Professional hotelier with a zest for life
Posted Thursday, July 12 2012 at 14:23
KARL HALA, Regional General Manager Africa, Intercontinental Hotels Group
Graduated from Mogul Hotel School in Vienna Austria.
Work experience: Worked with IHG in Poland, Hungary, Jamaica, Serbia, Egypt, Zambia, Jordan, Germany and Austria.
It takes a certain level of chutzpah to wear a purple tie, exactly what you would expect of Karl. He’s a free spirit and every bit gung-ho!
Well, he and his staff have just been having a champagne breakfast to celebrate after the Hotel InterContinental won the Best Accommodation prize at the recent Kenya Tourism Awards.
So yes, the ‘loud’ tie reflects the man and his staff’s mood.
Karl, an Austrian, has worked with InterContinental Group of hotels for 30 years.
“I recently bought these cool speakers in the plane,” he says, holding up small fancy Lifetrons speakers. “Let’s listen to some music through this interview, shall we?”
He then plugs them into his iPad 1 and soon “Rocking round the world” by English rock band, Status Quo, fills the room.
“Cool, eh?” he asks as he smiles broadly. Karl is funny, energetic and possesses an overpowering witticism. Through the course of the interview he drinks two cups of espresso.
A purple tie, are you sending someone a message?
(Laughs) I’ve always been big on fashion. In my bachelor days, I had my own cool style of jeans and leather boots and the works, quite hip.
Unfortunately it didn’t impress many of my girlfriends, forced me to focus on short relationships (Laughs). But my wife is a fashion designer, so she informs a lot of my fashion sense.
Your wife is Ugandan. Where did you guys meet?
Here in Nairobi, at her birthday party. She still considers me her birthday gift after 22 years of marriage! (Laughs).
Twenty-two years! I’m surprised you are still standing strong!
Of course and still standing strong everywhere! (Winks).