Seychellois gets top post in hotel industry |17 March 2022
By Vidya Gappy
Doreen Valentin has been promoted from Resort Manager to Hotel Manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Seychelles Allamanda Resort & Spa as of March 1, 2022.
She is the first Seychellois woman to reach that level with an international hotel chain and she is currently responsible for 65 staff at the hotel with 30 rooms divided in three categories.
Seychelles NATION: What is the major difference between these two posts?
Doreen Valentin: As Resort Manager, I was mostly managing operations but since my General Manager was based in another hotel, he was giving me some authority to run the hotel every day. But now as Hotel Manager, I now report directly to the Country General Manager and have more authority and responsibility when it comes to making high-level decisions. With this post comes more responsibility and we are more accountable.
Seychelles NATION: This is the first time a Seychellois woman attains such rank with an international hotel chain, how do you feel about this?
Doreen Valentin: We do have Seychellois women who are hotel managers but yes it is a first for an international brand. It has always been a male-dominated position. However, when I was Resort Manager before, I was the first woman in the region but after that some other women in the region became hotel managers. I think it is a privilege and at the same time it’s a way to inspire other young women that will come after me. It is not something impossible or difficult to attain! You just need to have the passion, the desire and you have to show to the management that you can do it regardless your gender.
Seychelles NATION: Tell us about the operation of Allamanda?
Doreen Valentin: Allamanda is a popular hotel and we have three categories of rooms, which came after guests recommendations. When you work with guests, as a hotel manager, you have to be commercially good on that. My first level of rooms is because of the view. The second and third levels is another level and the two corners of the hotels we have rooms with big bathtub and Jacuzzi. Since January this year, Allamanda has been achieving a great commercial performance. Allamanda is in a very strategic location and we work with the guest houses. Allamanda has always been a place where locals and residents come for day use or a few nights’ stay and now with the ease of restrictions we continue to cater for Seychelles residents also.
Seychelles NATION: Now that you are the hotel manager, what next for you?
Doreen Valentin: I always tell people God knows. If opportunity arises and depending on the structure, I will be promoted. However there are other properties that will open in Seychelles with a new structure and in the meantime it will give me more time to upgrade my knowledge, my skills and expertise. For me, the way the world is going, I would prefer to be in Seychelles. In two years’ time, if something comes up elsewhere, I will think about it.
Seychelles NATION: How did you cope in your family life?
Doreen Valentin: I was married before, but my husband passed recently. It was not easy as I had 23 years of marriage with no kids. At the same time, married or not married, I was able to cope with it. My husband met me when I was working in the hotel industry and he accepted that immediately. The hotel takes a lot of your time but at the same time you have to make time to be with your family. You balance it. My team is a solid one where I can sleep well at night. I am not a micro-manager but an overseer. I love working at the hotel and I look forward to coming to work every day.
Seychelles NATION: Any words of wisdom for young women joining the industry?
Doreen Valentin: I would definitely encourage more women to join this industry, especially we women have a tendency to have a lot of excuses where we say we cannot. Sometimes men take advantage of that. I believe that there are women out there who can join the industry and make a difference. Every work has its pros and cons. This industry is very rewarding in the sense that you meet people of different nationalities and you are able to make savings – where you get uniforms, meals, transportation, etc. The salary remains for the staff. We need people who are passionate and we should not let every little issues put one off. Everywhere you go working with people, you will face issues. You just have to move forward. I would advise the young single ladies to join the hotel industry so that they can grow. There are more hotels coming up, they should explore and they will go far.
Seychelles NATION wishes Ms Valentin all the best in her new position and that she keeps making Seychelles proud.