Her hard work and career path have steadily led her to the pinnacles of hospitality management, but she was clear from a young age that she wanted and could achieve this by the age of 35.
Her story gets even more impressive. Victoria is a single mother with two young children so proper management must be applied in her second job – that of being a mother, too.
Born in England and growing up in Monaco from the age of four, she loved to look after everybody. She was usually in charge of organising family events, making sure that everyone was happy. When the decision had to be made about her further education her parents suggested a hotel school but insisted on her taking an internship in a hotel first.
At the age of 16 Victoria spent two months in the kitchens of the Hotel de Paris.
“I peeled the potatoes and washed the salad for two months but at the end I still wanted to go into the industry, so my parents kindly sent me to a hotel school in Switzerland.”
Straight after graduating from the prestigious Glion Institute of Higher Education, she started her career at the legendary Savoy in London and held an array of operational positions in 5-star hotels in Paris, China (during the Olympics), England and on the Cote d’Azur, including the Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat and the Royal Monceau.
She came back to Monaco and was looking for a position here, but this proved somewhat challenging. In spite of her experience, in her mid-twenties, she was still very young in the eyes of her potential employers.
“The mindset was very different here than in the UK. There if you have the talent and you have proven yourself you can grow very rapidly, and I did. But when I came back to Monaco a lot of people said, well, you need to start from scratch, you need to prove yourself,… and so on. So, I packed my bags and was working in London again.”
As luck had it, even though her hard work paid dividends, too, the General Manager of the hotel she worked for recommended her for a position at the Negresco Hotel in Nice.
She got married and had her first child while working as Front Office manager at the Negresco Hotel. Life led her away from the Negresco and when the sales position opened at the Columbus Monte-Carlo, she applied and was hired on the spot. This was 2014, Victoria was Sales Manager in charge of the Leisure and Corporate segments. However she soon realized she missed the operational side of things, the contact with the hotel guests.
“The things that make me buzz is trying to be one step ahead of our guests’ needs, doing everything we can to turn their experience into a memorable one. The key for me even today is turning moments into memories.”
The Columbus Monte-Carlo, now owned by London & Regional Properties went into a year-long renovation in 2017 and Victoria was overlooking the hotel re-fit. The day when the hotel was again operational still stays clearly in her memory.
“I will never forget it. We were all standing in the lobby at 3 o’clock in the morning and we thought: “we have done it. Just in time to greet our first clients arriving for the Grand Prix.”
“This is what builds a team. In that renovation time everything was re-created, the atmosphere, the uniforms, the team spirit, our targets and what we are aiming for. This new product is still a stunning product and this changes and inspires everybody’s mindset.”
In 2018 Victoria became the hotel’s General Manager. She was 35 years old.
Her next goal? She laughs and thinks for a moment. “Taking this hotel to where I see its full potential is. I believe there is a lot more we can do and we have the right team, the right mindset and the same goals and targets in mind, we now need to grow on that.”
The current team consists of 56 people, slightly smaller than that of pre-Covid seasons. The number grows to a hundred during the summer when all of the 181 rooms are occupied.
The Columbus Monte-Carlo is the only independent 3-star hotel in Monaco. “But we believe that we are providing and have a hotel at a 4-star level for our clients.”
“We believe that we are the gem of Monaco. We are what people don’t expect of Monaco – away from the glitz and glam of Monte-Carlo. We have the same cars in the garage as there are in front of the Casino but our clients prefer a discreet stay.”
Victoria’s day begins at 8.30 in the morning when after dropping her children at school she has her breakfast at her desk. Fruit yoghurt and granola. That’s about the only routine she has. Apart from that there is no one day like another and this is a part that makes her love the job.
How does she unwind?
“Being with my children, of course!, ” she laughs before she adds: “I travel – mostly to London where my family lives, I enjoy meeting friends over a glass of wine and I do boxing regularly. You know, if you keep your composure constantly towards your clients and team, you need to release somehow. I do boxing. It’s really helpful.”