Susanne Hatje: Power woman in a male domain
The GM of the Mandarin Oriental spills the beans for our readers.
18 February 2020
Our ability to surprise guests and exceed expectations makes me proud.
"Once we had a guest at the Mandarin Oriental in New York who asked for help with packing," Susanne Hatje says. "As the team was busy packing up the guest's things, the guest mentioned that he had unfortunately not managed to eat one of the famous New York hot dogs. Immediately, the staff headed towards Central Park and got two hot dogs. Before leaving, the hot dogs were brought to his room. The guest was totally surprised and touched by all this attention." It's one of many stories from the Mandarin Oriental in New York. It is moments like this that make General Manager Susanne Hatje proud.
Born in Hamburg into a family of hoteliers, she was at home in hotels from an early age. She remembers working with her grandparents as a teenager. She was able to recognise outstanding hospitality early on: "I was able to observe how my grandmother managed the hotel effectively and at the same time did not neglect warm hospitality towards the guests." That Susanne Hatje wanted to stay in this world was clear. An intensive apprenticeship at the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski in Hamburg set the course for her career. She started in the hotel's laundry and subsequently worked in all departments from the kitchen to reception. Later, she studied at the renowned Cornell University in New York, followed by an MBA at the Royal Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia.
General Manager, Mandarin Oriental, New York
She knows the industry very well and especially the quality and philosophy of Mandarin Oriental. For the company, she was General Manager in Munich and Resort Manager in Hawaii. She was responsible for the opening and successful positioning of Mandarin Oriental in Boston and The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. Before assuming the position of General Manager at Mandarin Oriental in New York, she was responsible for the group's portfolio of residences. Susanne Hatje is energetic and loves the dynamics of New York. Here, she has learned to be flexible - the climate of society, the financial markets and also politics change quickly in the US city. In addition, the hotel market is constantly growing and there is fierce competition in New York. The expectations are high.
The cosmopolitan values open and constant exchange with her team. She is there for her team and highly values team performance. When she is not in New York or surfing in Hawaii, she likes to be where her professional journey began: in Germany with friends and family. "For me, luxury means having time. When time is up, it can't be repeated." That's exactly why it's also important, she says, that guests experience personalized service, that their wishes are met and even exceeded: "We don't want to waste valuable time."
Picture credits: Mandarin Oriental New York; Susanne Hatje