Tony Bruggemans-Legendary Life Lived Large

Tony Bruggemans-Legendary Life Lived Large

Tony Bruggemans was a well-known and much-loved hospitality professional whose career spanned six decades and professional assignments across five of the world’s seven continents, working in Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Singapore, South Africa, the USA, The Philippines, Hawaii, and even Antarctica. 

Born in Liege, Brussels, during the height of WW II on 13 June 1943, Tony Bruggemans died at age 80 in Palm Springs, California, on Sunday, 21 April 2024.

Tony Bruggemans-Legendary Life Lived Large

Tony & Joane’s Wedding in Hawaii – 1970

Tony Bruggemans-Legendary Life Lived Large

Bruggemans’ Indonesia interlude included a long stint in the 90s, during which he was based in Jakarta as CEO of the Sahid International Hotel Management & Consulting Corporation. He enormously contributed to national tourism in Jakarta, leading the chapter of SKAL Jakarta and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). In an honor rarely bestowed on a non-Indonesian, in 1995, Tony was summoned by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Telecommunication when then President Soeharto bestowed an “Adikarya Wisata Trophy” for services to the National Tourism Industry. 

Later, in an interview in 2017, Bruggeman reflected on his illustrious life-long dedication to tourism: “My life mantra has always been to prepare the next generation of hoteliers for the future and to build economic vitality in the tourism sector.” 

Accordingly, Tony Bruggemans’ three daughters and wife are urging Tony’s global network of friends and admirers to consider donating in Tony’s name to the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Foundation Scholarship Fund, of which he was a long-time supporter.

In a life filled with challenging tourism assignments, one of his earliest jobs, at the tender age of 20, was in 1963 as Chef Intendant of the First Belgian-Dutch Expedition to the South Pole, where he spent an entire year. In 1965, Bruggemans graduated from Hotel School in Brussels. He then immigrated to the United States and spent the next ten years working for hotels in the Hawaiian islands. Tony’s next stop was South Asia, where he opened the pioneering government-owned Sonargaon Hotel (later Pan Pacific) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, reporting directly to then-President Hussain Muhammad Ershad. 

After closing the Indonesian period of his career, Bruggemans explored business and tourism opportunities in post-apartheid South Africa before relocating to Palm Springs, home to the internationally acclaimed Le Vallauris Restaurant – a well-known fine-dining restaurant first opened in 1974 by Tony’s brother, Paul Bruggeman. Tony worked as general manager at the historical landmark La Vallaurus, immersing himself in Palm Springs culture by actively participating in various community organizations. 

Tony Bruggemans-Legendary Life Lived Large

Tony Bruggemans with wife, Joanne, and three daughters

Hundreds of friends mourn Tony from around the world, together with his wife of 54 years, Joanne, and three daughters, Lauren (Boo), Terri, and Domenique. 

The family has scheduled a memorial service to celebrate Tony Bruggemans’s life at the Hilton Palm Springs in California from 3 to 7 p.m. on Monday, April 29, 2023. 

Messages of condolences can be posted to the Facebook Page of Joanne Bruggemans


Tony Bruggemanns

Born: Liege, Belgium, 13 June 1943

Died: Palm Springs, California, USA, 21 April 2024

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