It’s a love story that began in the late 1990s when Esther Oh Kostecky met with a Four Seasons rep at a student career mixer at UNLV.
“It had been my dream to work for a luxury brand,” she said. “When he said they had future plans to open a property in Korea, I was so happy.”
Future plans aside, Oh Kostecky was promptly scooped up by the company’s Beverly Hills property, where she started as a manager in training at the front desk. Over the next 18 years, she explored numerous operational sides of the hotel business at eight Four Seasons locations on three continents.
Her infatuation with hotel operations, however, was not embraced by everyone close to her.
“Koreans really want to be a doctor or a lawyer,” she said. “My parents wanted the same for me, but I always wanted to do something no one else did.”
Oh Kostecky’s desire for something different allowed her to ascend the management chain at properties in California, Pennsylvania, New York, and even Tanzania, where she opened a new safari lodge. But the desire to work at a Four Seasons in Korea stayed with her. And when the opportunity came, she grabbed it.
“It took 16 years, but I was finally able to open a property in Korea,” Oh Kostecky said from her Seoul office. “I’m so happy to be reconnecting with my family, while doing what I love.”