There is a solution to every problem, says Patrick Tate, retiring divisional director of operations at City Lodge Hotel Group (CLHG). This approach, coupled with a lifetime of experience, steady and grounded disposition, and an abundance of patience has made Tate excel as a hotelier.
City Lodge Hotel Group will bid a fond yet sad farewell to Tate on 30 November 2020 after 32 years of loyal service with the company. He was appointed by the group’s founder, the late Hans Enderle – also Tate’s mentor – in 1988 when the group only had three hotels: City Lodge Hotel Bryanston (then called City Lodge Randburg), City Lodge Hotel Sandton, Katherine Street (City Lodge Sandton at the time) and City Lodge Hotel Johannesburg Airport, Barbara Road (previously known as City Lodge Jan Smuts Airport). Tate was no stranger to the team he was joining as he had worked with all his new colleagues previously at Holiday Inn, before that group was bought out by Southern Sun (now Tsogo Sun).
Tate left his post at Holiday Inn Eastern Boulevard to manage City Lodge Cape Town (now City Lodge Hotel Pinelands) on 1 August 1988 – the group’s third birthday. He initially worked out of City Lodge Randburg with then general manager, Clifford Ross, who was preparing to open City Lodge Durban. Together with Ross and Lynda Schroeder, Tate learned the City Lodge way of operating through assisting in opening the group’s first hotel in KwaZulu-Natal, and went on to open City Lodge Hotel Port Elizabeth while the delayed Cape Town construction continued.
City Lodge Pinelands was successfully opened in 1989 under the capable control of Tate, who then moved on to open City Lodge V&A Waterfront in 1992. He fulfilled his role as general manager at the latter hotel until his promotion to divisional director of operations at central office in 2001, at the same time that Ross stepped up as managing director.
Tate’s current position as divisional director of operations was carried out with boundless energy and unrivalled commitment to the continuing success of the group. His last day reporting to duty is 30 November 2020 but he will always remain a friend to the group.
Looking back over his prolific career, Tate is a hotelier to the core. When he left school, he initially wanted to be a dentist, but didn’t get into the one dentistry school he applied to. He did a stint at Safmarine as a navigational cadet, and on his return to South Africa his call-up papers saw him heading off to Upington to start his national service. While in Namibia (then South West Africa), he became friends with a chef who was a trainee at Holiday Inn in Cape Town. After national service, the two of them returned to Cape Town and Patrick joined Holiday Inn in 1976 as a trainee in the kitchen. He worked in the kitchen in a hotel in Polokwane (then Pietersburg) for a year before working his way through