A BUSINESSMAN who has moulded a successful career in the hospitality industry has made his Reading debut.
Paul Watson, 30, has just started his role as new general manager at Malmaison Reading, in Station Road, and is already keen to get stuck in and further enhance the hotel's luxury reputation. The Chronicle caught up with Paul to see how things were progressing, four weeks into the job.
He said: "The Malmaison brand is already fantastic and very strong - it's got a superior service, across every department.
"It is not just a place to stay, it's the way you choose to live and that's really true in terms of what we want to deliver.
"I'm only a few weeks in, however I'm committed to offering a really unique experience and will be really focusing on our food and beverage offering."
Paul began his career in Leicestershire more than five years ago, as a food and beverages manager, before taking a job with Thistle Hotels at the young age of 27 - hopping from St Albans to Brighton as the chain's operations manager, then working in Bristol, Liverpool then Heathrow as general manager.
He said: "It's always interesting when you start a new role so I suppose the challenge for me is getting to know the Malmaison brand as a whole and continuing to excite and think up new ideas to ensure that it sticks out.
"One of the biggest challenges is that we have this incredible location next to the station and I'm not sure that many people know about the hotel locally.
"We want to start driving and building these personal relationships with local people, in and around Reading, while offering a genuine, hospitable service."
In his new Caversham home, far removed from the noisy flight path under which he used to live, Paul also faces the challenges associated with moving to a new area. He said: "Due to my strong corporate background, I'm looking forward to living and working in Reading - a really strong business hub - as well as becoming a member of the community.
"My next job once I've settled in is to find a squash club!"
To celebrate his new role, Paul has organised an offer for diners who, when spending �75 on a meal and drinks, can get an overnight stay for just �25. "The point being," he added, "Come for dinner and don't pay for a taxi!"
The offer runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the end of August - to make a reservation, call 0118 956 2300.