The Dorchester Collection has appointed Robert Whitfield from Four Seasons as regional director UK and general manager of the Dorchester hotel, London.
Whitfield joins the luxury group from his most recent position of regional vice president and general manager of the 243-bedroom Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii, where he has worked since 2007. He replaces Roland Fasel, who is now chief operating officer of global luxury hotel group Aman.
In his new role, Whitfield will oversee the running of the five-red-AA-star, 250-bedroom Dorchester, as well as the group's two other UK properties: the five-red-AA-star, 46-bedroom 45 Park lane and the five-AA-star, 70-bedroom Coworth Park.
Whitfield said he was excited to be joining the Dorchester Collection. "I look forward to spearheading the future of three iconic hotels, which hold such prestige, and leading them into an exciting new era, where they will continue to be leaders in the luxury industry," he said.
In 2011 he told The Caterer that he would love to return to work in London. "I would enjoy putting all my various experiences and using the contacts I have built up abroad to create a great hotel," he said.
After studying hotel, catering and institutional management at City College Brighton & Hove, Whitfield began his career as a senior assistant chief steward at the Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane, before moving to the Grosvenor House Hotel as assistant restaurant manager and then the Athenaeum hotel as food and beverage manager. After a stint as deputy general manager at Dukes hotel, London, he was appointed to his first general manager role at the Royal St Lucian hotel in St Lucia.
Whitfield joined Four Seasons in 1999 as resort manager in the Caribbean island of Nevis. He went on to work at the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto, California, before moving to Hawaii.
During his overseas career, Whitfield experienced three hurricanes and a tropical storm in the Caribbean, before moving to Hawaii where he was embroiled in the tsunami that followed the Japanese earthquake in 2011. The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai was badly damaged and closed for six weeks. "There really is no substitute for a well rehearsed plan and we had one in place," he said later.
In addition to its three UK properties, the Dorchester Collection owns and operates a further seven luxury hotels and resorts in Paris, Geneva, Milan, Rome, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.