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Michael McCarthy | Photo: Benjamin C. Tankersley | October 28, 2013
Olivier Servat promises an element of surprise as the newly minted GM at the W.
That Olivier Servat, the handsome new general manager of the W Washington DC, was destined to work in the higher echelon of hospitality was evident early in his life. “I was 13, and our neighbor’s kids—who were older than me—all attended the hotel school in my hometown of Toulouse,” says Servat, who moved to DC this fall from the W Paris-Opera, where he was also the GM. “The youngest child was a great headwaiter working at Gaston Lenôtre, a famous Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris. He was financially independent and split his time between Paris and St. Tropez. That was it—I knew what I wanted to do!”
The rest is hospitality history for a man who adores playing his Stratocaster as much as surprising hotel patrons. His new post in DC promises to add even more glitz to a hotel scene that has recently wowed out-of-town guests and locals alike. “I want to reinforce [our hotel’s] positioning with our roots and passion points: music, design and fashion,” says Servat. “Ultimately, we’ll develop initiatives where up-and-coming musicians, designers and artists will fuel solid and consistent programming that will draw the jet-setters and the trendsetters.”
Pierre L’Enfant’s French connection to the District isn’t lost on Servat, who says Paris and DC reflect the best of each country in ways beyond the monuments. “Just as Paris is famous for its fashion scene, I know DC has a great underground scene that can truly fit our new-and-next approach toward art,” he says. “My immersion in the city will tell me how far we can go. After all, my favorite sport is to engage people.”
Jogging on the National Mall, Champagne, the W streaming-music app, my first American Thanksgiving, pushing the envelope
Running on a treadmill, flat conversation, my 5-year-old’s taste in music, jetlag, not RSVPing