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From the House of Lords to Loch Ness: Meet the new general manager at Drumossie Hotel

By Rachel Smart

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Stephane Portes, Drumossie Hotel General Manager. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Stephane Portes, Drumossie Hotel General Manager. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Macdonald Drumossie Hotel is renowned for providing fine dining, luxury stays, exquisite events and having a first-class team behind it.

Based on the outskirts of Inverness, the hotel has a new general manager at the helm who has a breadth of experience in hospitality and has worked in some of the world’s most prestigious venues.

Paris-born, Stephane Portes has worked at both The Ritz and The Savoy in London, and for 10 years of his career was the head of hospitality at the House of Lords.

Having worked with the Macdonald brand for over five years, he is now looking forward to this new opportunity at the Drumossie for both personal and professional reasons.

Speaking in the tranquil lounge of the hotel, he said: “My family and I moved to Inverness eight years ago, as we had previously been living in London, but we had two young boys and wanted a different lifestyle for them.

“An opportunity came up at Macdonald Aviemore Resort, and it was just perfect. When we arrived in Inverness everyone was just so welcoming and nice. We really felt it was where we wanted to be and where we wanted to build a life for our family.

“I used to commute to Aviemore each day to work at the Resort.

“I then went to work as the hotel service director at Goldman Sachs in their hospitality department so I would travel to London each week.

“When Covid came around I wanted to be closer to home and not commuting as much. An opportunity came up at Macdonald Norwood Hotel in Aberdeen and I’ve been there for the past three years.

“When the chance came up to replace Kenny for the general manager role, as he was promoted within the Group, I jumped at it.

“It’s nice to be home and to be able to see my boys and my wife every day. To be home is just so unique for me. I guess you don’t feel like that if you go home every night, but it’s a luxury for me.”

Having worked all over the world, including Argentina, Hong Kong and New York, alongside having a Master of Business Administration under his belt, Stephane has a wealth of knowledge about creating a memorable hospitality experience.

A personal passion of his is travelling and adventure, having taken part in the 2005 Atlantic Rowing Race alongside Ben Fogle and James Cracknell. Stephane believes travelling provides a depth of understanding into what different people need and want when they visit other parts of the world.

He said: “I think the best way to learn about hospitality is to travel. If you can understand individuals from all backgrounds that’s what hospitality is all about. You can pick up a little bit wherever you go.

“Next year I am looking forward to taking part in the Etape race.”

Having known the previous manager Kenny McMillan for several years, Stephane is looking forward to taking on the baton and is happy to have a talented and passionate team behind him.

“The beauty of Inverness is the community spirit where everyone getsto know you at a personal level. It’s a great community to be part of,” he said.

“The team are fantastic, and they are so experienced, so I feel like I’m coming home.

“The Drumossie Hotel has such a talented team with so many skills. It’s not a job to them, it’s a passion, and it’s amazing to work with them.

“Kenny has left a great legacy and it’s a privilege for me to take it on and develop it in the best way I can.”

Stephane is looking forward to continuing to provide a Highland welcome to all those that come to the Drumossie Hotel and being an integral part of the community of Inverness.

He said: “I’m looking forward to helping Drumossie continue to be a part of the community and show the hospitality we can provide. We have a great product, great location and a huge opportunity for Inverness to discover what we do here.

“I’m just the gatekeeper and we want people to get the warmth of the Highlands and have a five-star experience with us.”

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