Below you will find my interview on the subject with Christian Westbeld, General Manager of the Raffles Hotel Singapore. Christian has had an enviable career in hospitality that has taken him from MGM in Macau, the Peninsula in the Philippines, several cruise lines, the Raffles brand in Dubai, Beijing, and finally to the current Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
What is your vision of digital technology in terms of the guest experience?
I think technology will be in place when it will facilitate and increase the efficiency of service. Having said this, we are known for our personal touch and the human relations that our butler team establishes with our guests. We have a slogan: “Come as guests, leave as friends, and return as family.” This can only be done through personal touch, so I will always value the personal interaction between our teams and our guests over technology. The beauty and the art will be how we can incorporate technology in order to ensure what I just said to take place and improve the stay. How this will look like, I am not able to share with you, but the team is working on something at the moment.
Raffles Hotels Singapore has a reputation for being a dining destination within Singapore. The dining and wining venues that we are establishing will build on that reputation. We’ll be working with 3 celebrity chefs to come up with concepts that will open the door to the Singapore market and also meet the expectations of our hotel guests, city guests, and the local community. The Long Bar is so famous and intrinsically anchored in our overall success that the Singapore Sling will be coming back in the Long Bar on the 2nd floor. Having said this, we’re also aiming at opening Long Bar to the local community with a different element as we’re going to strive to come up with a new cocktail that will have a similar theme as the Singapore Sling. The mixologist that we’re going to bring in will have that on his task list: to create something that will be as famous as the Singapore Sling in 100 years’ time. In addition, we are a destination for social events and weddings, so we’re extremely pleased and excited that our former Jubilee Theatre is going to be converted into a Jubilee Ballroom, with 6-meter high ceilings and a capacity of 300 seats, with air-conditioning, for it to be really a destination.
For example, we are known for our heritage light switches with brass coverings that are very unique to us. We’ve worked with the designers to come up with these light switches. At the same time, we will also have iPads available for guests for use as light management control—but as a choice. We’re not forcing things on our guests because that, I don’t think, is luxury.
#ILTM #luxuryHotel #delportehospitality
Known for his international expertise on luxury hotels through his magazine, Laurent Delporte shares his vision and experiences in the world of hotels on his site DELPORTE Hospitality. He decodes the behind-the-scenes action in the sector: from food and beverage facilities, accommodations, architecture, to the quality of services. He offers interviews, advice, and articles as pragmatic resources that industry professionals and private individuals can refer to in their search for information.