Simon van Kempen… married to (Real Housewife of New York) Alex McCord
Simon van Kempen DOB: March 16, 1964 Brisbane, AU
Height: 6′ 3″ (1.91 m)
|Alex McCord||(May 28, 2000 – present) 2 children|
Father of Francois and Johan van Kempen, who were both named after their paternal Grandfather; Francois Johan Walter van Kempen.
He was the General Manager of the Hotel Chandler in New York City, New York from prior to its opening in September 2001 until August 2010, when he left to return to Hotel Consulting specializing in Social Media.
Where Are They Now:
Residing in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, New York
Simon on the Hotel Industry (from his website):
In early 1984 intending to study law I started working two nights a week as a night bellman in what was then billed as Brisbane’s ‘first truly international 5 star hotel’ to help pay my way through college. It was an industry that pulled me in and one that going on 25 years later still does. In that time I’ve worked my way through management and director’s roles and been employed in hotels in Australia, the UK, France and the USA as well as traveled to consult in another 6 countries around the world. I was on a short consulting trip to NYC when Alex & I met and ten years later I’m still here and couldn’t be happier.
Since season 1 started airing I’ve received many emails from students considering embarking on a similar career path and I can say that it’s an industry that through hard work, a commitment to guest service and the ability to continually juggle different demands can be tremendously rewarding. One of the best things I learned through my own experience is that you can only learn so much in a college environment and there really is no substitute for on the job learning. In Australia with Sheraton I worked as a bellman, Front Desk Agent and Cashier, in London also with Sheraton as a Reservations Agent, Front Desk Agent and then as an Assistant (Duty) Manager. Jumping across to Paris for my Food & Beverage training followed where I worked everything from washing pots to serving brilliant a-la-carte meals to the most discerning diners. Returning to London, Front Office Management roles ensued and then just after the 1st Gulf War I completely changed career paths when I moved to the Ritz Hotel in an accounting role. Formal accounting studies at night school followed and then I found myself moving quickly through the hotel accountant ranks to become Financial Controller at the Chesterfield Mayfair and then with the owners we rapidly embarked acquiring similar properties; building a small group of Boutique hotels under the Red Carnation banner where I served as their Finance Director. Returning to Australia after a 13 years absence
Simon on Men’s fashion
Prior to meeting Alex almost 10 years ago I had always taken great pride in my business attire. Way back in 1980 I had taken a trip to Sydney from Brisbane, where I was then living, and bought my first dark blue pin stripe suit. The climate in Australia (and more particularly cities in the north), both in the weather systems and the corporate culture doesn’t lend itself to the wearing of traditional Saville Row or Italian style suits. So I rejoiced when around 1986 I moved to London, given that the sartorial elegance on offer was at that time much greater than that offered in Australia. In addition to buying many, many more suits, I was able to start building a huge collection of silk ties, silk handkerchiefs (pocket squares) as well as an enormous array of cuff links. Certainly there’s no doubt that as the years progressed, so did the size of my wallet allowing me to continually improve the quality of what I could purchase.
Many people find it wasteful to spend several thousand dollars on a suit however I can say from experience that a well made suit, preferably tailored to one’s own body, or at the very least, significantly altered to fit properly can last for years if it’s looked after. The quality of the fabric is paramount however the cut is also.
One thing I have learned over the years is to never throw away a tie or a suit unless it has worn out as while I still have many ties that are 10 years out of fashion I know too well that given time their time will come again.
At 35 when I met Alex I am a little embarrassed to say that my non-business wardrobe was severely lacking. The first part of the evening on our 2nd or 3rd date, was spent in Bloomingdales and then Barneys as my wardrobe just wasn’t it going to cut it in NYC.
So when you see photographs of me out and about in party clothes and you don’t like my style – you can blame her!
Favorite Businesswear Designers:
- Tom James
- Favorite Casualwear Designers
- D&G Great for Jeans and shirts
- Burberry Prorsum Whenever you want to but a jacket to get a reaction (Season 1 Premiere party and Bravo A List Awards You can’t do better than them.)