Working in the hospitality industry is kind of like a family business.
Once you're in, you're in. At least that's the case for Alex Novo, the general manager at Viceroy Miami, who has been around the industry almost all of his life. To learn more about Alex and the hotel, with a reputation for impeccable service and high style, that the industry pro calls home, keep reading!
What was your first job?
My first job was working at Carvel serving ice cream. I still maintain that Carvel makes the best milkshakes in the world, my favorite being the mint-chocolate chip.
How did you get started in your career?
The hotel business is in my blood. My dad worked in hotels for 40 years for esteemed properties including Casa de Campo Resort & Villas in the Dominican Republic. He originally migrated from Cuba and started his career from the ground up, washing pots and parking cars for numerous hotels on Miami Beach before rising through the ranks to become an operations guy. By being around hotels all the time, I fell in love with every aspect of the business; from ordering room service to seeing the expressions on guest's faces when on holiday.
What is a typical day like for you?
Controlled chaos. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Tell us about your office décor. When did you last give your office a makeover?
Other than a painting by French artist, Duaiv, my office tends to be underwhelming because I would rather be out on the floor tending to our hotel guests. I make my office just comfortable enough.
What's the best part about your job?
The best part about my job is that I get paid to make sure that people have great vacations, business trips and meetings. I also do so in a team environment.
What's the most daring career risk you've ever taken?
By far, my most daring career risk was moving to New York City with young children: a two-month-old and 18-month-old. While there for six years, I worked as the director of operations for W New York Times Square and hotel manager of Gramercy Park Hotel.
Who are some of your career heroes?
From a visionary perspective, Ian Schrager, is one of my career heroes. He has completely changed the nature of the hotel business. Other career heroes and mentors include Dan Flannery who is currently with the EDITION, Jonathan Tisch of Loews Hotels and countless others who have helped provide counsel along the way.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Never say no and 95 percent of your job is showing up every day.
What do you love about working in the hospitality industry?
The camaraderie, ability to develop people and allow them to reach their dreams and full potential. I also get a lot of questions from non-industry friends on places to eat and stay, and I'm always happy to share recommendations from my own experiences.
What do you love about the Viceroy brand, specifically?
It's very design-driven, sophisticated and approachable as opposed to other hotel brands. Viceroy Hotels are genuinely authentic with a blend of luxury, and are renowned for delivering excellent service.
Jennifer Cooper, E! Entertainment
Finish the sentences below:
Today for lunch I had… a swordfish sandwich with French fries prepared by award-winning French Chef Kamel Dahmani at our signature restaurant, 15th & Vine Kitchen and Bar.
The first website I log onto every day is… Flipboard, Google News and ESPN.
My usual Starbucks order is… an iced latte.
If I wasn't doing this job, I would… run a professional sports franchise
My favorite place to visit is…New York City.
List five things that are on your desk right now…my laptop, building and construction plans, profit & loss statements, handy 8 ½ x11 legal pad and business cards.
The book I'm reading right now is…a Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James.