Anything but conventional, the award-winning Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront, Cape Town (RED) – situated in the Silo District of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town – not only boasts the title of being the first RED in Africa, but also of being spearheaded by a dynamic leader that was born ready for the challenge. With over 12 years of hospitality expertise under her proverbial belt, Curator (an embellished title for General Manager) Leonie Andereya has her eye set on continuing the success the hotel has enjoyed since its launch in September 2017.
A native of Bonn, Germany, Andereya’s resume lists invaluable work experience in zhoozh establishments such as the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and the Savoy Hotel, and it’s her current position as General Manager that is currently the juicy, RED cherry on top; pun intended. Having been part of the team that opened the 252-studio hotel in 2017, was no mean feat for Andereya and her team of personality-driven department Leads (managers in RED-speak) but two years later and the crew is stronger than ever. “I manage an incredible team of some of the most creative minds and wildest souls in the country,” she gushes. “Together we make magic happen every single day for our guests and, most importantly, for each other.”
Born out of a millennial mindset when it comes to design, functionality and comfort, RED doesn’t target one specific market or age group, and has successfully positioned itself as one of the best destinations for Capetonians to escape the regular 9 to 5 routine. “RED is for anyone who seeks out new experiences; new tastes, new sounds, new outlooks. We’re here for the loud introverts, the trendsetting outcasts, the silent messengers, the odd fashionistas, the rebels and the renegades.”
When asked what sets RED apart from other hotels in Cape Town, or even South Africa as a whole, Andereya responds: “What doesn’t set RED apart from its competitors?!” It is this mindset that is deeply rooted in the RED ethos; one inspired by music, fashion and art. The philosophy – shared by all RED employees – gives Andereya and her team carte blanche to seek out and engage collaborative working relationships with local small business owners in order to create unforgettable experiences. These include – but are not limited to – the hosting of live music events, collaborating with local fashion designers, and curating art pieces by some of South Africa’s brightest artists.
The unconventional and flexible service concept offered by RED is centred around the creative minds that make up the hotel team. They are creators themselves and, much like the RED ethos, are also inspired by music, art and fashion. They literally live and breathe creativity in their personal lives, and by sharing these inspirations in combination with an attitude for genuine hospitality, they create and deliver the ultimate RED guest experience. Universally it’s well-known that long working hours are synonymous with the hospitality industry but Andereya instills in her team a sense of fun, belonging and purpose. “My team’s happiness is of paramount importance to me. I want them to be happy and to enjoy their lives both inside and outside of work.”
RED is all about ditching the norm and breaking tradition: “The fundamentals of the hospitality trade are the same the world over, but RED cuts through that in order to be heard, seen, felt and experienced,” adds Andereya.
With its upcoming third anniversary, Andereya is certain that RED will be knocking people’s socks off in 2020. “Literally watch this space…My team is crafting some incredible activities and campaigns that will definitely get people talking.”
Andereya attended the International University of Applied Sciences in Bad-Honnef, Germany where she completed a diploma in Business Administration in 2007, later bolstered by a bachelor’s degree from Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, and a master’s degree in Organisational and Business Psychology. Andereya began her career in 2007 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, USA, moving on to work for the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts in Doha, Qatar, and – prior to relocating to South Africa in 2014 – was at the helm of several senior management positions at the Savoy Hotel in London, UK.
When not running an award-winning hotel. Andereya can be found curating world-class strategies to turn RED green, scaling Lion’s Head, running after two young children and writing children’s books.