Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Fort Lauderdale
- 525 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33304, USA
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2003
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Management Trainee, Food & Beverage, Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh
- Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach; Four Seasons Hotel Austin; Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies; Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
- Banjul, The Gambia
- Bachelor of Arts, Hospitality & Tourism Management, Gilon Hotel School, Switzerland
- English, Arabic, French, Wolof
The guest experience is always top priority at Four Seasons properties around the globe, but the General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Fort Lauderdale is just as impressed with the attention the company lavishes upon its employees. “A lot of passion and care go into our teams, at all different levels,” notes Mazen Saleh, who was chosen to lead the way at the brand’s fourth hotel in South Florida. “Giving our talent the attention and recognition they deserve is very important to me. The employee experience at the heart of our culture is one of the things that has kept me with the company for so long.”
Long, indeed. Four Seasons is the only company Saleh has ever worked for. He started as a management trainee in Sharm El Sheikh, rising through food and beverage and jumping on task force opportunities at openings in Mauritius, Beirut, Alexandria and Istanbul. He joined the reopening of Four Seasons Resort Nevis as Assistant Director of Food and Beverage in 2010, and three years later took the same position in Austin for a city hotel experience.
In 2015, a promotion to Director of Food and Beverage of Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach drew him to Florida where he was later promoted to Resort Manager in 2017. A respected and rising leader, Saleh was chosen to lead the way at Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Fort Lauderdale as its opening General Manager. “Our guests are used to the best of the best, so my greatest passion is to go above and beyond even their highest expectations. When a guest is pleasantly surprised, I know I’ve accomplished one of my goals.”
Saleh is excited to be leading a property that brings an inspiring sense of possibility to this next-generation coastal city. “It’s the celebrated vacation lifestyle of Fort Lauderdale with the sophisticated touch of Four Seasons.”
Saleh’s passion for hospitality began in his youth in The Gambia on the western edge of Africa. His father owned three restaurants there, so he pretty much grew up in food and beverage. While his father always hoped he would follow in his hospitality footsteps, Saleh’s free spirit wanted to explore something offbeat and a career in medicine stirred his imagination. “As college approached, that was the plan. But before I got started I went on vacation to visit my cousin, a doctor. The way she described things, I just knew it wasn’t for me.”
“It was a bit too serious,” he continues. “I have a creative side; I like to put things together and see them come to life. I’d always loved food and beverage, but I wanted to travel, too. So I thought about what would give me the opportunity to do both.”
Saleh studied hospitality management at a Swiss hotel school, and when Four Seasons representatives came by on career day, he was one of 60 students to apply. He pursued management training instead of immediate recruitment because it was completely new to him. “I interviewed with three different general managers. I told them I loved to travel and I was up for anything.” One week later, he was in.
Saleh thinks of the company culture as “one big family,” with benefits for employees and guests alike. “Our culture is built on treating others as you want to be treated and starting with the heart with everything that we do. The result is an authentic caring human experience, be it from a guest or employee experience, that truly allows us to be ourselves as a team and lets our people shine through in everything we do."
At home, Saleh never tires of checking out new restaurants, wineries and distilleries with his partner Rene during his downtime away from work.