General Manager and Vice President Residential Operations, EMEA
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 1996
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Receptionist, Four Seasons Hotel London
- Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora; Four SeasonsHotel Boston; Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail; Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Thailand; Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche (formerly a Four Seasons resort); Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris; Four Seasons Hotel Berlin (formerly a Four Seasons hotel); Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia (formerly a Four Seasons hotel); Four Seasons Hotel London
- Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
- Hotel Management diploma, Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland; Technical Studies in Hospitality, with a focus on Food and Beverage, Administration and Languages, Hotel School Diekirch, Luxembourg; completed six three-month internships at properties in the United States, France, Germany and Luxembourg
- English, French, German, Luxembourgish, Portuguese (work in progress)
"I would cycle half an hour in the dark every morning at 4:00 am to be there for the start of the kitchen shift," says Michel Volk as he thinks back on one of his first hotel placements in his home country of Luxembourg. "When I was growing up, each week would see me decide upon a new career path - one week a football player, the next a forest guard, the next a truck driver, but at age 12, when the week of hotelier came around, the cycle of consideration ended, my mind was set."
At the age of 16, Volk began his studies at hotel school in Luxembourg - pot-washing, bed-making, table-setting. Volk took to it immediately, so much so that, he decided to continue his education at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. "Not only did hotel school allow me to discover more about the industry that I had chosen, but it opened the door to what was even closer to my heart: travel."
His first official assignment, which was also his first role with Four Seasons, was in London as a Receptionist at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane. "I had no clue what it was like to live in such a big city when I first arrived in London, I knew only that this was to be the beginning of an almighty adventure and I was ready for the ride." And an adventure it turned out to be. Swiftly promoted to Assistant Night Manager in London, a transfer to Philadelphia followed before he was back to Europe to take up the role of Assistant Front Office Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Berlin (formerly a Four Seasons hotel). Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris were next in line, yet unlike many, it was not in the French capital where Volk's heart was stolen; it was three years later when he worked as Director of Rooms at the former Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche that he met his future wife, Gisleine.
Now, as a team of two, Volk's next step was to become the Camp Manager at the Tented Camp in the Golden Triangle, Thailand - a destination from his bucket list. "There is one thing that matters greatly to me when contemplating a move to a new destination, and that is its proximity to nature. Home, for me, is somewhere that allows me to wake up in the morning and to immediately step out into nature, be it a mountain valley, an ocean vista or rolling fields of countryside. It's perhaps easy to see why the Golden Triangle or our mountain resort of Vail were among such easy choices for me!"
Aside from his work assignments, Michel Volk has been no stranger to the open road in his own travels and has completed 11 safaris in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Ghana and Madagascar. Following a three year stint in the Pacific Ocean as General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, does this move to Mauritius perhaps allow for the neighbouring African countries to expect a return visitor? "If I have the chance, absolutey! Yet, Mauritius itself has so much to offer. Even in my initial days here, I was amazed by the island's beauty, its depth of culture and the number of places to visit."
Now, with three young children, Paul-Rubens, Peter and Grace, Michel and Gisleine have begun their discovery of Mauritius as this next chapter in his career journey unfolds. "Before my arrival, I had heard of the famous Mauritian hospitality and the warmth of the island's people. Now that I am here, I know just how true this is, and if I combine this with the island's spectacular nature, I can think of no greater place for our family to be."