Connected Four

By Brigid Sweeney | Boston Magazine |

Susanne Hatje, general manager
The hotel’s top dog, Hatje managed Mandarins in Munich, Oahu, and Hong Kong before landing in Boston last September. Beneath the blond hair and accented mixed metaphors, the native German is all business: “This place is my home,” she says. “I wake up with bumblebees in my head because there is so much to do.” Those mornings begin at 6:30 a.m. with a walk-through of the 148-room, feng-shuied space, and continue on to briefings, client meetings, and menu tastings. 617-535-8888, 776 Boylston St., Boston,

Sharon Holtz, spa director
At the Mandarin, treatments are “journeys,” steam rooms feature chi-harnessing quartz crystals, and guests receive personal consultations to determine custom experiences. A massage therapist and longtime yoga fan, Holtz previously ran Mandarin spas in Bermuda and Miami; here she crafts rituals that go beyond your average shiatsu shoulder-chop—like aroma stones, a treatment using New England herbs, and hydrotherapy. The 16,000-square-foot sanctuary also comes complete with a café and fitness area. 617-535-8820.

Mary Hull, catering director
The daughter of a gourmet caterer, Hull was raised on quail legs in New Orleans, “where food is a religion”—and wedding planners are high priests. At the Mandarin, the 20-year industry veteran pens the menus for board meetings, galas, and, of course, weddings. Predictably, between executive chef Nicolas Boutin’s haute offerings—such as blinis with smoked salmon and paddlefish caviar—and the 350-person ballroom, a soiree here doesn’t come cheap. Luxury hotels’ per-guest rates start at about $175, and the Mandarin is no exception, but that hasn’t stopped people from already booking events through 2010. 617-603-2991.

Elan Sassoon, owner of Mizu Salon
The son of legendary hairstylist Vidal, Elan Sassoon this month unveils Mizu, a 3,300-square-foot salon on the Mandarin’s second floor. The Asian-inspired hotel, he says, allowed him to eschew typical salon amenities in favor of a “high-tech Zen” vibe with white Italian furniture, gold folding screens, and iPods on which clients can watch movies. Sassoon applies the same level of perfectionism in selecting his staff: All 30 Mizu stylists, who offer cuts starting at $125 and single-process color beginning at $70, have been handpicked from the city’s top salons. 617-585-6408,