LEADERS in Hospitality
Florian Riedel, Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis

Florian Riedel

The Golden Rule

Editors’ Note

Florian Riedel serves as General Manager of the recently opened Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis. He began his career with Four Seasons in 1996 at The Inn on the Park, now known as Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, bussing tables in the Michelin starred Seasons Restaurant. After five years rising through the ranks in a variety of food and beverage and rooms positions, Riedel transferred to Four Seasons Resort Aviara in Carlsbad, California. From there, his career took him back to Europe where he served as Front Office Manager at the former Four Seasons Hotel Berlin. He briefly left Four Seasons to become partner and sous chef of a Tuscan vineyard in the hillside village of Montalcino, Italy. Riedel returned to Four Seasons as Assistant Director of Rooms at the former Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma in the Bahamas and later served a second stint at Four Seasons Aviara as Director of Residences. He was then promoted to Regional Director of Residences during which he spent time assisting with numerous Four Seasons residential projects including Seattle and Beijing before becoming Resort Manager at the award winning Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in late 2011. In 2014, when Four Seasons assumed responsibility for all areas of Hualalai Resort, Riedel was promoted to General Manager and Vice President of Operations with oversight of the 330 residential member homes and member facilities. Riedel then accepted the role of General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto before moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to open the one of the newest hotels in the Four Seasons portfolio. Riedel is a graduate of the hotel management school of Villingen-Schwenigen in Germany.

Property Brief

Rising 36 stories above Minneapolis and firmly rooted in its dynamic downtown, the all-new Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis (fourseasons.com/Minneapolis) boasts 222 spacious rooms, all with unobstructed, inspiring views; new dining concepts by local award-winning chef and restaurateur Gavin Kaysen; more than 16,000 square feet of indoor event space; and an entire floor dedicated to wellness and fun – complete with an evolving and sustainable spa, an indoor pool with floor-to-ceiling windows, and an outdoor pool on the city’s largest terrace. Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis is also home to 34 fully serviced Four Seasons Private Residences on its uppermost floors.

Four Seasons Minneapolis Skyline Executive Suite

Skyline Executive Suite

Will you provide an overview of Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis and how the property is positioned in the market?

This is a place for everyone. Whether you’re joining us for a drink at the bar, enjoying The Spa or staying in our guest rooms, there is something here for you. Our goal is to live up to the motto of Minnesota – the Star of the North – and be a beacon drawing people together.

What is the key to Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis’ strength and leadership in Minneapolis?

Our people are our strength. At Four Seasons, we believe in the Golden Rule – treating people the way we want to be treated. This means we respect every employee, provide them with the resources they need to do their best work, and then give them the space to share their gifts and talents with one another and with our guests. As I’ve said before – there is no secret sauce. It’s all about our people.

Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis

Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis

How valuable is it to have such a strong suite product and do you see this as a differentiator for Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis?

You’re right – our suite product is strong. Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis is a place that brings people together, and we have all kinds of beautiful spaces to do just that – our suites included. These rooms offer more flexibility, allowing guests to both stay and play with us. In our suites, there is room to host, entertain, and celebrate special occasions with family and friends. And don’t forget the views – even from the bathrooms, they are magnificent. I’d say to trust me on this, but you’ll really want to see this for yourself.

How has Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis approached its restaurant/food and beverage offerings and what are the keys for a hotel to be successful in this area?

My favorite topic – food and beverage. Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis provides a gateway to the Mediterranean lifestyle, especially though our restaurants. For instance, when you walk into Mara Restaurant & Bar, you are transported to this tranquil, peaceful, beautiful space. For me, it’s like I’m back in Italy ready to enjoy a leisurely Sunday lunch – those meals where you truly are present and fully enjoy one another’s company. It’s restorative for sure. And then we have Riva Terrace on our fourth-floor pool deck. In the summertime, this is where the Italian Riviera and Mississippi River meet. You’ve got aperitivo hour, coastal Italian food, sunshine and swimming. In the wintertime, the Italian Riviera becomes the Italian Alps. We transform our outdoor space into a Nordic Village with cedar cabins, curling and a fire table lounge. It’s the ultimate winter wonderland.

Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis Indoor swimming pool

Indoor swimming pool

Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis has a strong meetings and events product. Will you highlight this offering?

We have more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event and meeting space, and in every area, you’ll find natural light. Since the first big event on Opening Day back in June, our team has continued to outdo themselves. The ballroom ceilings and spaces are customizable, so we’ve seen everything from a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory activation to stunning weddings to corporate functions. The product is first in class and so are the people. The women leading our Event and Sales teams are smart industry veterans who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Their impact on the guest experience and the business is immense. They set us up for success every day.

Will you discuss Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis’ focus on offering personalized service and a customized guest experience?

Our competitive advantage is service, and again this goes back to our people. I saw potential and greatness in each and every person I hired – and that’s more than 350 people at this point. The interview process and everything after that is centered on the Golden Rule. That is something guests can feel.

We also have a Guest Experience team. While so many of our employees engage directly with guests, this group is involved from pre-arrival to departure. They provide personalized recommendations, arrange for welcome amenities, make reservations, and respond to requests. They also plan and execute fun events at the hotel like yoga classes, musical performances, holiday markets, and more.

Four Seasons MinneapolisMara Restaurant & Bar

Mara Restaurant & Bar

How critical is it for Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis to build a diverse and inclusive workforce to mirror the diversity of the guests it serves?

A diverse staff is a strong staff. Our team is from different states and different countries. We have racial and ethnic diversity. We speak 10 languages. We are a multi-generational team. We are more than a hotel; Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis is a place that brings people together. This starts with our staff.

How do you define the role of the general manager and what are the keys to being effective in the role?

Leadership is providing people with what they need. I have the opportunity and responsibility to create a positive, inclusive, and engaged environment. I take this very seriously, and at the same time, it’s the best job in the world and a lot of fun.

What advice do you offer to young people interested in building a career in the hospitality industry?

Be positive, work hard, and take opportunities when they come. You never know where they will take you and what doors will open for you.