Relais & Châteaux, which is an exclusive collection of more than 520 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 60 countries, held its 39th annual meeting of the association in Berlin last week.

More than 500 Owners, Maîtres de Maison, Grands Chefs from 60 countries participated in the International Congress from 17 to 19 November. Following the presentation of the highlights of the past year, the election of the new International President of Relais & Châteaux and his Executive Committee took place at the congress that had a theme of “The Transmission”.

During the past year all of the Association objectives were met: the 2014 International Relais & Châteaux Guide lists 36 new members; 8 new destinations (Croatia, Latvia, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Russia, Ecuador, Mauritius, Turkey); nine additional cities (London, Seoul, Riga, Quito, Valparaiso, Seattle, Calgary, Johannesburg and Hangzhou); and 12 new Grands Chefs. A wind of renewal and rejuvenation has been blowing with the launch of the new CRÉATION gift range and the presentation of 85 villas and private homes.

These dynamics are reflected by the sales revenues 2012/2013 of the Association of EUR 112 million, including EUR 18 million from gift certificates and boxes sold (+ 3% versus prior year) and EUR 94 million of reservation volume via Central Reservations (+ 22% versus prior year). The sales revenues generated by our member properties totaled EUR 1.7 billion.

Jaume Tàpies, International President of Relais & Châteaux, presented an optimistic report at the end of his eight years of presidency: “Relais & Châteaux has definitely entered the era of modernity with a membership network which is more than ever international and has grown by 18%. We have moved from an Association to an enterprise-based model to accompany our growth, whilst respecting our founding values. And I am proud that our brand, a true gem with a rich history, continues to defend a concept of hospitality and cuisine which today encompasses the world and the cultures. These eight years have been an unforgettable human experience and I will continue to fight for the Association.”

A new President

Philippe Gombert will act for four years as International President of Relais & Châteaux.

This son and grandson of hoteliers, a former lawyer with the Paris bar, owner of Château de la Treyne (France), became a member of Relais & Châteaux in 1992 in the Great South West delegation of France, before he was elected Regional Delegate from 2001 to 2005 and nominated Secretary General by Jaume Tàpies in 2005 He coordinated all the French regions from 2006 to 2009 as National Delegate France, and became a member of the Executive Committee of the Association as Secretary General from 2009 onwards.

Philippe Gombert, new International President of Relais & Châteaux, confirms: “The heart of our Association has truly beaten in Berlin. I am proud to have succeeded in gathering around me an international team which is representative of our cultures and sensitivities, an experienced, young team which is also driven by the willingness to place Relais & Châteaux at the service of all its members.

We are passionate hoteliers and talented restaurateurs, all independent, convinced of the vital need to be part of a strong network which is capable of offering our guests the most beautiful experiences to discover the world and its unexpected savours.”

List of the members of the Executive Committee

The elected members are:

Philippe Gombert - Château de la Treyne, France / President
Olivia Le Calvez - L’Hôtel de Toiras & Villa Clarisse, France / Secretary General
Thomas Maechler - Beau-Rivage Hotel, Switzerland / Treasurer
George Goeggel - Auberge du Soleil, USA / First Vice President
Silvia Lafer - Johann Lafers Stromburg, Germany / Vice President
OIivier Roellinger - Les Maisons de Bricourt, France / Vice President
Jaisal Singh - Sher Bagh / The Serai Jasailmer, India / Vice President
Mar Suau - Son Brull Hotel & Spa, Spain / Member of the Board
Andrew Stembridge - Chewton Glen, United Kingdom / Member of the Board