Luca Finardi

Mandarin Oriental, Milan

via Andegari 9, Milano. Tel. +39 02 87318888

A way with words, a wilful jawbone, an old style elegance, strictly made in Italy. The scalp of Stanley Tucci. Colleague is the crucial word in the dictionary of Luca Finardi, born in 1972, a word he uses when addressing the 230 men and women at the Mandarin Oriental in Milan, where he’s been the general manager for almost four years now (that is to say since they opened).

A group of people strictly divided into roles and ranks, of course. After all, this must be the case in a gigantic structure with 104 rooms and suites, on top of a turnover of x million euros. But the rule is that regardless the rank, there’s no looking down or up: «Each colleague must be supported, respected, helped, motivated. This is the only way to make them deeply feel involved in the cause». Finardi’s strategy has three pillars: «In order to succeed in life we must do what we like, this is the premise that allows us to achieve our goals. Then we need lots of committment, a strong connection to the mission we’re given, as if it were a question of life and death for ourselves. The third element is luck», the imponderable.

It seems he has made use of these three elements by the looks of the career of this manager born in Padua but raised in Florence. His first experience in hospitality was in Liguria, at his grandmother’s hotel in Sestri Levante (Genoa) where he spent the summer holidays. «My job? I entertained clients», says Luca Finardi who even as a kid was showing ease as a speaker.

Those were the years when hotels acquired the image of a place for happiness, so much so he decided to turn this into a job. A vision that didn’t change when, during catering school, he had to take the night shift as a night concierge. Step by step, the climb to the top of the great maisons of luxury: slowly but without stumbling. 

He took a long leap in 2010 when he became the general and area manager for Belmond at Grand Hotel Timeo and Villa Sant’Andrea in Taormina. His mission was perhaps not impossible, but surely complicated: relaunching a destination that was off the tourist routes. It took him four years and two months to reach the goal and land at the Mandarin: «The selection lasted one year. Who would have thought – I tried almost as a joke».

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by

Sonia Gioia

A journalist by profession, curious by vocation, she applies her attitude to investigative reports and food features. She's author for Repubblica, Gambero Rosso, Dispensa​