Olivier Lenoir was aspiring to be a chef like his father when he got to learn about the world of hospitality management. The Swiss native, who grew up helping his parents at their restaurant in the French-speaking medieval city of Lausanne, was enrolled at the prestigious Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, taking a course for certified chefs that focused on food and beverage management. “My dad wanted me to have different career options and a vast skill set that would widen my horizons,” says Lenoir, who is currently the general manager of Andaz Singapore, a brand by Hyatt. “So I completed the course, which gave me a hands-on experience, and did an internship outside of Switzerland.”
The internship was a major milestone that saw him pack his bags—with no intention of returning home—and move to Singapore to work at the Beaufort Sentosa (now known as the Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa). The temporary stint eventually became a full-time job and after a few years with the hotel, he left to join Hyatt, which would take him to other parts of Asia.
Along the way, Lenoir built a family and developed a discerning palate. Sacrifices were also made, particularly when duty calls had to come before family time. “The downside of the trade that I'm in is that sometimes my family has to pay the price, such as when I have to sacrifice evenings and weekends for work,” he says. “My biggest challenge over the years has also been having to pack up and move to another country with my family multiple times and on very short notice.” Nonetheless, as much as he can, he tries to balance work with regular trips with the family, some of which he shares with us.
Olivier Lenoir (OL) A week in a chalet on a very remote Swiss mountain.
OL Driving around Ireland.
On your travel bucket list?
What do you love most about traveling?
OL That it’s always happy hour time somewhere in the world.
One place you can visit over and over again?
Three things you always travel with?
OL Earphones, sunnies and a bottle from the duty-free store.
Your favorite travel companion?
OL My three ladies—my wife, and two daughters.
What do you normally watch on the plane?
OL French flicks.
Any tips on overcoming jet lag?
OL Don’t drink alcohol or binge on French movies.
Best travel tip?
OL Get to know the locals and learn what not to see and do. This will save you a considerable amount of time by getting to the best spots right away.