Peter Pottinga, Former General Manager, InterContinental Budapest

  • 28 Nov 2019 2:35 PM
Peter Pottinga, Former General Manager, InterContinental Budapest
With over 20 years of experience in the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) across many countries and numerous departments, Mr. Pottinga is the ideal new leader of the iconic property in the heart of the Hungarian capital.

Mr. Pottinga has held senior manager and General Manager positions from the United States, through Europe to China, and he and his family have spent over three years in neighboring Bratislava.

The InterContinental Budapest has been open for almost 40 years. The hotel has 402 rooms and the largest naturally lit conference room in the city, as well as additional breakout rooms located on the same floor.

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
I was looking for the opportunity to return to Europe after 6 years in China (in Shenzhen and Hong Kong to be precise). I’d already spent some time in this region, in Bratislava, and knew of this hotel, and loved it. So actually six or seven years ago my wife and I discussed to go to Budapest if the opportunity arose, therefore when this chance came up I grabbed it with both hands, and arrived on August 5th, and started this job on the 7th of August.

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
Well I was born in Vietnam, and travelled around the world as a child and with my career. My childhood experience lead me to the hospitality industry. After graduation I started my career in the United States, where I spent five years before moving to back to Europe, to the UK, where I spent seven years.

Next I moved to Edinburg in Scotland, and after that went to work in Bratislava for three years, which I also absolutely loved, it’s a great place to live - and that’s when I fell in love with this part of the world. Not just Bratislava, but Vienna, and Budapest, it’s so easy to cross from country to country.

After that I wanted a challenge and new experiences, hence I spent six years in China. Different ways of working there of course, and after six years we arrived at the next stage in life, and decided to go back to Europe. Although I’m a Dutch national, when we said ’let’s go home’ Europe and Budapest felt like home for us, as much home as anywhere else we have been in the world.

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
The size of Budapest. I haven’t had the pleasure of travelling around too much yet, but on paper it is smaller than Hong Kong, but actually feels much bigger. I like the way Budapest is spread out, a really nice wide open centre.

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do? 
Come stay at my hotel! ;) I honestly think they should explore on foot as much as possible - put their walking shoes on at my hotel as a base, go across the bridge, up to the Castle, take a good tour book or an online guide or just go and wonder around. Next day explore the Pest side, finding their own way. It is not only good for the health, but it helps you really appreciate the city.

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
Paprikás chicken.

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Dairy products - milk, cheese and yoghurt. I’m blessed that my kids love cheese too, and dairy in general.

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?
Köszönöm – it is the only one I know so far.

8. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
Politics – I’d love to be involved in governing a country and making a difference, setting new policies.

9. What's a job you would definitely never want?
There are lots I would never want!

10. Where did you spend your last vacation?
It was in Hong Kong, I took two weeks off before we came to Hungary. We really enjoyed it, without any work pressures – as I didn’t have to keep my mobile on or answer any daily work emails.

11. Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
I hope to spend it in the UK, with my son, to enjoy London and watch a premier league game.

12. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?

13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
Queen, their greatest hits was the first proper album I got, with the history of the band on the back, it was a proper vinyl. Watched the Queen movie last year, and viewed as a celebration of great music it’s really good.

14. Red wine or white?
For me beer, or whisky.

15. Book or movie?
Both. I love to read, and like to watch films too.

16. Morning person or night person?
Night person.

17. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
The environment – in the sense that if we do not have a world, or if we don’t take care of it, then there would be no other social issues.

18. Buda or Pest side?

19. What would you say is your personal motto?
I’m an optimist, so whatever happens I take the ’glass is always half full’ approach.

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