General Manager, Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam

Emmy Stoel

Emmy Stoel's Story

I have been a hotelier my entire working life. When I was a child, I saw a hotel programme that was set in San Francisco, and I loved this series. I was fascinated by hospitality and the pleasure we give guests; I admired the luxury part of it and the world behind the scenes – that’s why I started my studies at Hotel Management School Maastricht.

I started my career as an assistant to the general manager of the smallest 5-star hotel in the Netherlands, it had only 27 rooms. My boss came from a hotelier family and he taught me a lot in those first two years. After this experience, I moved to the Hotel Okura Amsterdam as banqueting manager in charge of operations and sales, and nine years later I became head of business development.

After various roles in Hilton as director of operations and later as director of business development, to my surprise, I was asked to come back to Hotel Okura Amsterdam as deputy general manager and then as general manager. In total, I had been working for 20 years at Okura when this opportunity at The Grand came up. It is part of a big chain, international high end luxury; a monumental, iconic building with 52 suites in downtown Amsterdam. Maybe it has been a challenging 2,5 years with the impact of Covid-19 but I enjoy working for The Grand very much.

I have not experienced any issues being a woman stepping into the hospitality industry and making a career there. I am a member of Hotellas, a Dutch association for female hotel general managers, and we have at least 40 members in Amsterdam. Women do have a good feeling for hospitality and service, an eye for detail and they are people oriented. In my view it has always been a plus that I’m a woman.

Discover your passion, what makes your heart beat faster. And continue to develop yourself throughout your career, take courses, gain experience in other places, look outside the box and challenge yourself all the time.

To anyone looking for a job, come to our business, come to hospitality! A job in the dynamic hotel world is one of the most exciting jobs you can have. I go home every day with wonderful stories, there is never a dull moment. The industry is international and there are great career opportunities. Look at mine: I moved from being director of operations one day to being director of business development, commercial director in charge of all sales in the hotel, to general manager of this five-star hotel.

The IT crisis is forgotten, the banking crisis is forgotten, and the Covid crisis will be forgotten, and in two years tourism will be booming as never before and there will be a wealth of opportunities.

Whenever I say I am a hotelier, the first thing they say is that’s a tough job and I don’t understand that at all. The hotel operates 24/7 but I don’t work 24/7, it is very much under control. If you run your own business it’s also not from 9 to 5. We must change perception. Go for it!

  • Emmy Stoel
  • General Manager
  • Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam

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