Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2014
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Hotel Manager, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
- Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris; Hotel Les Airelles, Courchevel; Hotel Manali, Courchevel; InterContinental Geneva; InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel; Sofitel Paris Forum Rive Gauche; Hotel Martinez Cannes; Le Méridien Tahiti; Paris CDG Airport Hilton; Paris Orly Airport Hilton; Nogo Hilton Geneva; Hotel La Voile d’Or Saint Jean Cap Ferrat
- Montreal, Canada
- European Hotel Management Degree, Institut Vatel Lyon
- French, English
If every Four Seasons manager loves a challenge – and they do – François Arrighi must be head over heels right now. As opening General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Megève, Arrighi oversees the company’s first and only mountainside address on the European continent: a new-built skiers’ paradise surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Haute-Savoie Alpine range. “We’ve never had a destination quite like this,” he says. “It’s a huge undertaking for the brand. I’m excited to be a part of this one, for sure.”
With just 55 guest rooms including 14 suites, Four Seasons Hotel Megève is intimate in size but has plenty to offer. Located smack at the base of 1,800-metre (5,900 foot) Mont d’Arbois, it’s the only property in the area with access to the 130 groomed trails that crisscross the Alpine range, and the only one with its own in-house Ski Valet and Ski Concierge service. The Hotel also counts onsite restaurants and the largest spa in the region, as well as the largest facilities available for children and teens.
Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, whose family owns the property and has a long history in Megève, assisted with the Hotel’s interior design. “She has been very involved with the project since long before I arrived on the scene,” says Arrighi. “She wants to make sure the Hotel reflects the heritage of her family, and she has done a great job.”
Arrighi brought all sorts of experience to his role in Megève, including six years leading a five-star Leading Hotel of the World in Courchevel and three years as Hotel Manager of Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris. He also undertook cross training at three of the company’s four ski resorts on the other side of the Atlantic, including Vail, Colorado; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Whistler, British Columbia.
A perfectly good skier – “I wouldn’t call myself an expert. I’ve always been too busy in season to spend a lot of time on the mountains” – Arrighi is a connoisseur of ski culture. Distinct from the focus on the slopes on other side of Atlantic, he says “pampering the guest” is what European ski vacations are all about. “The skiing is similar in the Rockies and the Alps, but the pre- and après- experiences are really the heart of the sport over here.”
As such, partnerships created with instructors and concierges are essential to the Hotel’s standing in Megève. “It’s adventure outside, luxurious inside,” he says. “Things can get a little bit wild at ski resorts in the Alps. Guests need to be reassured that their hotel is a place of style where they can wrap up with a blanket and a drink and relax by the fire.”
Born in Montreal to French parents, Arrighi grew up in France with hopes of one day becoming a chef. His parents advised, “Follow your studies and see where they take you.” He did, ending up in hotel school in Lyon and the landing in food and beverage with two international hotel chains before joining the prestigious Hotel Les Airelles, which has a two-star Michelin restaurant, in Courchevel.
“I’ve always liked cooking and I was drawn to food and beverage from the beginning,” he says, admitting, “It’s a harder way to make a living. There are so many things to focus on. Especially in France: sharing things around the table and taking a long time to eat is part of the culture here.”
For all of the focus on skiing, Four Seasons Hotel Megève is a two-season resort, with several months of scheduled closings in between. Whatever the time of year, Arrighi leads with hands-on management. “I like to be in on the operation, greeting the guests and communicating with the staff.” Indeed, his role finds Arrighi “right in the middle of” the brand, the ownership, the Hotel team and the guests. “It’s not easy wearing so many hats throughout the day. But it’s part of the job and I’m very passionate about it.”
Arrighi’s “second job” is sharing time with his family and taking care of his twins – a boy and a girl. He also delves into sculpture as time allows, tapping his own striking sense of proportion and drawing inspiration from sculptors such as Rodin to fashion animals and humans in terracotta. “I like to discover myself in art.”
Meanwhile, back in hospitality, Arrighi says he works by two maxims: “Be generous with your loyal guests” – though he’s quick to add, “We do that with all of our guests” – and “Automate the predictable; humanise the exceptional.” The way to accomplish the latter, he says, is through creativity. “In this business, you have to innovate to distinguish yourself. It’s the difference between providing a functional hotel experience and a personalised one."