She’s in Charge

Michaela Atiae, Staff Writer

Hotel du Cap Front View

It’s both a day, this March 8th, and a month, when we have a chance to celebrate the contributions of women in this world. So, this is our shot at Galavante to recognize the women trailblazers who are making their mark on travel. Whether it’s the hotel manager of the Hotel du Cap, the owners of the Palazzo Avino, or the mother-daughter duo who founded COMO Hotels, these women are responsible for the extraordinary experiences that enrich our lives. It’s no surprise either that these hotels are some of the top in the world. Here’s your new wish list for travel.

The Hotels: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

The Boss: Sonia Cheng, CEO

The Locations: Worldwide

Courtesy of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Sonia Cheng is CEO of the Rosewood empire, leading luxury travel by storm. Cheng is no stranger to entrepreneurship, watching her family manage multi-billion dollar enterprises in jewelry and real estate. By 2011 the family bought Rosewood Group for 229.5 million and hospitality competitors were skeptical.

But Cheng stayed focused, with a Harvard degree and real estate investing background, the young CEO had a secret arsenal. Familial knowledge and attention to detail make the luxurious Rosewood properties feel like home. Now with 48 hotels around the world and 38 properties in the works, Cheng is building for the younger generation. Previous skeptics take notes.

The Hotels: COMO Hotels & Resorts

The Bosses: Christina and Melissa Ong, Founder & Vice President

The Locations: Worldwide

Podere San Filippo Tuscany Farmhouse. Courtesy of COMO Hotels.

Let’s give credit where it’s due, with the mother-daughter duo of travel. Christina Ong Singapore founder of COMO Hotels and Vice President Melissa Ong, represent experimental luxury at its finest. The woman’s initials together make up the group’s name, if that’s not wholesome content, what is?

Christina has had her fair share of success founding Club 21 boutique with 400 stores in Asia. Together the duo also run the COMO Foundation for female equity across the world. Their portfolio consists of 18 hotels half dedicated to urban chic and the others an adventurous resort style. Some notable locations on our list are Turks and Caicos and Fiji. Let’s support women who support other women.

The Hotel: Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

The Boss: Sophie Volant, Hotel Manager

The Location: Antibes, France

Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc. Courtesy of Oetker Collection.

We’re here to celebrate women in charge and Sophie Volant deserves recognition. Volant is the first woman to have the position in 124 years at a top hotel in the world. She started her hospitality career as a caterer at 19 and worked her way to the top.

Owned by the Oetker Collection and family, Hotel du Cap is its claim to fame boasting a star-studded history. Picasso worked on their menu design, and F. Scott Fitzgerald immortalized the hotel in writing. If we’re talking modern day, Sophie Richie hosted her wedding in the elegant grand hotel. The 154-year-old Hotel du Cap is a once in a lifetime reservation.

The Hotel: Palazzo Avino

The Bosses: The Avino Sisters  – Mariella, Attilia and Mariavittoria, Owners

The Location: Ravello, Italy

Courtesy of Palazzo Avino.

A Legally Blonde dream, the “pink palace” is run by the three Avino sisters along the Amalfi Coast. Their father Giuseppe passed down the boutique hotel after buying it in the late 90’s. Eldest daughter Mariella is Managing Director, second in command is Attilia, Director of Sales, and Mariavittoria runs social media.

The ionic hotel is the product of confident women’s collective effort. Together they renovated the space, created a skincare and makeup line, and a luxury clothing store. Adopted and abandoned several times, the Renaissance building is centuries old. But life always seems to breathe its way back into the property. Revered Michelin star Rossellinis; and unbeatable views 1,150 feet above the sea make the chic boutique worth a stay.

The Hotels: Salamander Hotels 

The Boss: Sheila Johnson, CEO

The Location: The U.S.

Hotel Bennett, South Carolina. Courtesy of the Salamander Collection.

Sheila Johnson is a true boundary breaker. Former co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, and current stakeholder in professional Washington sports, Johnson has a habit of making history.

The same can be said of the Salamander collection’s origin story with women outnumbering men on the team. Johnson purchased 340 acres of farmland to help her daughter’s equestrian dreams come true. Named after the previous owner and French Resistance fighter “Salamander” for his ability to survive a walk through fire. America’s first Black female billionaire is putting a luxurious spin on Southern living with seven locations. So take a trip down south and try out award-winning spas, you won’t be disappointed.

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