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These (ex-)athletes running after French hospitality

Team spirit, competition, a taste for prestige... Do you need to be an athlete to make a difference in French upscale hospitality? In any case, there are numerous examples of people taking off their trainers and putting on a tie, or sporting them together.

The compatibility of sports and hospitality is not limited to resort swimming pools. Specifically, the luxury sector is driven by a number of businessmen and women linked closely or remotely to sports, as well as by numerous athletes who play use the property as some sort of 'second act' during their sports career or when the time has come to retire.

Athletes that have been successful in hospitality generally come from various disciplines: rugby, Formula 1, but also horseback riding and sailing. For instance, the French rugby star Serge Blanco, after quitting his career in sports, started a brilliant business dabbling in various fields such as fashion, distribution and even video games. He is currently the happy owner of a three-star property located on Hendaye Bay, "Ibaia Serge Blanco".

In less widely advertised, less professionalized, sports some athletes split their time between hospitality and sports competitions. This is notably the case of the show jumping champion Nicolo Van der Westhuizen, who regularly particpates in CSO competitions such as the Nîmes-Assas Jump or the Pachka Montpellier AM Pro and also manages a magnificent 17-room property dating back to the 17th century: Château de Taulane.

Across seas as well as in business, Dona Bertarelli knows how to steer her ship. The owner of the beautiful Five Seas Hotel, located in Cannes, is also an experienced navigator. After breaking Franck Camas' record in 2013 during the America's Cup, Dona became the fastest navigator during the Jules Verne Trophy in 2015.

Ties between sports and hospitality worlds are not limited to current and retired champions. Among the numerous enthusiasts, one can name Gilbert Giorgi, football fan and owner of various properties in Lyon: he regularly attends games at the Stade des Lumières, in Lyon, along with Jean-Michel Aulas, shareholder and administrator at the Olympique Lyonnais football club.

This report is taken from our exclusive report covering France's upscale & luxury hotel owners. To learn more, you may also explore the comprehensive list of upscale & luxury hotel owners (covering more than 1,000 upscale & luxury hotels in France).

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