Jose Afonso was born in 1934. He is working at the HOTEL PALACIO (1930) in Estoril, the elegant suburb of Lisbon, since 1951!
Being dedicated to historic hotels also means that we treasure the memories of our longest serving employees. This blog is dedicated to the longest serving members of hospitality industry.
Hotel Hesssicher Hof Frankfurt
He was a graduate of the hotel-school in Casablanca, Morocco. He worked for 35 years under general manager Gerhard Koehler, he has two daughters, both study in Canada.
Vier Jahreszeiten, Munich, Simon Schott
Simon Schott plays the piano at this Munich landmark hotel since 1984. He was born in 1918.
Bristol Vienna, Austria: Mr Gutlederer
Reid's Hotel, Madeira, Portugal: Mr Camara
The Breakers, USA: James Ponce
In 1996, The Breakers, USA, celebrated its Centennial as a monumental tribute to its founder Henry Morrison Flagler, the man who transformed South Florida into a vacationland for millions. Now into its second century, the resort continues to enjoy national and international acclaim. Almost in "his second century" is one of The Breakers’ greatest treasures, its resident historian, James Ponce, who brandishes the resort’s rich heritage with an anecdotal enthusiasm that appeals to all ages.
At 90-years-old, Ponce continues to give weekly tours at the legendary oceanfront resort, when hotel guests gather with him to stroll the palatial halls, relive the glamour and admire the one-of-a-kind Italian Renaissance architectural design and artistry of the interiors.
Ponce knows the cherubim and seraphim of the hotel's ornate hand-painted ceilings (the work of 73 Florentine artists) and the personalities of the 44 nobles, conquerors, popes and Indian chiefs whose portraits hang in the ornate Gold Room. He regales his audience with the visits of celebrated guests who have been hosted over the years. Giving life to the bricks and mortar and storied past of The Breakers, history is clearly in this man’s genes; he can trace his ancestry to the oldest documented family in the United States. Complimentary tours are available to hotel guests.
Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka: Octogenarian Kottarapattu Chatthu Kuttan
"I still remember a Japanese Zero fighter grounding in front of the hotel!" recalls Kuttan. Since 1942 he is doorman (he had started as a bell boy) of the Galle Face Hotel in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo. Octogenarian Kottarapattu Chatthu Kuttan is undoubtedly one of the oldest serving employees in the hospitality industry in the world. Born in 1920, Kuttan has served the Galle Face Hotel loyally and diligently since the days of the British Raj and - in 2008 - he had completed his 66th year at the hotel.
Kuttan when recalling his memories as a waiter said he had served dignitaries like Lord Mountbatten, Princess Elizabeth, Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru, Gandhi and Arthur C. Clarke. His pay back then was twenty five rupees, "My Chairman was paid Rs.1500 at the time and the two chefs were paid Rs. 500 rupees."
Kuttan has been an usher since the and his face hamid 1990s and appeared in the international as a symbol of the Galle Face Hotel. Kuttan’s humble greetings, broad smile the characteristic moustache make him a personality you cannot forget.
Kuttan works only in the mornings due to his ill health, after walking a mile to get to the hotel. Although presently Kuttans presence is only felt during the mornings, he may appear for an occasional evening party on the chairman’s requst.
There is no guest who has visited the hotel and left without posing for a photograph with him and Kuttan’s photograph and the story has appeared in world’s leading travel magazines and journals and he virtually became a newsmaker overnight and brought a lot of publicity for the hotel and the country he pointed out.
Read the full story on the homepage of the Galle Face Hotel under Legendary Stories.
The Ritz, Madrid: Marcelino Martin
An absolute must-do while at the Ritz is to pay a visit to Marcelino Martin, the head barman. A charming man with a beaming smile, he arrived at the hotel in 1977 and revolutionised the bar, introducing reams of new cocktails. All were given names relating to the hotel or the neighbourhood. Some of the most successful are Alfonso XIII, Prado and the Ritz Diana (as in the name of the statue in the ‘Hall Bajo’) Today there are over 400 cocktails to savour.