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The Best of the Best Chosen as Protea Hospitality Group’s GMs of the Year
In previous years There Could Be Only One.
But this year the standards were so high and the competition so tough, that the Protea Hospitality Group has handed out two General Manager of the Year Awards – and both to GMs of PHG crown jewels. Anton Gillis, GM of Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch, has won the award along with Gary Koetser, GM of African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa. Both are new hotels that have soared in their first year with these experienced GMs at the helm. The awards were made late last week at the culmination of the Protea Hospitality Group’s annual general managers’ conference. GMs of the Year are chosen by previous winners of the award – the best choosing the best.
Anton Gillis is a graduate of the Cape Town Hotel School. He cut his teeth in London hotels before joining Protea Hotels to assist Joe Segers with the opening of the brand new Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Cape Town. He took over as GM of that hotel before relocating to Johannesburg earlier this year to take the reins at Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch. The hotel has a Hollywood glamour theme which is contemporary and edgy. It has been designed around the lifestyle of Jozi socializing, so it features unique elements such as private lounges with crystal chandeliers, LCD TVs and mini bars.
Anton said he was astounded and immensely proud to have received the award. “It’s all about team effort combined with dedication and passion.” He said the hotel’s success was a group effort. “We introduced and set new standards which were unique and cutting edge within the hospitality industry.
Gary Koetser started with Protea Hotels as an orientation trainee and then completed the in-house Management Diploma where he was Trainee of the Year. He worked at a number of Protea Hotels before becoming GM of Protea Hotel Saldanha Bay, Protea Hotel Tyger Valley and finally Protea Hotel Sea Point before being selected to head the management team that opened African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa in December last year. The hotel has fast become Cape Town’s premier executive stay and deluxe conferencing centre.
Gary said receiving the award had been the culmination of an amazing year. “We’ve just celebrated the hotel’s first birthday, which is only one of many highlights. The way the new hotel’s management team came together and meshed was wonderful. The staff is what makes the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa so special, and this is an even greater incentive to make 2011 a year to remember for all the right reasons.” He also congratulated his executive chef Abbas Abrahams, who won the PHG Food and Beverage Achiever of the Year.
Protea Hospitality Group chief executive Arthur Gillis said both Gary and Anton had shown the sort of leadership that was intrinsic to the Protea service culture. “They are strong managers who have run with the challenge of new hotels and performed beyond expectation. They were both extremely deserving of being GM of the Year and I know both men have fine careers ahead of them within the Protea Family.”