THE SOUL OF STYLE - EPISODE IIStephan Stokkermans - Hotelier
The third episode of a series of personal blogs in which quirky and self-confident men together with author Onno Aerden go in search of the soul of style. We proudly present the best-dressed hotelier on the continent; Stephan Stokkermans, managing director Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin.
“Freshly graduated from Hotel Management School Maastricht, I was hired by a conference organizer, later known as weekendjeweg.nl. There, one of the last events under my supervision was organized in Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin. Apparently, they appreciated what I did; they offered me the position of sales manager at the hotel. This was in 1993. I have ever been here since that date. Of course, this was strengthened by the fact that I became a member of the owning family through my wife Marianne; we got married in 1995.
Marianne is responsible for food & beverage, and since summer 2016 I am leading the troops as the managing director. Marianne and I do not interfere with each other's business. Not in the hotel and neither at home; we complement each other and respect each other's specialisms.”
"My mantra: do not settle for anything less than the best.
Our national soccer team stays with our hotel six times a year. President Obama stayed with us with his complete entourage when he visited the Netherlands. Exuberant gala nights and recently a NATO summit; Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin operates on the very highest level. Five stars, certainly, even though that qualification does not tell the story. It’s an obsolete system: can it compare a five-star hotel in Dubai with a five-star hotel on the Turkish coast? Or with one in Oslo? No, of course not!"
"Dutch people are getting used to hotels as a meeting place, workspace or for a night out. The range of high-quality services offered by hotels is growing rapidly and the required level is high. Guests are more articulate and demanding than ever. They wear their hearts on their sleeves, their fingers on the review button. We monitor all reviews with immediate response to all serious feedback.
For example; for some time there was no desire for coffee and tea in the hotel room, but now we learn from social media channels that an own coffee machine in the room is appreciated. And then, of course, we immediately invest in good coffee machines for all rooms. Including 20 suites and 4 penthouses, 254 rooms in total.”
“Attracting younger guests is our current main challenge. We are not a traditional hotel with a traditionally serving staff. Our Breakers Beach House is a contemporary beach club. And shouldn't we gradually allow our staff to show off any tattoos? The Pierrot paintings remain though, they are the signature of the family. They represent that we are not part of a hotel chain. Here a personal and human touch prevails.”
"My own style? Competitive: I always want to win. Passionate: persistently curious how things can be done better and better. Fun: life is too short to be grumpy. I like to stand in front of an audience: telling where we are going, explaining why. With flair, a joke, but committed and never without obligation. I know the numbers and I love it - even though math was not my best in school, I want to measure results. When I lose, I’m heavily annoyed and my teams know that they'd better avoid me for a while."
"I'm definitely a suit man. Twenty suits, fifteen jackets, eight pairs of shoes - all with a classical twist. Not so long ago I took my chances on a pair of Nikes and I really have to get used to that. Almost every day I wear a tie: walk the talk. If the staff is wearing ties, so am I."
"My hobby is my profession and vice versa: this line of work requires a day and night commitment. Even if I’m not feeling well, I put on a smile; that's what the employees and the guests expect. Although I try to avoid the stage at these moments."
The style of Stephan:
"A place where they have properly filled oysters and a good steak tartare. I don't eat meat, except occasionally steak tartare. All or nothing: that's my style."
"A Rolex Submariner Blue Dial Stainless Steel and 18K Yellow Gold. I always wear it safely on my wrist."
"I'm a fast shopper. Twice a year a new wardrobe, a full restock. My shirts - only white - I mostly restock in Switzerland. We're often there: beautiful country. But if I have to mention a name next to POSSEN, it would be Harrods of London. What a style, what a class. ”
"As long as it's a good ride, I don’t care whether something has 6, 8 or 10 cylinders. We've been able to get rid of our car and use a driver's service once in a while. And cycling is great. Pretty crazy for someone who was sifting out all the car catalogues when he was fourteen."
"We like to measure ourselves against the beautiful Beau Rivage in Lausanne. Domestically: Pulitzer. We enjoy working together with them. Beautiful timelessly modern look on the canals of Amsterdam."
“Suits and jackets, in wool and cotton. Well cut to the bone. With a pronounced design and pattern, although there are limits. For a polo shirt, the occasion has to be very informal. Linen doesn't suit me at all. Never wear shorts in my life, too."
Get a sneak peek of my Possen collection. Click Here