Jan-Paul Kroese has suddenly departed from Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Sasons in Great Milton Oxfordshire, after two and a half years as general manager.
He was said to have left the five-red-AA-star, 32-bedroom hotel, which holds two Michelin stars, for “personal reasons” in order to look after his 88-year-old father in his home country of the Netherlands.
Hotel manager Sandra Mueller, who joined the property from Firmdale Hotels – where she spent 11 years – in September 2017, is currently heading up Le Manoir’s management team until “an excellent candidate [who] has been identified for the role” is announced.
A spokesperson for Le Manoir, which was founded by chef Raymond Blanc in 1984, said: “We can confirm that Jan-Paul Kroese has stepped down from his role as general manager of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons owing to personal reasons and effective immediately. We thank Jan-Paul for all his contributions to the business since he was appointed in 2015 and wish him well for the future.”
Kroese told The Caterer said that he had decided to leave Le Manoir following deliberations with Belmond concerning personal challenges. “The most important one is that I have an aging father whose health is deteriorating and deserves more of my time.
“He lives in my home country the Netherlands so I will move my family back there. The timing of my decision coincides with my children starting the next school year in their new environment. I will be moving to Amsterdam region and after taking some time off, I will be looking for a next opportunity there.
“I have had a marvellous time with Raymond and the team at Le Manoir and will sincerely miss them. I understand Belmond have a successor in mind so I can step down with the knowledge Le Manoir is in safe hands for the future. I wish everyone at Le Manoir a bright future!”
Prior to joining Le Manoir, Kroese managed the 58-bedroom Château St Gerlach, a Camille Oostwegel Château Hotels & Restaurants property near Maastricht in the Netherlands, for four years. He replaced Philip Newman-Hall, who retired from Le Manoir after completing two six-year stints at the hotel.
Kroese has spent much of his career outside his home country of the Netherlands, with hotel roles in Kenya, Ghana, China and the United States.
In an interview with The Caterer last year, Kroese said that he intended to remain in the UK for “the foreseeable future” and added: “I chose to move here for Le Manoir and Raymond’s enthusiasm and philosophy, and I believe I can help the team continue to excel and grow”.
Le Manoir was voted as the favourite property of UK hoteliers in the Hoteliers’ Hotels Top 100 list 2017. The 2018 list will be announced on Thursday.