You could say Nicolas Peth was destined to find a career in the hospitality industry. Although born in Paris, he grew up in the picturesque seaside region of Brittany, where his mother and uncle had a restaurant, and his father ran a 3-star hotel and camping site.
“From a very young age I was involved in the business,” he readily admits. “I guess this is what I know best.”
He did his college degree in Hotel Management, and for his internship he returned to his birthplace to work at one of the world’s most prestigious hotel properties. “From a little corner of Brittany, I found myself working at Hôtel Ritz in Paris,” he recalls with a chuckle. However, this was only the first of several distinguished European properties at which Nicolas would find himself employed.
Things changed somewhat in 2009 when a sense of wanderlust, and worry about the worldwide economic crisis, led Nicolas, his English wife, and their two young children to Asia. “When Six Senses [Ninh Van Bay, Nha Trang] said ‘we have a position for you in Vietnam’, I said to my wife, ‘Well, we wanted to see the world, so let’s go!’”
After a fruitful four years in Vietnam Nicolas and his brood moved to Bangkok, where he spent six years as the GM of Hotel Muse, his first M Gallery property (under the Accor umbrella). Then, in late 2018 he accepted a new position with a whole new set of challenges and responsibilities. “Vicha Poolvaraluk [founder of Major Cineplex], got in touch with me and wanted me to be in charge of Vie Hotel, his Bangkok property,” Nicolas explains. “The possibility to stay with Accor, stay with the M Gallery brand, and stay in Bangkok was too good to be true.”
Alongside Vie Hotel, Vicha also owns two other M Gallery properties — the V Villas in Hua Hin and the soon-to-be-opened V Villas Phuket — as well as the breathtaking Mirihi Island Resort in the Maldives. It’s now Nicolas’s job to manage his interests in all of them.
“He offered me the possibility to have a new challenge and a fresh start,” he says. “I have four hotels, four destinations, four different markets, and all of them are very, very competitive. And at each of these properties we have very good renovation and upgrading projects underway.”
At the Bangkok property both the spa, and the 11th floor La Vie restaurant, are currently under renovation. The restaurant will reopen in two stages, the first stage being a more casual “bistro-nomic” eatery — which Nicolas describes as still French but more light-hearted than heavy, classic French cooking — while the second stage will be a French fine dining experience with a resident French chef. As for the secondary F&B outlet, YTSB (or “yellow tail sushi bar”), Nicolas reveals that the restaurant has moved towards a full chef’s table omakase experience, which he adds is “very popular at present”.
Upgrading and renovation are also the current focus at V Villas Hua Hin, which started out 11 years ago with just 13 units situated along a beautiful stretch of beachfront, and now encompasses 28 gorgeous one-, two- and three-bedroom private pool villas, with 24-hour private butler service and other luxury amenities.
“We are renovating our big presidential villa and upgrading some of the first phase villas,” Nicolas points out. “We are completely renovating the spa, and also updating the restaurant; changing the menu and wine list. It’s a thriving property, but we are continuously upgrading. Next year I’m looking into starting all sorts of retreats, such as sports, yoga, etc.”
Next year — Q1 2020 to be more precise — is also the proposed completion date for V Villas Phuket, a “fabulous project” according to Nicolas, which will consist of 20 villas; the smallest of which will measure 200 square metres and the largest 800 square metres. Located just south of Patong, on a beautiful hillside 35 metres above sea level, the project will also include a top-tier restaurant and rooftop — open to outside guests — with panoramic ocean views.
“It’s a really exciting project,” Nicolas says, adding that, “it’s also a very big project, because of what it involves. It will be even more luxurious resort than V Villas Hua Hin, so we have great expectations.
“The beauty of the M Gallery brand is that every single one of these hotels across the world — and we’re coming to about 100 now — has a different name, design, and identity. The brand is almost in a secondary position. What people really remember about those hotels is the character, and the uniqueness, and the name, as opposed to simply the name of the company.”
The fourth property Nicolas manages is the Mirihi Island Resort in the Maldives, which although not an M Gallery property, still fits with the other three properties in that it is small — just 38 villas, 32 above water and six on the beach — and the tiny island surroundings are exotic and beautiful. “It’s just 50 by 300 metres,” he remarks with a smile. “It’s a football pitch!”