Royal Sonesta GM Retires

NEW ORLEANS – Sonesta International Hotels has announced the retirement of Alfred “Al” Groos, who has served as the general manager of the Royal Sonesta New Orleans since 2006.

Groos began his career with Sonesta 47 years ago, working as a food and beverage trainee. Journeying into a leadership role, he served as the opening general manager for the Chateau Sonesta, helping to convert the former home of D.H. Holmes department store into a 263-room luxury hotel in 1995. He also managed the Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge, Mass. from 1996 through 2000.

Groos moved back to New Orleans in 2000 to take the role of general manager at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans. He helped create the annual “Greasing of the Poles” pre-Mardi Gras event, and he helped create the concepts for the hotel’s restaurants and bars, including Restaurant R’evolution and the Jazz Playhouse.

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The hotel partnered with Chef John Folse to create Restaurant R’evolution, which serves “reimagined” Cajun and Creole cuisine.

In partnership with the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Groos launched the “Got Gumbo” Cook-Off, an annual fundraiser. He also has served on local boards and commissions, including the French Quarter Management District, the New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association, and New Orleans and Company.

Groos led the hotel staff in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Ida, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Now he’s looking forward to spending more time with family and friends, and to do more traveling.

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“I’ll miss the Royal Sonesta team that I have worked with for many years,” Groos said. “I love the excitement of the hotel, and the guests we welcome and serve, but I am ready and very excited.”

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