One of Cape Town’s newest hotels, the AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront opened in December (you can read more about the property here). We caught up with General Manager Michael Liffmann to find out about his career so far, the vision for the new hotel, as well as how their first month has been.
Can you tell us a bit about your career path in the hospitality industry so far? I joined the hospitality industry directly after matriculating in December 1996, and have not left it since. My initial reason for joining was to become a chef.
The first hotel that I joined was the newly-opened Cape Suites Hotel, where I worked as a trainee. After my first year of training, I received a great opportunity to join The Cape Grace Hotels food and beverage (F&B) team as a breakfast waiter. I worked hard to rise to the position of Assistant Manager within F&B. During the five years that I spent there, I also spent a brief period in the Stafford Hotel in London.
I was then presented with another fantastic opportunity to work in New York City. With the experience gained from New York I came back and joined the opening team for the Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel in 2003 as Assistant Restaurant Manager.
After my five year tenure, I left as Director of Food and Beverage. After a successful opening I went to the Guernsey Channel Islands and joined The Red Carnation Hotel group (The Old Government House Hotel and Spa) for two and half years.
Returning back to Cape Town, I joined the Cape Grace Hotel again as Director of Food and Beverage for another five years. This led to the fantastic opportunity to join The Westin as Executive Assistant Manager in 2016. Six months later I took over the role of acting GM for a year and a half along with Director of Operations.
Over the 22-years in the industry, I have honed my skills and enhanced my operational experience which has led to my current role as General Manager for the AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town.
When did you join the AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront team and why did it appeal to you? I joined the AC Hotel Cape Town in June 2018. The hotel was going to be the first in the Middle East and Africa Marriott Portfolio and was going to be bringing a new style of hotel to the city. A big part of the appeal for me was that I would get to build my own team and together create a culture that would make this property a great success.
Can you describe the overall vision for the hotel? AC Hotels by Marriott is a lifestyle brand designed for the entrepreneurial-minded traveller and combines the beauty of modern design with a European soul and Spanish roots. The brand believes that purposeful design improves our guests’ lives and provides them an opportunity to slow down and uncover the beauty in the essentials. AC Hotels believes that if we have time to make it, we have time to make it beautiful.
What kind of guests are you hoping that the hotel will appeal to and how do you see the hotel fitting into the Cape Town hospitality landscape? We are a 4-star property catering for a wide mix of clientele, from local corporate to international leisure. Our curated room configurations are ideal for all types of traveller, from the corporate traveller all the way through to families traveling together.
How has your first month of operation been? The first month was a great success. We saw a great booking pace prior to the hotel opening which continued through the month. We were very fortunate to open in December and we have already seen what traction the hotel is creating amongst both local and international clientele.