The Biggest Innovators in Travel and Hospitality: 2022 Year-End Edition

Funviralpark 2 years ago 0 2

One of the best definitions of hospitality at its finest I’ve seen this year suggested: This nailed the head with products and experiences that transcend from good to good. Guests feel a sense of detail, thoughtful expectations, and comfort, but the gears and machinery to provide it are hidden.

Luxury is certainly at a crossroads. With the resurgence of travel, some of the tension and pressure comes to the fore. Delivering this kind of experience (and justifying the cost) requires staff with a higher sense of mission. Of course, this is difficult in a job market that is still healing from the deep wounds and trauma of the pandemic. But we firmly believe that the future of enlightened hospitality will be defined not by financial technologists and indebted organizations, but by entrepreneurs, thinkers, and those who see their calling in the work of providing comfort and attention to detail. I’m here.

Below are some of the interesting places, spaces and hoteliers that inspired my year and the wider industry.

best leadership

Hospitality at its best forms a certain type of leader. In other words, leaders with a global worldview, strong emotional intelligence, and operational and design/aesthetic sense. I am always impressed with the General Managers across the Four Seasons brands. Brands train and develop a particular type of leader. Thanks to the fact that they work all over the world, they have a hard-won globality that seems to allow them to navigate different cultures’ operating systems. I realized that there is a unique yet invisible common thread that binds us all together. Standouts for me this year were GM (General Manager) Sunil Narang (Mumbai), Philippe Rudesalp (Athens), Thomas Carreras (New York), Le Bosch Barta (Bangkok) and Hotel Manager Sandra Oliva (Florence). is.

best expansion

Ett Hem is a favorite with travelers looking for a more intimate and residential feel. The hotel has recently been tastefully expanded into his two adjacent buildings. When I visited, I liked that there was no backyard. Everything is done in the open and lends itself to a more intimate experience. Hotelier Jeanette Mix, in partnership with Ilse Crawford, brings a thoughtful design sensibility with attentive yet relaxed service. This is a near-perfect city hotel, and it will (hopefully) make it easier to get a room.

most inspired opening

Hotelier Nicole Boekhoorn and her wife Fleur Huijskens have created Strerekopje, an intimate farm in the foothills of the Franschhoek mountains outside Cape Town. Like Ett Hem, the duo believes in thoughtfully integrating guests into the rhythm of the day. Instead of signing up for a formal, lofty cooking class, guests can tag along with the chef to forage and select from the on-site garden.

Orangery Room in Sterekopje Source: Sterekopje

The lack of formality, coupled with the regenerative power of nature from the place itself that Buchhoorn described to me, portends something special. It’s also worth noting that many of the most meaningful places and experiences are being driven by women, creating new services and tearing apart established playbooks. One of the highlights this year.

Best New F&B

The BKK Social Club in the new Four Seasons on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok has inspired me a lot. The cocktails are inspired, the designs are beautiful and the team led by Philippe Bischoff is warm and sophisticated. It has become a contender for the best bar in Thailand.

Best Hidden Gem

I discovered Kayu Bar in Oberoi, Seminyak, Bali. Everything was perfect: elegant and seasoned staff, well-manicured grounds, delicious drinks. The hotel and bar by agency is a haven from the increasingly busy and crowded parts of the island. It has the type of gravity and intrigue that serves as the backdrop for scenes from the long-lost Bond movies.

Best hospitality experience

Owner Valentina De Santis is one of my standout hoteliers this year. She launched her Passalaqua in a converted beautiful mansion dating from 1787 on Lake Como. The attention to detail, the gardens, the worldly selection of staff and the love and care was without a doubt my best stay of the year. We found a property that stands out from the big leagues of hitters. You can’t go wrong.

Best Ambassador of Hospitality

Since his transition from running the world’s best hotels to Forbes Travel Guide, Hermann Elgar has also been instrumental in building the brand’s vibrant breathing school, the Center of Excellence, in Juillac-le-Coq, France. It teaches the best elements of high-touch service and, importantly, helps other industries apply the creativity, detail, and emotion of great hospitality to their day-to-day operations. Focus on leadership, guest experience, and team dynamics. We have a focused training agenda, all centered around a service-driven mindset. Elgar told me, “Too many organizations leave their service culture to chance. Or they set some lofty ideals but never really teach their staff how or why. It’s not a culture, it’s just an aspiration.” For me, a longtime advocate of the lessons that the wider industry can learn from hospitality, this approach is spot on.

Best experience and flight attendants

I have tried flying different airlines and have tried many things this year but all roads go back to the Emirates for me. Also, airlines are constantly investing to improve their services. The staff informed me about the opportunity to hone and hone my skills by rotating to a prestigious ESL hospitality school based in Lausanne. It is this investment in constant improvement that consistently sets the brand apart among other heavyweights (Singapore, Qatar).

Best City Hotel

Gleneagles dining area Source: Gleneagles

Gleneagles Townhouse is the urban cousin of Scotland’s famous Gleneagles. The perfect city hotel that opened in Edinburgh this year. It’s a fusion of a members’ club and a hotel open to the public, creating a pleasant clash between Edinburgh’s splendor and visitors coming to the city.

Best architectural and design innovation

While the opening was kept a bit minimal during the pandemic’s travel restrictions, the Rosewood São Paulo is one of the standout designs unveiled this year. Consisting of 160 rooms and his 100-room residence, Rosewood’s first facility in Latin America also features a new tower inspired by vertical forests designed by Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel. Surrounded by 10,000 trees, the building houses a biodiversity program that repopulates the native flora and fauna of the rainforest. The hotel is an inspired fusion of cutting edge and classic, with additional interior design by Philippe Starck in local wood, marble and earthy tones. That’s excellent.

Brands to watch

A longtime fan of Chris Burch and James McBride, who built the discerning hotel Nihi on Sumba, Indonesia. A spiritual heir to what Adrian Zecha originally created with his Aman, it’s also completely fresh and new. And now the brand is growing slowly and thoughtfully, with stores in Santo Tomas, Costa Rica and Rote Island, Indonesia.

best brand reboot

The Standard brand has been given an exciting and fresh reboot in Asia. They recently launched their Bangkok property to cater to the burgeoning interest from Bangkok’s global creative class.

A shop in The Standard in Bangkok.Source: Standard

In contrast to the slightly faded character of the US, the brand’s Thai version felt fully realized in HD resolution. The designs were inspired and had a strong identity in the increasingly competitive city.

The best definition of timeless hospitality

Lowell in New York is one of my favorite properties in the world. In a world obsessed with trends, chasing Gen Z, and following the hype cycle, it’s heartening to see a hotel offering warm and elegant service in a classic setting. Every time you step through the door there is an invisible magic sensation. And good luck finding a wood-burning fireplace somewhere in Manhattan.

best general manager

Mark de Leeuwerk is one of my favorite hoteliers in the world and it’s been a fruitful year for him. The first time we met him was when he was number 2 at Park He’s Hyatt Tokyo. He was from Holland and had an eye for detail and delicacy honed in Japan. He then opened a facility for the brand in Kyoto. It was one of his most meticulous and ambitious design projects, after which he moved to Park He Hyatt Bangkok. Since coming out of the pandemic, Mark has been cold and has led the team since the start. In short, a new Thai staff member with little business experience, Park Hyatt has become one of the teams that best represents the brand’s potential. I especially like his subtle and discreet approach to hospitality. It was embodied in the wonderful language he inherited that made me stop. We have certainly noticed the team effort this year.

best hotelier

I have met and exchanged notes with many hoteliers around the world and there have been many standouts this year. Four Seasons’ Stephanie Pournaras, Mandarin Oriental’s Anastasia Papapilidi and Mai Mortaka topped the game alongside Park’s Luis Cobo and Patrick Fernandez. Hyatt. They all embody the grace, empathy and work ethic that elevate the industry.

Luxury will face many question marks next year: a battle to deliver real value between economic uncertainty, talent wars and ballooning ADRs. But as many of these examples prove, thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, and securing humanity are the beacons that can continue to inspire this important industry.

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