Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC
- 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, DC, 20007, U.S.A.
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 1999
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Assistant Manager and Sommelier at Café on the Green, Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas
- Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole; Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North; Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC; Four Seasons Hotel Toronto; Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at La Colinas; Hotel Intercontinental Luxembourg
- Roanne, France
- Bachelor in Food & Beverage, BTS in Hospitality
- French, English, Spanish
Surrounded by tall mountains in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, David Bernand kept a short list of places he would consider furthering his career. “Washington was one of them,” he recalls, counting off the many positives of Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, including the Hotel’s status among the city’s movers and shakers; its place as the only Five-Star, Five-Diamond address in town; and the number of managers who worked the floor and went on to greater success within the company.
“I was here for six years,” he says of the stretch that saw him rise from Assistant Food & Beverage Director to Hotel Manager in Washington back in the ‘00s. “I always loved the cosmopolitan energy of the city, the competition, the restaurants – everything about it.” Now, as the Hotel’s eighth General Manager, Bernand is excited to be back and working with the loyal employees he once led. “The stability of the property, even as it evolved through more than USD 100 million in renovations over 35 years, is simply incredible.”
The evolution of the DC hotel never stops, of course: Bernand stepped in as General Manager just before the start of another renovation encompassing all guest rooms and the signature restaurant BOURBON STEAK. “It’s my seventh renovation for Four Seasons," he says of the deep experience he brings for the job. “For my last room renovation, it was conducted under a tight window of 29 days – and everything worked! I’d never seen that before.”
Bernand also returned to the Washington hotel at a time of booming competition, with what industry press has described as “a bunch” of new hotels being readied or renovated in the Nation’s Capital in time for the 2016 election. Whatever the size or style of the new kids on the block, what separates Four Seasons from the pack is its service and the way it makes guests feel at home.
When asked about all the hotels opening in the DC area, Bernand explains: “Our owners have been proactive in assuring our product is the best it can be and that we continue to nurture the relationships we have developed with guests for decades.” What guests in Washington expect more than anything is “convenience and reliability,” he continues. “That means giving people what they want before they know they want it and making things easy for them. It comes down to the people we staff and the level of consistency they provide.”
Born and raised in Roanne, France, about an hour from Lyon, Bernand’s hospitality career began at his family’s bakery, which was started by his grandfather. He remembers the scent of pastries wafting to his family’s living space upstairs and enjoying the interaction with customers across the counter as he sold bread as a young boy. He still has his grandfather’s pastry recipes, handwritten in pencil.
Bernand later pursued front of the house positions in gastronomic restaurants across France before moving into the hotel world. He launched his career at a five-star international hotel in Luxembourg and then transitioned to Four Seasons, bringing his talent for food and beverage to Dallas, then Toronto, and then Washington before his promotion to Hotel Manager. Bernand went on to become Resort Manager in Scottsdale before reaching the top rung of management in Jackson Hole.
Whatever his address, Bernand is passionate about being involved in the community. He has plenty of opportunity in DC, where the Hotel focuses on several local charities, most notably by organizing the annual Drive Four the Cure and Sprint Four the Cure fundraising drives for the Washington Cancer Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. While Bernand is no golfer, he has huffed and puffed through a number of marathons and triathlons over the years, so look for him near the head of the pack on the Sprint.
Meanwhile, Bernand is content to be back in the “very special place” where his Four Seasons career first took off. “When I left the Hotel for Scottsdale seven years ago, the employees lined up in the lobby to wish my family and me well,” he remembers. “I had tears in my eyes while leaving. Coming back the other way around with a smile on my face was very special.”