Introducing the Prince
“Guest feelings are fact.” It’s a statement that takes you back the first time you hear it. An ear-worm, certainly, but when Prince A. Sanders says it, you know it’s more than a catchy slogan. Prince is the Managing Director of the Park Lane Hotel in New York. A former ballet dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, he isn’t…well, what you would expect from hotel hospitality —and he plans on keeping it that way. Prince more or less fell into a career in hospitality. After an injury landed him in the role of a decommissioned dancer in New York City, he had to figure out what he was going to do with his life.
“Here I am,” he says, “a person in their 20s with no resume and no reason why people should want to hire me.” But a challenge isn’t something Prince A. Sanders has ever really shied away from, so he took a job in retail while he was waiting for his body to heal. But true talent can only masquerade in mediocrity for so long before its found out, and pretty soon Prince was approached by a friend of a friend – the President of W Brands – for a position he never considered.
“Guest feelings are fact.” – Prince A. Sanders
All the World’s A Stage
What Prince A. Sanders is most passionate about is connecting with people. And after accepting the unforeseen offer as Front Office Manager at the W Hotel, he quickly found himself a leader amongst many, directing a 63-person staff, including ten managers and one assistant director. It was in this pivotal time that Prince began to hone his skill as a communicator. Here, he learned to reclaim and embody that performer’s spirit just as he did on stage. For Prince, what really matters is making a connection with the guests. “It’s all about tapping into someone’s experience and making them feel special. It’s about a great performance – a smile, a helping hand, and a great first impression – bring that energy every day to everyone.”
After working just about every position the Hotel has to offer, Prince became a trainer for W Hotels, and later was recruited to the opening task force team for four new W Hotels opening across the country. After seven years at W, Prince A. Sanders was recruited to The Ritz Carlton as the Front of House Manager where he managed the daily operations for the prestigious Hotel.
Because of his success and undeniable charm, Prince was asked to help create training manuals for the Edition Hotel brand, Marriott’s new lifestyle brand in partnership with Ian Schrager. After working on the conception of the brand, Prince opened the first three properties in Hawaii, Istanbul, and London. From there, Prince moved into the role of Hotel Manager at Trump International Hotel & Tower, which would eventually lead him to a position as the GM, earning him the title of “Prince of the City” in a recent article by Forbes.
At The Ritz, Prince took his training to the next level. In less than a year with the Hotel, he was asked to undergo training to be certified as a speaker with The Ritz Carlton Leadership Center, of which he came out on top at the end of the week and immediately went into training staff on property and in non-hospitality industries such as finance, and medical with a special focus on the East Coast. During his first year, Prince was awarded the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Leader of the Quarter Award, and in 2010 he was awarded the Leader of the Year Award.
In his current role as managing director at the Park Lane Hotel, Prince hopes to continue his passion for hospitality excellence. In 2020, the team at Park Lane Hotel will embark on a multi-million dollar renovation of all guest rooms and public areas. Prince and his entire team hope to reinstate the hotel as one of the most unique and iconic properties in NYC.
It’s enough— the success story of former dancer turned business success story. It’s a tale you’d expect to find in New York City, where dreams are broken and made as often as the sun sets. But Prince A. Sanders, though thrilled with his accomplishments, wasn’t quite satisfied with the legacy he would leave behind. He wanted to create something that would last for generations to come. When Prince was a dancer, he had mere minutes to create a meaningful moment and, now as a General Manager in hospitality, he may have only a few short days with the guests.
As a result of these ponderings, Prince began to express his feelings through writing. Passionate about shaping young lives, he decided to create a book based on his childhood experiences. Through this, The Extraordinarily Ordinary Life of Prince was born. With this series, his mission is to educate kids on important life lessons through positive and uplifting messages loosely based on his childhood adventures with his friends and family. His first book, “Which Fork’s First?” tells the story of his first night at a fancy dinner with his parents and it helps teach children about table manners and dinner-table etiquette.
“It feels good to create something that could exist forever.” – Prince A. Sanders
“It feels so good to create something that can be around for years to come; for kids to learn from and enjoy—to create something that brings joy.”
Prince is the kind of guy that warrants love and joy everywhere he goes.
But even with all of the accolades, press, and noise surrounding his groundbreaking work in hospitality, not even the man himself knows how much he has affected the people around him for the better.
Prince A. Sanders serves as the Chair for American Ballet Theater’s Young Patron’s Council. Here, he oversees an Executive Committee of five people and a larger committee of 200. Dance, it seems, won’t leave Prince that easily, and he’s happy to keep a foot in a world that, though it may seem like a lifetime ago, is just as beautiful as it once was — if not even more so.