniel Boulud; an “unbelievable spa” – the company’s first in the city, no less, overseen by a Four Seasons veteran who was previously a local fitness guru and media personality; exceptional space for meetings and events capped by “the two most beautiful ballrooms in town”; and accommodations “beyond any in Canada.” Four Seasons has always been the place to be in Toronto, he concludes. “Now, it’s even more so.”
Though the new hotel was fashioned by Four Seasons corporate office, Zarikos has his hand in plenty of details, from staff uniforms to tabletop designs, guest amenities to exacting service touches. Having opened hotels before, he counts himself fortunate to have a skilled team in place ready to move. “Usually, 10 months before an opening a general manager is lucky to have an administrative assistant. But then, this was an extraordinary situation.”
Zarikos’s long hospitality career has provided a wealth of experience around the world. While studying chemical engineering in college, he longed for social interaction and switched to hospitality at the suggestion of a cousin. After completing hotel school in Paris, he took assignments in Greece and New York before joining Four Seasons in Manhattan in 1997.
The following year, he was tapped as opening Hotel Manager for Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence. “Nobody thought we could do it,” he says of the hotel group’s first Middle East venture. “People thought there wasn’t a culture of service or hard work. Nothing could be further from the truth.” To be fair, there were ripples: Zarikos recalls being struck by the element of time in a culture where “‘tomorrow’ means ‘not today.’” He also conducted 35 interviews to hire the Director of Human Resources for Cairo and choose the first applicant who didn’t protest Four Seasons policy of management sharing the hotel cafeteria with line workers. “Today, she’s one of the best in the company by global standards.”
Transferred to Canada in 2008 to oversee the opening of the new Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, Zarikos has been crazy-busy since. Though he occasionally longs for time to practice guitar – “I have eight, but my wife would tell you I don’t know how to play” – otherwise the pace suits him fine. “The one thing that always scares the heck out of me is having an empty calendar,” he says. “If I’m not busy, something must be wrong.”