Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 1996
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Food and Beverage Management Training, The Regent Hong Kong (formerly a Four Seasons Hotel)
- Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake; Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Malaysia; Four Seasons Resort Seychelles; Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa; Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay; The Pierre Hotel, New York (formerly a Four Seasons Hotel); Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC; Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so (formerly a Four Seasons hotel); Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa; The Regent Hong Kong (formerly a Four Seasons Hotel); Hotel Nassauer Hof, Wiesbaden, Germany; The Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh, Scotland
- Belfast, Northern Ireland
- Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Hotel and Catering Management, Scottish Hotel School at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
- English, German
E komo mai is what they said to Alastair McAlpine upon landing at the Lanai Airport in mid-2017 – welcome home! He has travelled the globe in successive positions with Four Seasons, but he served as Resort Manager on Lanai following the property’s rebrand under the Four Seasons flag in 2005. While the hotel itself has undergone an extensive transformation since then into a AAA Five Diamond luxury resort, the people, culture and aloha spirit of the “Pineapple Island” remain as warm and welcoming now as they were then.
McAlpine employs a “people-focused” management style that has served him well over more than two decades with Four Seasons. On the guest side, he sees the all the elements that allow visitors to enjoy their own Hawaiian island adventure, from the Resort amenities and culinary offerings to the variety of land, sea and air activities, many managed by Four Seasons.
On the staff side, McAlpine has long believed that when team members are happy it permeates through to service. “Sixty percent of my time is spent focusing on the staff and making sure they have the tools they need to deliver the Four Seasons experience. There are many places in the world to travel, our guests have more choices than ever, yet we hear time and again that the treasured memories of their visit are of the interactions with people they met during their stay with us. And for those guests that return once, twice or more, they look forward to seeing their friends on Lanai again."
He returns to a sandy abode following a time in China – from the bustling Hangzhou, a city of 9 million, to the quaint plantation town of Lanai City, home to 3,000 residents and not a single stop light. McAlpine, along with wife Mitsuko, a dive instructor he met on his first turn in the Maldives, and daughter Kei, who was born in Honolulu, enjoy the opportunity to get back into the surf and sand.
Asked how he originally got interested in hotel work, the amiable Northern Irishman responds: “I’m here because of a can of Coke.” The story goes that on a family trip to The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, a 12-year-old McAlpine was watching the hotel’s valets park cars when he was offered the opportunity to help hang keys. “My mother told me to stop bothering them, but the lead valet told her it was all right.”
An hour into the work, the hotel’s “resplendent” General Manager approached and offered the young man a Coke. “He reached over the podium, picked up the phone and hit one button,” McAlpine recalls. “All of a sudden, I see the room service guy running over with the can. The General Manager had the greatest job in the world! That night, I told my parents I wanted to be a GM and I never let go of it.”
McAlpine’s varied postings on remote islands and in big cities have revealed to him what’s possible many times over. “It’s amazing to be part of a truly talented operation,” he says. “When you’re in Tokyo turning the ballroom over and over to do 17 weddings in one day, or planning every Christmas detail in July in the Maldives to assure delivery in December, you realise what can be done logistically.”
What McAlpine points to most fondly is the authenticity of Four Seasons offerings in an often numbers-focused, profit-driven industry, and the mentoring he received as he rose through the company’s ranks. “That’s a very important aspect of what we are as hoteliers, and now I’m passing along to the next generation.”