•Hotel Presidential’s Former GM, PER STEFSEN
Per Stefsen, a Danish throughbred hotel manager is a popular man in Port Harcourt owing to the fact that he ran the prestigious Hotel Presidential for 5 years before he left. He is well loved by the people of Port Harcourt and he has contributed in no small measure to the entertainment industry by giving artistes access to make use of the hotel hall for concerts. He developed the hotel before he parted ways with the management few months ago. For his contribution to the hospitality business in Port Harcourt. Mr Per was honoured with a chieftaincy title few weeks back, he opened up to City People on why he left Hotel Presidential. “I left Hotel Presidential because my contract expired. I have managed the hotel for several years and it is not all the time that you feel everything you do is correct. Maybe they were expecting more from me, but all I know is that my contract expired and I was hoping they would extend it but they didn’t. Was there any reason whatsoever why his contract was not extended? “I know they were quite happy with what I did. When I came to the place, there was basically nothing and I ensured that I improved on the facilities. I managed the hotel for 5 years and until I left the hotel was growing 100 per cent and when I meet people they all tell me that I did a great job,” he said.
While he was the manager, Mr. Per encouraged a lot of entertainment activities in the hotel. He on several occasions gave out the hotel hall for free. When asked on what he was trying to achieve with the concept, he said “the idea was to promote the name by hosting different entertainment activities, hotel is not just for guests who are lodging. I see it as a tourist centre and that was what I was trying to achieve by encouraging people to come do show by supporting them with what we can” Chief Per has since moved on to manage a new hotel, Royal Vantage, located on Rotimi Amaechi drive, GRA. “Royal Vantage is a small hotel, it has 217 rooms. It is a good hotel and I am still working, I have not done it up to my satisfaction because I want it up to standard. It came into existence barely 8 weeks ago. Per Stefson hails from Denmark. He has been in hotel management about 45 years ago. He left his country in 1992, moving from one country to another, setting up and managing hotels. “I left my country in 1992 and I haven’t been back since. I have been to Czech Republic, Russia, Malta, etc and I have managed over 15 hotels,” he said. Why did he choose to come to Nigeria? “ I came to Nigeria in 2007. I was contacted to come and manage Hotel Presidential and that was what actually brought me here. I love everything about Nigerians. When my contract expired, I should have gone back but I decided to stay here” And again, there are few hotels that are up to standard in Nigeria, so this is what I want to try and achieve before I leave. I want to set up my own company here so that I can help people in setting up a good hotel. I have another hotel that I will be managing soon, it is about 86 rooms. On why he delved into hotel business, the bubbly man said, “I love people, I love hospitality. I am a very sociable person, and I think this is what I am born to do. There was a time I tried working in a bank, I had to pull out again to do my hotel business.”