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Sjefke Jansen: A Passion for Service

Published: March 20, 2014 (Issue # 1802)



  • Sjefke Jansen, the new general manager of Grand Hotel Europe, hopes to attract more visitors from his native Germany.
    Photo: For SPT

Speaking about his first impressions of Russia, Sjefke Jansen, the newly-appointed General Manager of Grand Hotel Europe, immediately mentions the cold and confesses that he remained indoors whenever temperatures dropped below minus 10 degrees Celsius. This is understandable considering that Jansen has just arrived from Mauritius, where he spent the last eight years.

Jansen currently calls the hotel home but looks forward to relocating once his family arrives. He chuckled when imagining his three cats wandering through the hotel, but turned serious when saying that children need an ordinary life away from the hotel. A native of Germany, he plans on trying to attract more German guests while maintaining the special hotel spirit that the Grand Hotel Europe is famous for. Jansen sat down with The St. Petersburg Times in the hotel’s Mezzanine Cafe and discussed all this and more as the sun made an early, and welcome, appearance.

Related: Ilya Shtrom - Building Brand Loyalty

Q: Like many General Managers you built your career from the ground up, starting as a trainee cook and then gradually working your way to the top. Is this a good way to build a career in the hospitality sector?

A: There are other options. You can either start at a hotel management school, preferably in Switzerland or in the U.S., or you take a practical approach by starting as a cook or training in reception. I chose training as a cook, because I liked cooking, and still do. I think it’s good to have a background that is based more in practicalities than study. In this way you have a better feel for what’s going on. You learn how to adapt to certain hotel operational systems.

Q: Why did you decide to go into the hospitality sector in the first place?

A: It was not to become rich, because you won’t become rich in this industry. Having the possibility to combine work with travel to different countries and cultures is amazing, and was always a driving factor for me. I have worked in so many different countries, including South Africa, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the Maldives, Mauritius and Singapore.

Related: Spartak Sobolev - Raising Risk Awareness

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Oct. 30


Dental-Expo St. Petersburg 2014 concludes today at Lenexpo. Welcoming specialists from throughout the federation, the forum is an opportunity for dentists to share tricks of the trade and peruse the most recent innovations in technology and equipment, with over 100 companies hocking their wares at the event.



Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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