Welcome to the latest in our Meet the GM series! Today we head to Charleston, West Virginia to meet Greg Bolles, GM of Sonesta ES Suites Charleston. The hotel, with its spacious suites, is ideally located in the state’s capital near popular sights and attractions such as the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center, Capitol Market, Appalachian Power Park, Coonskin Park & Golf Course, University of Charleston, Haddad Riverfront Park, Mountain Stage, Charleston Area Medical Center, WV State Museum and Adventures on the Gorge.
Read below to learn more about Greg’s background and his experience as a Sonesta GM so far.
Q: What do you like most about working within and leading hotels?
I have learned so many things working for hotels and especially some of the select brands which enable you to discover many areas of the hotel. The teams are closer and this allows you access to other areas as you work your way up. Now I get to pass this along and watch others grow as they venture outside their normal work area. Probably my greatest thrill is watching someone truly embrace being empowered and beginning to make the decisions that need to be made which in turn translate to them thriving in their career.
Q: Since joining Sonesta – what opportunity have you enjoyed the most or what has made the biggest impression?
I came from a large company that I worked with for over 30 years and Sonesta was certainly uncharted waters that I wasn’t sure what I would find. I was delighted to find that this company and its leaders really want to do the right things. It makes a big difference when your values align with the company that you work with.
Q: In your opinion, what has been your team’s most successful Everyday Surprise?
I believe that doing all the basics right translates to happy guests, clean rooms, friendly service are among the tops, and doing these things and the everyday surprises like our favorite of roses given out on national flower day are the kinds of things that wow the guests.
Q: If you weren’t a hotelier, what would you be?
I’ve done this for so long it is hard to say, but if you asked me to assist with coaching my daughter’s college basketball team, I’m sure I would jump at the chance.
Q: What do you enjoy most about living in Charleston?
This city has been my home now for 20+ years. It is where my daughters were born and now raised. I have had the great opportunity that few GM’s in larger markets get to experience by serving on the board for the local Convention and Visitors Bureau and having an influence on the direction of not only hospitality in the city but helping shape the future by influencing local government to spend resources on infrastructure that bring more visitors to our area. Because of this Board, a sports complex was built and a $100 million dollar renovation to the convention center was completed.
Q: Name your favorite place to visit — any destination in the world.
Maui as we snorkeled every day. But my happy place is our vacation lake house located on the western most Finger Lake in upstate New York.
Q: Name three items you absolutely do not travel without.
My two daughters, my cell phone, and my credit card as I believe you should always use a credit card instead of debit card because if it gets compromised, they are not freezing your bank account.
Q: What is something your guests would be surprised to know about you?
Oh a few things a guess. That I worked on a cattle ranch in South Carolina, and that I played two sports in college. That I have raised my two daughters on my own since they were 10 and 12 and now 16 and 18.