Amazing Grace - BHN interview: Grace Leo

I had the great fortune to listen to Grace speak at a recent hotel convention I attended, and she is the vision of pure professionalism.

Combining the best of East and West, hotelier Grace Leo has returned to London to embark on her most ambitious project yet, she tells my good friend Elizabeth Mistry.

Grace Leo likes a challenge. As a hospitality industry veteran or "hotel maker" of more than 30 years, she thrives on creating or repositioning beautiful spaces such as The Lancaster and the Hotel Montelambert in Paris, London's Cadogan, New York's One UN and Mustique's Cotton House, where she was general manager for 13 years.

After studying hospitality at Cornell (preceded by an economics degree at Stanford) Leo began her career working for major brands including IHG and Warwick International. No stranger to hard work (her father owned the Astor hotel in Hong Kong) she took up every opportunity, gathering experience in asset management, F&B and design along the way.

Eventually she started her own consultancy, working on projects in London, Bali, Paris, the US and Portugal, while bringing up her daughter.

Last year though, she was tapped to head up Reignwood's hotel and hospitality development division, and for the foreseeable future, she is committed to London, "the capital of the world right now", and is rolling up her sleeves as work continues apace on her latest project - converting the landmark former Port of London Authority building into the capital's third Four Seasons hotel. Let’s watch this space as it looks like it is going to be the new jewel in the crown for London’s Hotel landscape.