Actually, Ilka Karl’s story is only known to physicians. “When I was a kid, I watched the series Emergency Room, so I wanted to become a doctor …” That’s what you hear on the sterile floors of hospitals. But not in the lobby of hotels, is it?
Well, it was not Dr.House or Grey’s Anatomy which sparked the enthusiasm of the native of Bremen for the hospitality industry at a young age, but “Hotel”, a series from the 1980s with James Brolin. As one should say, television sometimes is good education for children.
Since the family’s decision to leave the far north and emigrate to Mallorca, can be considered a happy coincidence for the hotel career. She has been on the island since the age of ten, for more than 34 years. Although she could imagine living somewhere else, “but always thinking of coming back. Mallorca is my home.” Typical Mallorquin, though.
She graduated from Baleares International College, where she laid the basics for her language skills and subsequently studied tourism at the Felipe Moreno University of Applied Sciences. Then, step by step, she worked her way up from reception to hotel director, always following the advice of her biologist teacher: “Change the job if you are not happy!”
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Loving the job is generally considered a good prerequisite for a successful career. But is there another ingredient? “You have to go the extra mile,” she answers without hesitating for a second. And that’s exactly what she’s proving herself: her initiative takes Es Príncep to the Leading Hotels of the World Club. “It’s like a knighthood!”, she enthuses. At the moment, only around 375 hotels worldwide belong to the exclusive hotel alliance.
But even in the hotel industry, the extra mile for women is slightly longer than for men: “Yes, it is a man´s world, but you can see that there are more and more women in leadership positions.” But she has never had problems with sexism or similar harassment. You have to draw clear boundaries, be able to say stop. Thus a woman is quickly considered to be touchy, but sorry, that’s the way it is.” For her career, this attitude was certainly not detrimental.
Ilka Karl describes the style of Es Príncep as a luxury of simplicity or quiet elegance. In terms of architecture, restraint means clean lines. Luxury is for her in detail, can and should even be expressed in simple gestures. “You have to remember how the guest drinks his coffee.” After all, it is the exceptional service that is an actual differentiation to other hotels. That’s why attention is one of the most important features of a hotel manager.
This mentality has to be transferred to the whole team. “If an employee is dissatisfied, he cannot stand in front of the guest with a genuine smile.” Her door stands always open. “I communicate a lot and hold a meeting with the executives every day.” Even for her it is often difficult to find good staff and therefore she needs creativity. “We have hired the DHL supplier because he has always delivered the packages to us in such a friendly way.” Cordiality and empathy are the top setting criteria for her, as they cannot be trained, as opposed to technical know-how.
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So it is not out of question that she pays particular attention to the service during her own hotel visits, to the feeling that the employees convey, rather than to equipment and glamour. The special Mallorcan hospitality is the philosophy that she shares with the owners of the hotel. “The Mallorcans tend to forget everything, when guests come. The guest is treated royally. “
Since she has already fulfilled her intentions for 2018 with the inclusion in the Leading Hotels of the World, she is now looking forward to the opening of the new restaurant Bala Roja and the 800 m² roof terrace, of course with bar and pool. “The most beautiful setting Palma can offer right now!” The tables are laid for summer season.
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