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Out of Africa – our Croydon manager’s star-studded past

Out of Africa – our Croydon manager’s star-studded past
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Out of Africa – our Croydon manager’s star-studded past

5-star hotels, Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela – they’re all in the CV of our Croydon Business Centre Manager, Michael Hall.  So why did he leave it all behind to look after business customers in South London?

For a Lancashire lad, Michael Hall’s life has had more than its fair share of colour and glitter.  He’s travelled to the other side of the world, been in the army and looked after celebrities including Stevie Wonder, Naomi Campbell and Michael Schumacher. 

The big change came when he moved to South Africa in 1982.  After two years in the army he decided to move into the hospitality sector.  You could say it was in his blood: his parents were both hoteliers, meeting at the Rembrandt Hotel in Knightsbridge back in the early 1960s.

A-listers and hard graft

Hard graft saw Michael rise through the ranks from being a bell boy delivering messages in his early years to Front of House Manager.  A highlight from his years in hospitality was helping to open the 368-bedroomed Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town in 1997, and helping them achieve their 5-star grading and become a member of the elite Leading Hotel of The World group.

Michael’s work brought him in contact with the great and the good, but unfortunately he’s not spilling any beans.  All he will say of the A-listers he looked after is: “Some were lovely and some were really challenging” – but he’s leaving it up to us to guess who was which!

Change of direction

When he moved back the UK he was still working in the hotel sector, but after 12 years Michael decided he wanted to try something different, and felt the business centre sector was a good platform to show what he could do.  He worked for the Executive Offices Group in Mayfair for 12 years before joining CapitalSpace as the Croydon Business Centre manager a year ago.

He may no longer be looking after international celebrities, but the variety of his role as centre manager keeps him fired up: “No one day is the same and – although there can be challenging times – job satisfaction to me is achieving goals and receiving positive feedback from customers and colleagues.”

5-star standards 

As someone who is used to 5-star standards, it’s no surprise that Michael sets himself high targets: “We always strive to exceed people’s expectations and try to anticipate through feedback received what clients would like to see or receive.” 

It’s also no surprise that it’s the variety of people that he meets that Michael finds most enjoyable about his job, or the qualities that he lists as essential to excel as a business centre manager: “Compassion, sincerity and a willingness to listen and learn.  Business centres change on a regular basis and if we don’t move forward and try different ideas, we will certainly be left behind.”

From Southport to Croydon, via South Africa – it’s not a straight journey, and one that probably isn’t over yet: “I do feel I’m quite privileged in having the opportunity to live in a completely different country for almost 20 years and experience a different side of life.  Home is where the heart is and hopefully one day I will be able to return to South Africa.”

Until then, South Africa’s loss is definitely our gain.

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