As a long-standing and well-regarded member of Cape Town’s hospitality industry, Roy’s career in hotel management started with an internship at the Mount Nelson. He joined The Bay Hotel as assistant general manager in 1989, before being promoted to general manager in 1994. During this time he completed the Professional Development Program (PDP) in Strategic General Management at Cornell University in the USA.
Roy co-founded a software development company in Cape Town and left South Africa in 1999 to open the UK office, but seven years later he was enticed back to take up the reins as General Manager of The Vineyard.
At the time of Roy’s appointment, The Vineyard had 173 rooms. Today there are 211 rooms, and nine apartments on the property. “Roy has been an active member in our expansion both in terms of accommodation and revenues. And we will always be grateful for his commitment and loyalty,” says George Petousis, CEO of the Petousis Holding Group. “Roy has hosted dignitaries and royalty, many of whom return year after year, and has forged alliances around the world that have raised The Vineyard’s profile. He has treated all our guests with the same generosity of spirit, and those that have stayed here have been touched by his passion for this place.”
He has also steered the gracious hotel through some complex and challenging times. As a team, The Vineyard has over the past 4 years weathered the 2017/8 drought (where the hotel led the South African hospitality industry with innovative water-saving measures) to the current global pandemic that has decimated the tourism industry and continues to hamper business operations on a day to day basis.
But there have been astonishing highlights too, like a multitude of “green” awards thanks to Roy driving sustainability efforts at the hotel; his determination to bring grapes back to the banks of the Liesbeek and to bottle our small-batch wines; the annual Tennessee Williams Hotel Plays season and wine-paired Tastes dinners that lure Capetonians out in winter. There’ve been Cap Classique challenges, Tri-Nations dinners hosted by Michelin-star chef Roger Jones, pinot noir and bubbly festivals… As Roy would probably say himself, it’s been a lot of hard work but it’s been great fun too.
Perhaps this is why the hotel team so enjoys working here and why visiting The Vineyard feels like a homecoming. “Roy is passionate about the development of our staff,” says Tana Pickering, Group HR. “During his tenure, we have seen waitrons train up as sommeliers and interns rise to restaurant managers. One of our trainee chefs has just opened his own restaurant! Roy has developed a team of people who are incredibly loyal to The Vineyard and deeply invested in the hotel – some of them have been with The Vineyard for the full duration of Roy’s tenure here.”
The Vineyard holds a very special place in the hearts of Capetonians and visitors alike. A lot of that is thanks to Roy, says Tana Pickering, Group HR. “We wish him well in his “retirement” and have no doubt he’ll be as busy as ever, adding value to whatever he puts his mind to next. We are actively recruiting for a creative and innovative GM as we enter a new era of hospitality emerging from the pandemic. We wish Roy well, and thank him for his dedication to The Vineyard, to our guests and his team.”