Van Aelst has been distinguished in the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon. Van Aelst received this honour from the Japanese Ambassador in the Netherlands, Mr. Masaru Tsuji. Van Aelst was honoured for his significant contributions to the promotion of mutual understanding and cultural and economic relations between Japan and the Netherlands. “I am very honoured to receive this decoration. It is extremely special for someone who is not from Japan to receive such a high distinction. A very proud moment,” said the hotelier.
Earlier this year Van Aelst was made an Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau and received this honour from Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan. Van Aelst was honoured for his many achievements that demonstrated his enormous commitment to the hospitality sector in a wide range of executive positions. He was also praised for his pioneering role in the fields of hospitality and gastronomy.
After completing his studies at the Hotel School The Hague in 1970, Van Aelst began his career as a trainee at Hotel Okura Tokyo. In 1971, Van Aelst was involved in the development of Hotel Okura Amsterdam; he was Deputy Sales Manager at the time. He left Hotel Okura Amsterdam for an international career that took him to Frankfurt, Vienna, Copenhagen, San Francisco, Atlanta and Toronto. In 1993, he returned to Hotel Okura Amsterdam as Vice President and General Manager. Since 2000, Van Aelst has been President and General Manager, as well as a member of the Executive Board of Hotel Okura Co. Ltd. Japan. In October 2010, he was also appointed as President and CEO of JAL Hotels Co. Ltd.
At the end of this year Van Aelst will step down as President and Statutory Director of Hotel Okura Amsterdam. Marcel van Aelst is not disappearing from the firm altogether. He will remain active as Vice Chairman of the Executive Board of Hotel Okura Co. Ltd Japan, the holding company of the international Okura Group and as President and Representative Director of Okura-Nikko Hotel Management Co. Ltd. He will also remain involved in Hotel Okura Amsterdam as a member of the Non-Executive Board.
About Hotel Okura Amsterdam
Hotel Okura Amsterdam is part of an international chain with more than 80 luxury hotels worldwide. The group includes Okura Hotels & Resorts, JAL Hotels and Nikko Hotels International. Hotel Okura Amsterdam is the Japanese chain’s only hotel in Europe and has over 300 rooms. The hotel offers its guests high-quality hotel accommodation, culinary delights in four Michelin-awarded restaurants, plus ultra-modern spa facilities. Hotel Okura Amsterdam is a stone’s throw away from both Amsterdam’s business district and the capital city’s main tourist attractions.