CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently interviewed, exclusively, highly experienced international luxury hotelier Jean-Paul Dantil, who has taken over as Vice President Operations at Austrian based luxury hospitality group Almanac Hotels which promises to be a true disruptor in the international market.
What is the story behind Almanac Hotels? Which are the defining pillars of the brand?
Almanac Hotels is a hospitality tastemaker developing iconic hotels in landmark locations. The brand aims to develop a diverse experience in each city and create a vibrant social hub that facilitates collaboration between guests and locals. From art installations to exclusive pop-ups, Almanac is exploring partnerships with local experts and bespoke products in each destination. These relationships are designed to create a platform – an enhanced experience – that will take place not only under the roof of Almanac Hotels, but within the city itself.
To what extent Almanac Hotels is an operator versus an equity investor?
The Almanac Group wholly owns and operates each and every property in the current portfolio allowing the freedom to develop and create visionary projects that are entirely bespoke in nature. Almanac Group also counts on an in-house architectural department, which ensures they remain in control over all design features and substantial renovations maintaining the highest quality and brand integrity.
Is there an interior design DNA of the brand?
,Each Almanac Hotel will be created with a timeless design that respects the history and architecture of the buildings, all of which are located in the heart of the city that they are in. Respecting the city, and incorporate the now, is the underlying DNA of all our properties. Weaving these aspects into the experience is part of the fingerprint of Almanac Hotels. Technology also plays a crucial role in the design, which is integrated into our room features, public areas and marketing activities as well.
What motivated the choice of locations for the expansion of the brand?
Almanac Group has its headquarter in Vienna, which had a deep influence over the choice of each location. Known for its strong cultural heritage, visitors to Vienna focus mainly on the history of the city, and often overlook the strong cultural changes and creative wave that the city is experiencing. An immersion in history while participating in the city’s current story is what we want to offer our guests, and this is something which is yet to be explored in the cities where our hotels are located.
Tell us more about the service philosophy.
The delivery of exemplary hospitality services – maintaining the highest standards across the entire brand – while respecting the individuality of each hotel and every guest is the commonality in each Almanac Hotel.
What is your approach towards Spa and F&B?
At Almanac Hotels we want to create dynamic restaurants and bars – entertainment venues – entirely embedded in the local community, yet serving the needs of travellers for either business or leisure.
Wellness centres will always be an integral aspect of Almanac Hotels. It is needed more than ever today as people need time to relax and heal from the stress of every day. Wellness however is not limited to the spa area. Our properties will integrate this in food and beverage, and in-room experiences.
Which are the most effective marketing / communications instruments for the brand?
Almanac guests are very well connected, and therefore that is where we focus our marketing strategies. Social media, website, online marketing – and of course our in-room phones, tablets and we are developing public applications. We also firmly believe in the power of word of mouth, which is why PR is the most important tool we have.
To what extent Almanac relates to luxury?
Highest quality accommodation, services and products are of course an integral part of luxury hospitality. But at Almanac Hotels, we believe luxury lies in individuality. Our guests are at the centre of the story during their stay at our hotel: in our personalised services, in the authentic experiences they participate in, in the authentic sherry wine they drink at our bar, specially selected for them. We treat travel as a life experience that is only lived by one individual.
What novelties should we expect in 2018/2019?
2018 was a milestone in our history, with the official launch of our first property, Almanac Barcelona in February. We are now focused on introducing additional three hotels that are already under development. Almanac Hotels will open in Vienna, Budapest and Prague throughout 2019/20. Two additional properties in Prague and Zagreb will be included into the collection after their renovation is completed in 2020/21.
Jean-Paul Dantil, a graduate of Glion, started his career in 1996 and has recently held General Manager positions at two The Ritz Carlton Hotels and opened Berlin’s iconic Das Stue Hotel, one of the city’s finest luxury contemporary luxury hotels.
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