Montenotte Hotel GM Frits Potgieter Talks Innovations And Additions

By Emily Hourican
Montenotte Hotel GM Frits Potgieter Talks Innovations And Additions

It’s been a busy few years for the Montenotte Hotel in Cork, with a variety of innovations and additions to the hotel. Frits Potgieter, general manager, talks to Hospitality Ireland.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Hospitality Ireland Magazine, in July of 2022.

Tell us about your background and career so far?

My career story began in South Africa, where I studied and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, majoring in Industrial Psychology and a further Honours Degree in Strategic Business Management. These studies gave me an excellent footing and interest in a career in business, management and working with people. When I finished my degree, I decided to go travelling and ended up in Hong Kong working behind a bar and simply loved the experience - the interaction and dynamic nature of looking after customers really appealed to me. I never went back to South Africa and instead moved to London, to begin my career in hospitality in 1999, which is where I first became passionate about working within the luxury hotel sector. My first position was at the Brands Hatch Thistle Hotel before I moved to Radisson Edwardian Hotels and then onto Red Carnation Hotels where I became Deputy General Manager of The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel in 2005. I was then later appointed as Deputy General Manager at Red Carnation’s London flagship 5-star property, The Milestone Hotel & Apartments in 2007. I joined The Doyle Collection in 2012 as Hotel Manager of The Marylebone Hotel and later moved to The Kensington Hotel as General Manager. We (myself and my Irish partner) then decided to move to Ireland where I took on the role as General Manager at The Imperial Hotel in Cork for 3 years. I loved Cork but wanted to experience Killarney and subsequently moved to the 5 star Muckross Park Hotel and Spa in Killarney as GM in 2019. The Montenotte Hotel had always been on my radar though, in particular as a very unique property on a massive upward trajectory. I was delighted when the opportunity presented itself to join this incredible hotel at the end of January 2022.

Describe the Montenotte hotel, in particular the recent changes/ additions?

The Montenotte Hotel is a very special property, it is a vibrant, family-owned, design-led, destination hotel in Cork with a uniquely different style and ambience, that offers guests an experience like no other. Originally built within the former 18th Century residence of a Merchant Prince and nestled in stunning surroundings it has amazing and unrivalled views of Cork city and harbour like no other hotel in the City. To date, our owners have invested significantly in the property and our people, which epitomises our ethos of delivering truly exceptional experiences. One of our most recent additions is the newly launched The Glasshouse Rooftop Cocktail Bar – a stylish, cosmopolitan rooftop cocktail bar with a vibrant design, eclectic interiors and amazing terrace views over Cork Harbour and City.

What is unique about the Montenotte hotel?

The essence of The Montenotte Hotel’s uniqueness is that it is so much more than the sum of its parts. It offers guests the best of all worlds and endless possibilities - with unrivalled views over Cork City, stunning design-led interiors, a cosmopolitan bar and brasserie, an eclectic rooftop cocktail bar that could take you to London or New York, a tranquillity personified, award-winning spa, carefully curated rediscovered Victorian gardens and grounds, and a location that is literally a stone’s throw away from the city ….all of these elements combine effortlessly to create a true urban haven.


The Montenotte Hotel - Cameo Cinema 2022

Why is now a good time to make changes to the hotel experience?

Quite simply, to be a unique proposition in the luxury hotel space you have to continually evolve and constantly surprise existing and new customers with innovative and carefully curated new experiences. To attract guests and to ensure return visits, it is important to create experiences that deeply engage with their sense of discovery and wonder. These days, guests expect the best and that is what we aim to deliver.

What do you hope this will bring to the Irish market that is not already in place?

The Montenotte Hotel aims to be positioned as the leading independent ‘Urban Resort Hotel’ in Ireland. There are not many hotels that can deliver the same proposition of a 360-degree guest experience, minutes away from a bustling city. The Montenotte experience wraps you up from the moment you arrive, delivering a multitude of options and holistic experiences that mean you don’t even have to leave the hotel if you so wish.


How has the reception been to the work done so far?

Immensely positive, we have had amazing feedback from both our local and international guests which is incredibly rewarding and very much inspires us to continue on our journey to be the leading, independent Urban Resort Hotel in Ireland! Where are the majority of your guests from? Most recently domestic of course, due to the pandemic, but we are now seeing our international guests returning in increasing numbers from the UK and United States.

What are the major challenges to the business at the moment?

The main challenge across the sector is the immense scale of the labour crisis in Ireland. With over 40,000 unfilled roles in hospitality after the pandemic, attracting talent to our amazing industry will be without a doubt the biggest challenge we will continue to face. However, it also presents an opportunity for us as hospitality leaders to take the reigns and nurture an employee-focused, career development opportunities and culture within our business. This is something we are very passionate about at The Montenotte Hotel. We encourage our team to enhance and develop their careers. We hope to encourage others to consider hospitality as a career choice that is meaningful, rewarding and self-actualising.

What are the main opportunities?

The real opportunity lies in the creation of a unique proposition to the market, delivering an experience that is genuinely different and something that customers simply haven’t seen before. This is what inspires me and our team each day.


Do you think the pandemic has changed what we look for in hospitality?

Absolutely, the pandemic in my opinion has re-ignited our desire to seek out new, uniquely memorable experiences, after missing so many moments for so long. It has also brought forth a new appreciation of nature, tranquillity, and the importance of “me time”.

What is the core of the Montenotte experience?

People, Culture and Design – we are driven to deliver exceptional guest and employee experiences through a designfocused, customer-centric service ethos and by driving a strong people development and culture strategy at the core of our business.

Any other plans on the horizon, for the next year or so?

Oh yes………we will be launching a Woodland Suite Experience in Summer 2023 that is totally unique to Ireland, an immensely ambitious development which will include the addition of 23 individual designed, luxury woodland suite hideaways. They will be the very essence of luxury and tranquillity, a true urban escape, with stunning concept design, jaw-dropping views and a “Woodland Experience” like no other. They will be a mixture of woodland Octagonal Nests, suspended 25 FT in the air and built into the treescape and Scandinavian inspired Cantilevered Suites with stunning river view balconies. A truly unique development that will add a totally new experience to our Urban Resort Hotel. One to watch and add to the travel bucket list next year no doubt!


Number of bedrooms: 107 bedrooms and 26 apartments


Number of staff: 140

Dining options: (Number of restaurants, number of covers in each): Restaurant – Panarama Bistro - 156 Covers. Bars – Panorama and The Glasshouse (70 covers)

Read More: Hospitality Ireland Summer 2022: Read The Latest Issue Online!