Fond Farewell to a Marriott Friend

July 25, 2011

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On July 6, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal published extensive obituaries on my friend, George Lang, one of America’s most successful restaurateurs.

George Lang

George had a truly fascinating and exciting life.  He was born in Hungary in 1924.  He was Jewish and escaped a Nazi forced-labor camp and imminent execution in the Second World War.  He came to New York with no money, but with hopes of becoming a concert violinist.   

When his violin career did not work out, he pursued a career in restaurants.  He worked for Restaurant Associates and was instrumental in establishing the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City, one of the world’s most famous.  George also established and ran the famous Café des Artistes Restaurant in New York.  He wrote a lot of cookbooks and was one of the most renowned restaurateurs of all time.  

George Lang's Book Cover

When he left Restaurant Associates, we got together.  As we talked we came to the conclusion that it might be a good idea for George to establish a consulting business and I offered us up as the first client.  At that time, we were big-time in the airline catering business.  We just acquired the Qantas Airline account at our London Flight Kitchen at Heathrow.  Qantas flights to Australia were, of course, a long haul and very expensive in first class.  They were charging a lot and expected the highest level of service.

George volunteered to go to London and create a very high-end food service for Qantas in-flight catering.  He not only designed it, he stayed on in the kitchen for many weeks, training the chefs and ensuring that they did an outstanding job. 

When we opened our Marriott hotel in Budapest, Hungary, I was there for the opening and George showed up.  He was there opening a very famous restaurant in Budapest and joined us for dinner.  

He was a great friend and George and I worked together on many projects through the years.  I will miss him.  He made an outstanding contribution to the restaurant industry for over 40 years.  And he certainly helped me out when I really needed it the most with Qantas in London.  

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move. 

George Lang Obituary (The New York Times)


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All my best to Mr.Langs Family. It's never easy thats for sure. But keep your heads up and try to be strong.I think he would want that. Thank You Mr. Marriott for sharing with us. I love working for Marriott it's the best job in the world. Again Thank You for making me part of the marriott Family.

What a fascinating life,full of great memories. Mr George Lang,rest in peace.

what an amazing person George Lang was. He will be surely missed. My prayers to his family.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and George Lang and his family.

REST IN PEACE (GEORGE LANG)+ I'll be sure to pray for him BILL!!

Bill...I am so sorry for the loss of a friend. It seems his contribution to your customer experience was so valuable. After my many years at Marriott, I can say you haven't lost it!

I recently stayed at the Marriott Bethesda North Conference Center. My compliments to the staff there. We were looking for a good restaurant to go for our twins' 11th birthday. As we were leaving our room for the subway, shortly after checking in, the staff sent up a room service treat of a drink, some breakfast bars, a little chocolate, and a card...along with a menu for a good DC restaurant.

My kids felt famous, and you completely made their day. I stay at Marriotts because their beds just help me sleep well...but no matter what, I stick with you because of these types of experiences. Thank you.

So inspiring, R.I.P Mr. G.L. And Thank you Mr. Marriott for sharing.

It is never easy to lose someone, my prayers go out to you and Mr. Lang's family, And thank you for sharing your very personal and close relationship you had together.

I am very sorry for the loss of such a dear and special friend.
i'll pray for his family and for you, that time will make the loss somewhat less painful, and the memories will,in time, bring a smile to your face and some peace to your heart.
Rest in peace Mr. Lang and thank you, Mr. Marriott, for sharing your story with us all.

Thank you, Mr. Marriott for a moving and heartfelt remembrance of your good friend who clearly helped you and Marriott International become and remain the company it is today. My late father always said that a person never really dies so long as memories of them remain with their family, friends and colleagues. You have helped assure that George Lang will live on for many years to come.

Bill I am 73 years old. I have I own 2 time shares that I bought one 15 yrs ago and one 2 years ago my sister owns 2 also and many friends Every year we are strong armed about turning our time shares into points and now club systems. It always costs more money. We are all living on social security and can't even pay the maintenance fees we have let alone more and more yet we cannot sell them or let them be repossessed. You should find a way to releve these people of these unwanted places. you could resell them on your club status and make money it should be against the law to do this. Effie Velardo

What great memories you have. Thank you for sharing them, they are a delight to read.

It would be a cherished treasure having a good friend as well as a working partner. Mr George Lang,with my highest repect for your devotion, rest in peace!

I just read the story on George Lang. What an amazing person which the industry will miss.

I can't believe he hid in a coffin to escape the Nazi's. What a life!

George Lang must have made a great improvement on airline food.

What a fascinating story; George Lang sounds like quite a gentleman and role model.

On a differen topic, I recently stayed at the Fairfield Orlando Airport prior to an international flight; I left my car there for a week. I was immediately picked up at the airport when we returned from Guatemala and deposited within feet of my car. THANK YOU for a great stay option and great service. :-)

It's nice to read these nostalgic moments, don't you feel like the older you get, the less friends you have? Rest in Peace George