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Trump International Hotel & Tower, New York

An “Alien” keeps watch over New York’s only luxury Five Star hotel and Five Star Restaurant
Lyssiemay Annoh chats to Suzie Mills about her role, the property she manages and her aspirations.

Born Suzannah Jayne “Suzie” Mills, the general manager of the 167 luxury accommodation, Trump International Hotel & Tower, New York at One Central Park West is one very fortunate professional alien.
As General Manager of New York’s only double five star luxury establishments, she is also the youngest and one of the only three female general managers in the entire US collection of general managers in five star establishments. The Trumps are a very hardworking family and Suzie is no stranger to hard work. She was first introduced into the hospitality industry at the age of 10, working at her parents’ hotel in Wales. Launched in October 2007, the Trump® Hotel Collection is the next generation of luxury hospitality presided over by internationally renowned developer Donald J. Trump and his three grown children – Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric – the prestigious portfolio includes the highly acclaimed Trump International Hotel & Tower® New York.

How does it feel like to be an “alien”, woman, and so powerful in the American hotel industry?
It is nice to be a novelty. I am an alien to the American because I was born in Chiswick, London, went to live in Wales before returning to London again to work. My parents are English as well, so I am very English. People like to hear the accent and I like to know that I am making a difference.

The youngest GM in New York and female – what are some of the challenges that you face in your day to day activities?
Being one of the only three female general managers of luxury establishments out of 69 male general managers, one has the tendency of always wanting to prove oneself; unconsciously, this makes you put a lot of pressure on yourself.

My own colleagues at the Tower are wonderful but others in the industry tend to forget that a woman can be a general manager and quickly assume that you are in Sales.

What is it like working with the Trumps especially with Ivanka who has driven the design process of this hotel?
Ivanka is extremely influential. Both she and her father Donald, contributed to the concept especially as the Trump Tower is the smallest proper hotel of the Trumps. There is always the occasional argument between father and daughter over modern and traditional tastes but they agree in the end. Donald Trump takes a lot of pride in the Tower; for example he chose the TV – the whole Trump International Hotel & Tower is his “baby”.
Is the Trump Tower really the only 5-star hotel and restaurant in New York? What makes it so different?
No, it is not the only five star hotel in New York but it is the only one with a five star restaurant. The restaurant has three Michelin stars, making it one of the five Michelin star restaurants in Manhattan, New York.

We also have Donald Trump involved as an owner but we also have 170 or so happy condo owners. This is the difference between the Trump Tower and the other five star hotels. Another unique thing about the tower is that every suite or condo has a kitchen or kitchenette. There are also several exclusive services the hotel offers its guests, including the comprehensive assistance of Trump Attaché™. Trump Attaché is a signature program of the Trump Hotel Collection. It provides guests with comprehensive service – no matter how particular – throughout their stay. Following check-out, the Attaché meticulously records each
guest’s preferences and maintains a detailed guest history to ensure that no stay feels like the first and no request needs repeating.

In a place like New York with so many restaurant choices why would guests want to eat in-house and why would street clients walk in to eat at the Tower?

The hotel’s five-star restaurant, is led by award-winning chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, 2009 winner of the James Beard Foundation award for “Outstanding Restaurant” for his Suarez Restaurant in New York, NY. Jean-Georges at the Trump Tower is now the flagship restaurant for the award-winning chef whose other New York restaurants include the highly praised Vong, Mercer Kitchen, Spice Market and Perry Street.. It serves contemporary French cuisine. For an exceptional experience, the hotel can bring the restaurant to a guest’s room, and is available 24 hours. With advance notice, a restaurant chef can be arranged to prepare culinary specialties in a guest’s kitchen, and present the gourmet meal course by course.

If you have to pick one favourite spot in the Tower where would it be and why?
I would pick Room 1600 a beautiful two-bedroom suite because it has the best panoramic view in New York!

Now that you have achieved this wonderful goal of managing an iconic property in the heart of New York, what next for Suzie Mills?
Good question. I suppose that ultimately, I would like to manage another opening or development where I will be in charge of the operational side of things so that I can ensure that the day-to-day operational requirements like storage spaces, etc are incorporated into the project. Designers, Architects etc are all very good at their jobs but it takes a hands on functional manager to prompt them about what is required from the operational point of view.

© Executive Traveller 2003