Regional Vice President and General Manager, Four Seasons Beverly Willshire
Four Seasons Tenure
There are only a handful of luxury hotels in the world that everybody knows, and this is one of them,” says Peter Humig, reflecting on the European-style luxury, long-running history and legendary renown at the heart of Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel). Approached in spring 2018 about becoming General Manager of the iconic address overlooking Wilshire Boulevard at the foot of Rodeo Drive with the Hollywood Hills beyond, Humig contemplated “for about two minutes” before saying “Yes!”
The assignment combined everything that Humig was looking for in his third decade with the company. For one thing, Beverly Wilshire is nothing if not well established. “There are employees who have been here for 40 years. They know what they’re doing better than I ever will. They know the guests. And the guests know them.” The Hotel also has “incredibly strong partnerships,” most notably the one with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, whose flagship CUT steakhouse has been drawing carnivorous A-list elite since opening in 2006.
Humig also points to the Hotel’s all-day restaurant THE Blvd with an exceptional outdoor patio at Rodeo Drive as a long-running haunt for local celebrities, and the Spa, which earned its first Five-Star rating from Forbes Travel Guide in 2017.
Then there is Beverly Wilshire’s standing as a preferred backdrop for glamorous events from Oscar parties to over-the-top weddings and much more. “There are so many major events that take place here,” says Humig, noting the amazing things the Hotel can do for group clientele, including closing down Rodeo Drive for glittering parties with red carpet entrances. “The sophistication and service is just what our high-end clientele are after.”
No surprise, then, that with everything Beverly Wilshire has going for it, Humig sees his primary responsibility as supporting the legacy and “cast of superstar staff” that have made the Hotel such an important LA address for so long. Sure, there are always investments in physical attributes, as time and needs require. “But,” says Humig, “the key to the success here is letting Beverly Wilshire be itself. I didn’t come into this position with a lot of changes in mind. My focus is on supporting what works so well and adding new experiences and enhancements as needs arise and guest desires evolve.”
Humig initially got interested in hospitality at his mother and father’s five-star ski resort in the Swiss Alps. He grew up in an apartment onsite, and can recall hiding behind a curtain in the lobby and watching the comings and goings of guests with the wide-eyed fascination of a six-year-old. “You’d see people arrive stressed out, and five days later they’d leave as a happy family. To help them get their life back was very satisfying.”
After studying culinary arts and earning a degree in hospitality management from a Swiss hotel school, Humig worked at properties in Zurich, Luzern, St. Moritz, Arosa and Munich before joining Four Seasons Hotel Berlin as Front Office Manager. He moved onto Washington, DC, the California coast and Philadelphia before receiving his first appointment as General Manager at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler in the mountains of British Columbia, which earned Canada’s first ever Resort Five-Star rating from Forbes Travel Guide in 2015.
Then in 2015, he was appointed opening General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown near the southern tip of Manhattan. The first year was exciting, he remembers. “We showed up and opened a building in an area that was still being revitalised with tons of potential. We spent the first year broadcasting to the world that there was a new game in town, and we were rewarded by receiving the prestigious Forbes Five Star Award in our first year of operation.”
It paid off. Soon enough, “the place had a soul and a character all its own and had really come to life.” Turnover was low “so the staff liked it, which is always a good sign,” and guests kept coming back. The success illustrated the smarts behind Four Seasons strategic thinking, says Humig. “The company made the decision to open a luxury hotel in a neighbourhood where all the others had closed before it. The timing was just right.”
The timing was also right for a promotion. In tandem with his move to Beverly Wilshire, Humig became a Regional Vice President with oversight of Four Seasons properties in Whistler, Jackson Hole and Santa Fe, as a new one under development in Los Cabos on the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico.
Meanwhile, Humig and his family are happy have an outdoor lifestyle just beyond their doorstep. “New York City was great very exciting, but we really wanted to be able to enjoy beaches and surfing and hiking and skiing again.”
What, east coast skiing wasn’t good enough for you? “Sorry,” he says with a laugh, “it just didn’t do it for us I was born in the Swiss Alps and my family and I spent time at Whistler, North America’s largest ski resort, so yes, we are a bit of a ski snobs.”