MICHEL REYBIER, FOUNDER MICHEL REYBIER HOSPITALITY
Michel Reybier, an entrepreneur through and through, established La Réserve – the ultra-luxury hotel group – following a desire to privately own and manage a portfolio of highly individual properties. Here he tells Sophie Harper what makes the hospitality brand so unique.
Designed to offer intimate settings and state-of-the-art facilities to ensure holistic lifestyle experiences, La Réserve’s bar was set with its first property: La Réserve Genève. This hotel and spa brilliantly rose to the challenge of becoming a timeless, inescapable fixture on Geneva’s high-end hospitality scene. Since then, La Réserve Ramatuelle, La Réserve Paris and La Chartreuse De Cos have enriched the La Réserve signature. In just a few years, the La Réserve brand has won an international clientele of trend setting aesthetics in the hotel sector as well as the spa and wellness sector.
“After a career in the food sector, I wanted to invest in the hotel business with a club-like approach,” says Michel. “After all, in a club you are sure to find each time a pleasurable experience with conviviality and outstanding service. I try to develop a state of mind and make each moment spent in our properties a different and unique experience. Each stay must bring an added value, an extra touch of soul: the discovery of an exceptional wine, a personalised programme at the spa to live better and longer, a healthy and high-quality food, a special attention, a kind gesture.”
In addition to La Réserve, Mama Shelter and MOB Hotels, Michel Reybier is the majority shareholder of Aevis Victoria SA, including the Victoria-Jungfrau Collection which comprises Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa in Interlaken, Eden au Lac in Zurich, the Bellevue Palace in Berne and the Crans Ambassador Luxury Sport Resort in Crans Montana.
“La Réserve offers a completely luxurious lifestyle – with a soul. Hotels, serviced properties, spas and restaurants… within each and every one of these locations you will encounter a subtly different approach to service, quality and relationships with each individual guest. I look for places that feel extraordinary – a certain light, a certain energy – qualities we cannot find elsewhere. As an active traveller, I am well aware that standards of service can make all the difference to one’s hotel experience.”
Michel has a true vision and passion when it comes to hotels but places La Réserve’s employees and customers at the heart of their success. “The key is to effectively combine excellence and simplicity whilst aiming for perfection and impeccable quality in everything that we do. This is our corporate and service culture that we transmit every single day to our employees who are at the centre of all our activities and serve a circle of clients who, in addition to possessing certain values, share a special vision of life.”
The thinking behind La Réserve was to bring to life a vision of luxury based on excellence and rigor. Michel’s goals have always been to develop hotels, residences and spas strategically situated in privileged environments and to host a finely selected management team that more than satisfies clients’ expectations with a strong notion of superior living and local insight.
“We offer the comfort of refined simplicity with an uncluttered, unpretentious hotel experience. Together with the luxury of an attentive yet discreet stance, our clientele experiences a reassuring sense of privacy and calm. Here, they find an intimate and infinitely pleasing home away from home, where the promise of excellence is fulfilled for those who share an appreciation for a finer way of life.”
Having hand-picked each of the properties in the portfolio, Michel goes on to say how fundamental the location of each is. “This is why, on the edge of a lake, in the middle of vineyards, facing an iconic Alpine summit, in a mountain village, in the heart of a capital or a cosmopolitan city, each property elegantly embodies the profound identity of each place. Then the large indoor and outdoor spaces, the profusion of light and the breathtaking views are points of cardinal importance, as is the discreet and attentive service that anticipates the slightest desire.”
Michel’s take on luxury is about a feeling and sense his hotels have more than anything else, he says: “I like to rethink luxury experiences with discretion over privilege, proximity and complicity. It’s about welcoming your clients as you would do with long-time friends, to share unique and memorable pleasures with them. It means adding new chapters to a history of friendship that is constantly being written.” Although he agrees that design plays a huge role in creating the perfect ambience for each of his hotels: “Each place must be unique with its own identity, its atmosphere. I always respect the history of the building and try to project it into the future with the help of talented designers. This harmony between past and future is the prelude to a decoration with character that is lived naturally.”
And what does Michel Reybier predict for the future of hospitality? Unsurprisingly, a shift in attitudes towards travel following the current world-crisis. “I think niche sectors that meet very high expectations are going to develop very quickly. The industry is going to break up and become divided in order to meet the demand. Travellers will become connoisseurs, even experts in what they are looking for, be it well-being, oenology, extraordinary environments. They will know how to find the place that perfectly meets their wishes to enrich their knowledge, to live new experiences. He adds: “These times naturally lead us to refocus on the fundamentals of well-being, health and quality of life, both in everyday life and when travelling. These principles have always been the basis of my holistic vision of ‘better living’. With the support of the medical and wellness experts of our Nescens brand, we have been committed from the very beginning to an avant-garde approach based on a healthy lifestyle, balanced nutrition, quality of sleep and physical activity. A promise of balance and pleasure can be found in each of our properties.”
Keep an eye out for news of future properties being added to the La Réserve portfolio with developments underway in various stages from Paris to the Seychelles.