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Lifestyle

Fabrice Moizan Knows What You Want

By Mark Ellwood

Aerial image of the Eden Rock resort and beach in St. Barths

The Eden Rock in St. Barths ranked in the inaugural World’s Best Hotels list last year; Image courtesy of Oetker Collection

Portrait of Fabrice Moizan at the Eden Rock St. Barths

This year, Fabrice Moizan celebrates a decade at the helm of St. Barths stalwart Eden Rock

This year, Fabrice Moizan celebrates a decade a decade running the Eden Rock in St. Barths. He was handpicked from his previous role running the Paris outpost of Fouquet’s Barrière by owners Jane and David Matthews, the wealthy Britons whose elder son is married to Pippa Middleton, sister of the Princess of Whales.

The now-50-year-old first came to St. Barths on a placement three decades ago, but returned after being offered his dream job, of running Eden Rock, the oldest hotel on the island—and arguably it’s most glamorous.

It’s Moizan who adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the 37-room property: charming with a permanent half-smile, he’s nonetheless a stickler for the tiniest details, keeping the property as functional as it is glamorous (at lunch, he’ll instantly spot the moment any glass is empty, even mid-sentence). Following Hurricane Irma in 2017, Moizan oversaw the two-year total renovation of the property, which added new rooms, a refreshed restaurant, and an upgraded spa; Moizan’s efforts helped steer the reborn Eden Rock to land at number 41 out of 50 on the inaugural list of the World’s Best Hotels, this year.

What was your first job, and how did it prepare you for your current role?
How did it connect to what you do now? I am the middle child in a family of three brothers. Since I was 10 or 11 years old, I was always with my mum when we had a dinner party at home, helping her with the cooking. It really gave me a passion for it, which I still have. I was a very good student at school, so I had to convince my parents to let me go to hospitality school instead of college. When I was 17, and starting out there, I worked every weekend in a gastronomic restaurant—to train, and to earn some pocket money. I quickly asked the owner to move me from the kitchen to front of house. It all started from there: my passion for connecting with people, and learning how to handle their expectations.

View of the entire hotel on the shoreline

The 37-room property went through a 2-year renovation in 2017; Image courtesy of Oetker Collection

What other hotel would you love to manage, and why?
La Mamounia in Marrakech; if those walls could talk, I would listen to their stories forever. The property’s legacy is unparalleled, and I have always been captivated by it.

Where did you last go on vacation, and where did you stay?
Lake Como and the Dolomites. I had the supreme pleasure of visiting the stunning new Passalacqua, created by the talented Valentina De Santis and her family. There’s such attention to detail everywhere, from the restrooms on the first floor, each decorated differently with stunning lighting fixtures, to the outdoor restaurant. The sunbrellas there are such a chic shape and print.

Talk to me about other hoteliers you admire—and ones from whom you’ve learned.
I admire Antonio and Carla Sersale at Le Sirenuse for the unbelievably chic experience they have created—their craft in hospitality is an art form. My mentor is Pierre Ferchaud, who ran Le Bristol for 20 years. His attention to detail, his attention to every team member, his ability to always put himself in the guests’ shoes to deliver above their expectations. That mentorship has been invaluable to me. Pierre told me that saying “Bonjour” needs to be meaningful, or otherwise you must stay quiet. It goes for anyone, whether it’s team members or clients. If you say “Bonjour, how are you today?” you must mean it—and be prepared to listen to the reply, and possibly be ready to help if someone needs it.

View from the balcony with chairs in the Legacy villa at the Eden Rock in St. Barths

The Legacy Suite at Eden Rock in St. Barths; Image courtesy of Oetker Collection

What to Pack:

Toughest guest request ever?
When one of the most well-known American actors asked us to organize a party for 400 people in one of our villas, in less than six hours, for New Year’s Eve. The party took place in Rockstar, our six-bedroom villa, and the crowd started to arrive after 1 a.m. By 4 a.m., we started to get calls from hotel guests who were complaining about the noise from the party. So, I went to the actor and I gave him two options. The first: Stop the music. The second was to invite all the hotel guests—and of course, that’s what he did. I called the guests who complained and said that the actor would like to raise a drink with them, and they all came. The next day, they got to go home and tell their friends and colleagues that they’d spent New Year’s Eve with him and all his famous friends.

How does a hotel GM help define their hotel? How would you describe the role you play?
I’ve always believed that a successful GM needs to be able to properly define and fit exactly within the DNA of the property. For us, that’s four words that guide our team daily: Eden (a cocoon, a paradise); Rock (subversive, out-of-the-box); Chic (elegant, French); and Glamour (sensual, immaculate, and our signature red). As part of that process, they also need to be able to assemble an exceptional team that understands the vision and are able to bring it all to life, making the property a living, breathing place. The service should be complementary to the offerings, which should seamlessly mirror the destination and all that it has to offer.

What should every guest do at a hotel?
Choose the best table at the bar where you can see everybody. Enjoy a few drinks for a few hours and observe the crowd. You will learn about the destination by looking at hotel guests and locals coming in and out, and for sure you will meet some nice people.

Give us your three favorite tips or recommendations for St. Barths.
Hiking at Colombier Beach before dawn and ending at sunrise to finish with a “plouf” alone in the ocean for 10 minutes of relaxation—such a peaceful and also energetic way to start the day. And if you go to the top of the rocky platform there, you can just sit and look at the sea for 30 minutes, and reconnect with Mother Nature, too. Then take a boating lunch with one of Pilou’s boats in Saint Jean Bay facing the hotel, or just enjoy a bottle of nice Burgundy and admire the sunset from the observatory above Gustavia.



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