With more than 30 years of experience as an international hotelier, Hans van der Reijden is recognized around the world as a visionary leader and trusted expert.
A native of Holland, Hans began his hospitality career at a young age in a 2-Star Michelin restaurant, followed by stints in Antwerp, Belgium and on board the ships of the Holland America Line before joining The Ritz-Carlton. He excelled within the organization, opening numerous hotels around the world and developing a close relationship with company founder and legendary hotelier Horst Schulze. During his time with The Ritz-Carlton, Hans saw first-hand the impact of an organization focused not just on delivering exceptional service for guests, but also on creating a rich employee-focused company culture.
When Schulze founded Capella Hotel Group (CHG) in 2003, he called upon Hans to help bring his vision to life. As a partner at Capella, Hans worked alongside Schulze to take the legendary model of service and culture created at Ritz-Carlton one step further, catering to the emerging ultra-luxury guest seeking a highly individualized hotel experience. This new role brought Hans to Auburn, AL to oversee operations and educational initiatives at The Hotel at Auburn University as well as the partnership between CHG and Auburn University’s Hospitality Management Program. Auburn University asked Hans to lead the development of a world-class, first of its kind, center for hospitality education with a strong commercial component. The process would take more than a decade to come to fruition, but it played a large part in Hans’ decision to stay in Auburn when CHG was sold in 2017.
Following the sale of Capella Hotel Group, Hans decided to pursue a longtime dream: launching his own hospitality management company. He established Ithaka Hospitality Partners (IHP) in 2018 and has served as the company’s Founder & CEO since its inception. Instead of following the playbook of global hotel management companies, Hans chose to study and cater to the younger generations of travelers who look for unique experiences rather than a brand name. This approach allows IHP to bring each concept to life in a completely unique way, unbound by brand standards. IHP currently has nine hotels and three food halls in development in diverse markets including Sonoma, California; Portland, Maine; Exuma, Bahamas; and Bordeaux, France.
In August 2022, Hans and IHP, along with their academic counterparts, celebrated the grand opening of the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, the culmination of more than ten years of work to bring a world-class facility for Auburn University’s Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management to life. IHP serves as the commercial partner for the 155,000 square foot, 127 milion dollar facility, managing operations and academic integrations at The Laurel Hotel & Spa, 1856 – Culinary Residence restaurant, and Hey Day Market food hall.
Hans’ personal dedication to exceptional hospitality and unwavering commitment to achieving excellence impacts all aspects of IHP. Hans embodies servant leadership, ensuring everyone around him – from IHP team members, to students, owners, developers, and guests – feel comfortable, cared for, and valued. His boundless energy and enthusiasm have raised the bar for the hospitality industry in Auburn and beyond, and the impact of his passion for developing the next generation of hospitality leaders will be felt for generations to come.