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December 31, 2010

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Hilton Shanghai Hongqiao's new man is rich and wise

BRICE Péan has a magnificent Chinese name - Pang Bosi, (bosi meaning rich and wise) - bestowed on the general manager of the new Hilton Shanghai Hongqiao as a tribute by his Chinese team.

The five-star hotel, which opened last month, is Hilton's newest in China.

It's located in the rapidly developing Hongqiao section of Minhang District, offering some of the most spacious and luxurious guest rooms in Shanghai and the largest ballroom in Puxi area.

Before Péan arrived in Shanghai at the beginning of this year, he was general manager in the Fiji Beach Resort & Spa managed by Hilton Worldwide. He was there for two and a half years.

"Shanghai was the first city I visited in this country. I remember it was a snowy day in January. I came directly from Fiji, when it was summer there, about 45 degrees (Celsius)," says Péan. "I will never forget that moment. I went downtown by cab, looking at the city. The night time in this city was impressive - the city of lights."

Péan is no stranger to cold. The Frenchman has lived around the world and Shanghai is his 11th city of residence. His wife, daughter and son also live in the city now.

"I am a foreigner here. I have to adapt myself to the local culture, to make myself comfortable. Chinese culture is deeply attractive to me," he says. "The more you understand the local culture, the better you can lead your team, which is comprised of many local people."

"International experience makes our boss very open-minded in his work," says Cindy Zhao, marketing and communications manager who has worked with Péan since April.

"If our suggestion is right, he will take it into consideration. This makes the team work energetically, effectively and with full confidence."

Péan holds a degree in hotel and tourism from the Tourism College of Innsbruck, Austria, and his 23-year career has spanned four continents and some of the world's most exclusive hotels. He has worked for the Hilton Group for the past 11 years.

Péan began his career in hospitality in 1987 with Le Meridien and then moved to the Plaza Athenée, one of the most exclusive addresses in Paris. In 1995, he was appointed front office manager at The Clarence Hotel, Dublin, a small boutique hotel owned by the rock band U2.

This was followed by a position at the Millennium Britannia, London. He was then recruited by the Hilton for the position of director of operation at the Hilton Vienna Plaza. He also worked in Cairo, Egypt, Adelaide, Australia, and Fiji.

For Péan, one of the most important aspects of management is recruitment of the right people.

"Getting the right crew is the key to success and makes things easy," he says. "Without their support, I am alone."

Though the hotel was opened after the World Expo, Péan visited the event.

"The architecture is amazing and the China Pavilion is brilliant," he says. "As a Frenchman, of course I visited the France Pavilion."

He says the Expo placed Shanghai even more prominently on the world map as "Paradise of the East." The event also has improved infrastructure of the city better, with better traffic flow and more civil facilities, making it more enjoyable to live here.

"I go to the restaurants, the bars along the Bund, enjoy the beautiful river scene with friends and the enjoyable life in Shanghai," he says.

Events are the specialty of the hotel, with more than 2,800 square meters of flexible meeting and banquet space, including the largest ballroom in Puxi. Measuring 1,706 square meters with a 6.7-meter-high ceiling, the spectacular ballroom can accommodate more than 1,000 guests for banquets and weddings.

The 675 spacious guest rooms and suites are stylishly furnished and range in size from the 46 square-meter Standard Twins, which will be the biggest standard room in Hongqiao area to 238-square-meter for the Presidential Suite.

Conveniently located just 15 minutes from Hongqiao International Airport and 55 minutes from Pudong International Airport, the specially designed three-tower hotel is close to Metro lines and surrounded by sleek shopping malls, entertainment facilities and upscale residences.

For recreation, there's a nine-hole golf course within walking distance. The hotel is negotiating to provide package service to guests.

"The functions in the hotel are complete. Further, it's impossible to find any other hotels in the center where you can enjoy a room with golf view," said hotel GM Brice Péan.

The hotel offers some of the best recreation facilities in the area, with a 25-meter heated indoor swimming pool, two rooftop tennis courts and a well-equipped fitness center. It has six luxurious spa therapy rooms and a sauna.

2010: Appointed general manager of Hilton Shanghai Hongqiao.

2007-2010: General manager of Fiji Beach Resort & Spa

2005-2007: Director of Business Development of Hilton Adelaide

2003-2005: Director of Operation of Hilton Ramses Cairo


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