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Think you know Andre Gerondeau, think again….

There’s more to Andre Gerondeau, executive v.p. hotels for Melia Hotels International, than meets the eye, so we decided to ask him those comical, personal and telling questions to reveal the man behind the suit.

Andre, who grew up around the hotel business, took his first international trip before he was a year old and hasn’t stopped since. Though he prefers collecting memories to magnets, one of his fondest memories is visiting the back of the house at hotels when he was a child. But now, traveling with his wife is at the top of his list, as is a visit to Istanbul. We’ll let him explain in this installment of our Coffee Time With Industry Vets Q&A series.

Andre traveling with his family in Greece.
Andre traveling with his family in Greece.

Where did you go on your first trip and how old were you?

As a son of this profession, my first trip was from Tokyo to New York, with my family, when I was less than a year old.

What was the “Aha” moment that led you into the travel industry?

It was when I visited the hotels’ “back of the house” when I was a small child, in the mornings, before going to school. I loved it there.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We went on an “express” world tour. Unfortunately, it was too short but intensive, nevertheless.

What was your favorite trip you took last year and why?

Without any doubt, it was a visit to Vietnam, because it was really authentic.

Where would you like to go that you have yet to visit? 

Believe it or not, I haven’t been to Istanbul.

Do you always buy a souvenir the first time you visit a destination?

Not really. I prefer to take the memories in my heart.

You can tell us – do you collect magnets from the destinations you’ve visited?


What do you do to pass the time on the plane ride to your destination?

I try to combine some work with reading books and watching movies.

Andre and his favorite travel partner, his wife.
Andre and his favorite travel partner, his wife.

Who is your favorite travel companion?

My wife, without any doubt.

If there were one hotel room in the world you could call home the rest of your life, which would it be?

I feel extremely comfortable at the ME Madrid rooms, in front of the Plaza de Santa Ana, where I spent several months when I came to live in Spain.

What is the best food you’ve had on a trip? The strangest?

I love Mexican food in general, and the strangest I have tried are ants and worms that they also like to cook.

What can’t you travel without?

My iPad.

Who is the most interesting person you’ve met while traveling?

I once met a man who was a Platinum Member of the airline loyalty program. He traveled all the time, and his aspiration was to become “just” a gold member, so that he could have a better life and see more of his family, etc…

Tropical beach or Snowy Mountain? 

Tropical beach

City or countryside?

I love both, but I must admit that I am an urbanite.