AUSTIN, TEXAS – Hotel Granduca Austin, a luxury property in the city’s West Lake Hills area, has announced three recent appointments to its executive team: Russ Lear as the new general manager, Stephan Siegfried as director of food and beverage and Collin Kaskel as executive chef. The new leadership team will oversee the 194-room property’s upcoming renovation and upgrades following its 2020 acquisition by California-based Pacific Hospitality Group (PHG). Hotel Granduca Austin is part of PHG’s Meritage Collection portfolio, which includes luxury and lifestyle properties in California, Hawaii and Texas.
Each with exceptional experience in the hospitality industry, the trio was selected to create a luxurious Hill Country lodging experience featuring world-class dining for locals and travelers alike. Driving the team’s efforts are their commitments to sustainability, community partnerships and compassionate service.
Lear is an industry veteran with more than two decades of experience in hospitality. An expert in hotel operations and fostering a service-centered staff culture, he will be responsible for all aspects of property management with a focus on positioning Hotel Granduca Austin as a luxury destination with a must-experience dining venue.
“Hotel Granduca Austin is a stunning property with luxurious amenities and some of the best views in the city. I am grateful to be working alongside our talented team to transform the hotel into a highly coveted destination for leisure and business travelers, and to share the stellar food and beverage program with the local community and visitors from afar,” Lear said.
Outstanding culinary experiences are central to the Meritage Collection brand, and new hires Siegfried and Kaskel will focus on designing an innovative and flavorful new food and beverage lineup. The duo’s community-focused approach to dining has spurred local partnerships with distilleries Milam & Greene Whiskey out of Blanco, Texas and Treaty Oak in Dripping Springs, Texas. Offerings from both distilleries will be highlighted in Hotel Granduca Austin’s new bourbon program. The hotel also collaborates with Austin’s Thirsty Planet brewing company and Native Roots Farm, where garnishes and microgreens are grown ad hoc for the hotel. With engaging culinary events, innovative recipes, curated drink menus and thoughtful service, Hotel Granduca Austin’s culinary offerings are a well-suited addition to Austin’s elite dining scene.
Born in Switzerland and fluent in German, English and French, Siegfried has worked around the world managing both back and front of house food and beverage operations. In his more than twenty years working in hospitality, he has served in a variety of roles from chef to director of high-performing teams.
“My focus is to create an unforgettable guest dining experience inspired by the grandeur of the hotel. Like the property’s Italian-inspired architecture, Visconti Ristorante’s menu items will feature traditional Italian elements, but with a Texas twist.” Siegfried said. “We hope to bring the Italian culture’s emphasis on family and the sharing of food to Austin.”
New executive chef Kaskel’s resume credits include time at Fairmont Dallas, Grand Hyatt Dallas-Fort Worth, The Fairmont Dubai and Austin standouts Caroline and Upstairs at Caroline’s. He began his established career by working his way up from dishwasher at his mother’s catering business to prep cook and beyond. Now an industry star, guests can expect to find his signature flavors - smokey, pickled and spicy - and local sourcing of ingredients woven throughout property menus. Chef Kaskel plans to revamp the hotel’s on-site restaurant, Visconti Ristorante, and culinary program into a crave-worthy experience in the city.
“Guests can look forward to Italian classics with Texas accents such as homemade pastas, short rib osso buco, elaborate vegetarian dishes, limoncello margaritas and more unique menu items,” Kaskel said.