In Conversation with… Gerald Chevasson

The new General Manager of InterContinental Doha Beach & Spa talks about transparency at the workplace and his favourite spot in Doha.

Given your extensive experience in the Middle East hospitality industry spanning over 30 years, how do you anticipate leveraging your regional knowledge and insights into your new role?
Throughout my years of experience working in the luxury hospitality industry in Doha, the UAE, Muscat and Saudi, I have learned a lot about luxury. One key insight I gained is the essential role of creativity and innovation in achieving true luxury. It is with this in mind that we work on the strategies for InterContinental Doha Beach & Spa and InterContinental Doha Residences. We are also working to develop the hotel to attract more leisure guests. Developing more experiences for our guests to enjoy is a core goal of our strategy.

What changes can customers expect to see with you at the helm?
My focus has been on enhancing the resort feel, restaurants and bars, as well as wellness. A lot of changes have already taken place in enhancing and revitalising our culinary offerings, along with new leadership within our culinary team, and also our fitness and leisure activities with The Bay Club. Additionally, guests can anticipate my personal touch on every aspect of their experience, from the minute details like floral arrangements to the overall ambience, bolstered by the recent addition of a Music Curator. In short, guests can look forward to a sensory journey where vibrant enhancements will be made from the smallest of details to the overall service excellence of the hotel.

What unique leadership style or approach do you bring to your role as General Manager, and how do you intend to foster a positive and dynamic work culture within your team?
I believe in transparency, sharing with the team, both on our successes and failures. I do not believe in hiding anything. When you involve your team with all that is happening in the hotel and share the goals and vision, you have a more engaged team that works more cohesively. When everyone is involved and given an opportunity to voice their thoughts, we have room for conversation and cohesive development. A big part of leadership is knowing your team well, and this is bolstered by fostering great relationships. I walk around and greet my colleagues every day, I greet them on their birthdays, share in their success and guide them in their careers.

Returning to Qatar after eight years, what changes have you observed in the country?
It’s amazing to see how much the country has grown in such a short time, especially with new cities like Lusail and Msheireb. What I admire most about Qatar is how it manages to grow and still retain its identity and culture. It is still as chic as it was, and the focus on culture, sport and health has stayed the same. There are plenty more leisure opportunities for tourists to explore, both within the hospitality industry and out of it with new touristic experiences. Definitely, a lot of big changes.

What about the ‘new’ Qatar impresses you the most?
Msheireb. I love sitting outdoors in cafés and Msheireb is the perfect spot for my family and me to enjoy people-watching. It is a wonderful experience to stroll through the streets and discover the vibrant cafés, interesting art exhibits and luxury boutiques. Msheireb is a unique blend of European and Arab culture. It’s a chic and innovative place that’s so modern and yet so cultural. I am also really impressed by the National Museum of Qatar, designed by a Frenchman, the overall infrastructure of the city, and one of the best things about Doha: no traffic! ✤