2011 Relais & Châteaux’ annual reunion
Ambassador’s Residence, March 28, 2011
MM. les Présidents,
Dear Members of Relais and Chateaux,
It is both an honor and a pleasure to welcome you here to the Residence which, in a way, is the Relais & Chateaux of the French Embassy. At least I hope we would qualify, because I know you admission standards are very, very strict.
I presented my credentials to President Obama only one month ago but Sophie and I have spent several years in the U.S., in Washington and in New York, and we know what the label Relais & Châteaux means in this country too.
It is a privilege to welcome a distinguished member of the US Congress, Representative Russ Carnahan, who is a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus, and Judge Debra Carnahan.
I am very proud to receive the distinguished members of such a prominent global fellowship for their annual reunion and I would especially like to acknowledge M. Jaume Tapies, Président International des Relais & Châteaux, and Mr Patrick O’Connell, president of Relais & Châteaux North America and one of the world’s finest Chefs. I hope I will have the pleasure of enjoying your cuisine at The Inn at Little Washington very soon.
May I also recognize Mrs. Brenda Homick, Mme la Comtesse Constance Milstein and le Comte Jean-Christophe de la Haye Saint-Hilaire. I would also like to thank Mr. Franck-Xavier Arnold for his commitment to the organization of this reception.
It is my pleasure to host your gathering this evening because Relais & Châteaux is truly one of a kind. It is not just a brand or a luxury hotel
chain ; it is an institution for those who have a passion for travel.
It is an international success - and may I add, a success that started in France on a modest scale - whose fame is entirely built on your dedication to achieve excellence.
The alliance of outstanding properties with unique character, gourmet cuisine, a passion for art de vivre and a hint of French flair is the trademark of Relais and Chateaux across the globe, and you have always stood by these founding principles.
Achieving this kind of international success is no easy task and certainly no coincidence. It is a matter of passion and constant dedication for the noble business of hospitality.
Now, you’ve certainly come a long way since 1954 when Relais and Chateaux, then “Routes du Bonheur”, first appeared between Paris and Nice. You can now boast more than 500 members in 60 countries that represent a family of hoteliers and Grands Chefs who are committed to the highest standards of cuisine and the highest-quality service.
Relais et Châteaux really epitomizes “Art de vivre à la française” and it is my honor to have you here tonight. Thank you.