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Top hotelier Eric Toren is located in one of the chicest hotels in the Netherlands, Hotel TwentySeven, located in the heart of Amsterdam on Dam Square. He welcomes royals from the Middle East, world stars and the nouveau riche from Russia, but his doors are also open to local Amsterdammers and Dutch people... But who opened the doors for Eric himself: who was his wheelbarrow? Text: Mical Joseph
Image: Hotel TwentySeven

What was your very first job?

“When I was 8 years old, I was working in the dishwashing kitchen of my parents' hotel. I first wanted to be a carpenter, until I understood that the carpenter was managed by my father. After this I wanted to become a hotelier. I left school at the age of 15 and already had the goal of taking over my father's hotel later. From that moment on, I taught myself that I could work in any field hospitality had to master to become the best hotelier. No sooner said than done: from chef to bartender to technical service and... house keeping to learn the tricks of the trade to ultimately become owner-director.”

How did you end up in your current job?

“Because I grew up in an entrepreneurial family with a father who was a hotelier, I got into the hotel industry through Hotel De Toren. As a young boy I also drew my own rooms, how I thought it was perfect. A few years ago, when I sold Hotel De Toren, I simply wanted to realize the dream hotel for my guests. Eating, drinking and sleeping at the highest level and everything had to be possible. That eventually happened Hotel Twenty Seven. "

Who was your wheelbarrow in that?

“The first wheelbarrow was the General Manager of my parents' hotel. He has been retired for twenty years, but he still receives a Christmas package personally from me every year. This is out of appreciation for the training in my earlier years. If I didn't clean one knife properly, he woke me up at 6.00am on a Sunday morning. The manager threw all the cutlery back into the water and I had to wash everything again. A tough school, but through it I learned discipline and everything I did was worth a big ten.

In my later years the guest has become my wheelbarrow. Over the past 26 years, as a director, I have always paid attention to what the customer likes and does not like. I do this by listening and observing.”

What is your greatest passion in your profession?

“My greatest passion is that the guest has had an experience that is even better than expectations. In short: creating the 'wow effect'. The hotel has a luxurious cocktail bar, a star restaurant and a... top notch hotel. But this dream and passion also has a downside…”

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

“If I could change something, I would have finished my education as a teenager, because that piece of paper is often needed nowadays. This is what I pass on to my children: the world used to be a bit simpler and it was easier to get away with certain things. Later in life I took various courses, but I want to say that a streamlined training pattern means so much more.”

Have you been a wheelbarrow for someone?

“I have been a wheelbarrow for many people. Through many years of good reviews and awards, I have taught my staff that the guest experience is the most important. That's why we do it and that's how we reach the top together.”