After completing his studies at a school specialized in hospitality and tourism in Estoril, the Portugal-born Duarte Bon de Sousa established and incorporated many hotels in his native country. After stops in Lisbon, Paris, and Madeira, he joined the Oetker Collection as General Manager for L’Apogée in Courchevel in December 2013.
The community of Courchevel offers 18 five-star hotels including L’Apogée. What may be the key criteria for your guests to select this hotel for their stay?
Obviously, in winter, Courchevel is much more popular than in other seasons. L’Apogée wants to be the first choice for visitors coming here on vacation. I guess it’s simply a matter of the guests’ personal taste and what they are looking for. We are a contemporary five-star hotel that places value on warm and welcoming surroundings. You won’t find hard, cold design in our rooms. Our teams are trained to perfection and are willing to make your stay with us so exceptional that you will want to come back again. The spirit at L’Apogée is something very special and unique – you just have to come and see for yourself!
What is the specific ambience and atmosphere that creates the feeling of being home at L’Apogée?
I am highly convinced that the only thing that matters when it comes to feeling at home are the people you are surrounded by. You can stay at the most beautiful hotel, but if the people you meet, for example, don’t smile or won’t listen to your needs, you won’t feel comfortable. That’s why, here at L’Apogée, a major focus is finding the best and most motivated staff possible. It all starts with a friendly, warm and open personality. We can teach you lots of things, but we cannot teach you how to smile. In addition to this, L’Apogée has created its very own scent – a soft, woody smell – that you will notice wherever you are in the hotel. Our guests appreciate it very much and, to take this feeling back home, often buy our scented candles.
What kind of luxury makes your guests always want to return?
As we are a ski resort, there is a certain rhythm for our guests: They wake up; they quickly eat breakfast; and then the mountains are calling. So no time should be wasted and if our guests have any kind of request, we take care of it. That’s what’s perceived as luxury. Our kids club also gives parents the luxury of some time for themselves. The kids can enjoy a fun day with new friends and tell their parents all about it at the end of the day. It’s often the small things that make the biggest difference.
Which ski-run at Courchevel should not be missed?
I love skiing very much and naturally I have my very own personal favorite when it comes to ski-runs. It’s called “Le Creux-Noir” and, let me tell you, the view over Courchevel from up there is simply breathtaking. The mountains, the horizon, the fresh air you breathe. The ski-run is quite difficult, with black and red pistes. But if you like taking pictures as much as I do, it’s worth a visit.