CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently spoken to Tino Lindner, General Manager of JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel, not only the leading luxury hotel in Bucharest but also among he finest luxury hotels in Eastern Europe.
Opened in 2000 under the Marriott brand was later upgraded to JW Marriott and the property has recently undergone extensive renovation. The genuinely grand hotel is housed within a majestic building adjacent to the Romanian Parliament, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon. The property also includes Grand Avenue, a luxury shopping arcade which concentrates the boutiques of all major international luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Dolce&Gabbana, Rolex etc.
How has your career path led you to luxury hospitality? What is the ultimate satisfaction?
What is the competitive advantage set of JW Marriott Bucharest? Which is your comp set?
Shaped by the dynamic heritage of the city, JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel retains a reputation as the benchmark of modern luxury in Romania’s lively capital. Renowned for its crafted service, diverse epicurean venues and elegant design, it is an enriching backdrop for family or business gatherings and inspired journeys.
Located in an area of historic and national interest, the property is the only five-star hotel in the district and is in close proximity to the stately Palace of Parliament and People’s Salvation Cathedral.
A premier destination for business and leisure guests, it is just a 30 minutes’ drive from Henri Coandă International airport and within walking distance of Old Town, with its diversity of architecture. Note, among our compset we have Hilton, Radisson Blu, Intercontinental, Sheraton and Novotel, all located in the city center.
Tell us more about the ample renovations and redesign process? the expansive renovation and design.
This year in November, the hotel celebrates its 20th anniversary in the capital of Romania and we are proud to offer the latest in comfort and style to our guests. The renovation of all rooms and suites completed in 2019, and it was conducted in several stages, as a multi-million-euro investment.
Thoughtfully reimagined for a balanced and nourishing lifestyle, the entire inventory of 402 guestrooms, including 23 suites, offer intuitive design and functionality. Furnished with a neutral colour palette and blue accents, the Danube River and nature create a harmonious canvas that cultivates a sense of profound focus.
Locally handcrafted elements complement the decor, such as the ceramic plates, with traditional Romanian motifs, symbolizing aspects of life and nature, which adorn the wall. Multi-faceted mirrors representing the different perspectives that can be seen in historic Bucharest can also be found in select accommodations.
The guest-room design is both eco- and user-friendly, with low-consumption LED lighting, energy-saving thermostats, smart LED televisions with full HD resolution, and a multifunctional desk with integrated power panel (220 and 110 V power outlets, TV HDMI, smart phone and device connectivity).
With the renovation, you not only changed the aesthetics of the restaurants but also the concept?
The concepts of the restaurants did not change, and we continue to offer a large choice of cuisines and experiences in our diverse venues. We did add a new concept of a Sunday brunch, that is inviting our customers to embark on a tasty trip of culinary excitement with this new brunch concept – called Bubble On Sunday Sparkling Brunch. Guests who want to spend their Sundays in a vibrant environment with family and friends are about to take on a top culinary experience and rejoice the widest culinary offer of a Bucharest brunch.
This experience is topped with ten live cooking stations and a unique, sparkling atmosphere, with DJ and lots of live music moments, as well as a kids’ club. The area dedicated to the brunch includes three restaurants and lounges: Cucina – The Italian Kitchen, JW Steakhouse and Vienna Lounge, allowing guests to freely enjoy any of the specialties prepared by the chefs, an array of over 200 dishes from around the world.
What is the profile of your returning guest? Which are the top 5 nationalities?
Our top 5 source markets are USA, Israel, UK, Germany and Romania. Being one of the leading and first 5 star hotels in Bucharest, we have extremely high number of returning Marriott Bonvoy travellers.
We value the most our guests’ loyalty, and strongly believe they come back, as we are able to offer the “home away from home” experience every time.
An increasing number of travellers no longer book through an agency, instead, use booking engines. Thus, a guest may arrive at check-in. and you would know very little about his or hers preferences?
We do have our internal systems known as GXP where we share our guest’s preferences worldwide. This allows us to have better understanding of each and every guest checking in. Due to the power of Marriott Bonvoy 60% of our guests we know already their preference. On the property level, we try to initiate the communication throughout Guest Relation team few days prior to arrival where we look at opportunities how to make their stay memorable and unique.
Which are your main disruptors? In Barcelona, for instance, two independent luxury hotels have implemented a unique model of collaboration – within a proximity of 12 km – hotel would serve breakfast and an afternoon.
Our Main Disruptors to conduct the business is actually the lack of support and initatives by government to position Romania and Bucharest on world map as potential travellers destination for vacation as well as perfect MICE venue.
Like in most emerging markets, talent choose to work abroad for better financial gains. What is your strategic approach to recruiting talent and all work towards a common goal which is a consistently high customer service.
At JW Marriott, we believe that true luxury is created by people who really love what they do. Developing talents has always been key to our business, as people are at the core of what we do every day. Being the largest hotel company in the world, we are also able to offer endless opportunities to our people. We are glad when our associates choose to expand their experience, explore other destinations, or hotels within our brand portfolio.
Does Bucharest have a potential to become a luxury destination in CEE?
Bucharest is changing and certainly growing every year as a destination, and I trust we all have our little influence on this. I recall many times we heard the feedback from our meeting planners, post event, how the experience in Bucharest and Romania made a positive impact on their meetings participants, and how everyone remembers their experience as one of the best in many, compared to other destinations. There is a certain degree also for Bucharest to grow this potential in the future, once more luxury hotels continue to open locally.
What is the key to a successful / productive / profitable relationship with a hotel owner?
Key Success is open dialogue and daily communication with the owner. I also feel that putting ourselves in owners shoes, and think like one, will help our relationship with hotel owners. This relationship is key to operating and managing the business. We all know that 3 key stakeholders are employees, owners and guests, and we strive daily to meet all their needs.
With extensive experience in luxury hospitality and acumen for quality and innovation, Tino Lindner is now the new General Manager of JW Marriott Hotel in Bucharest. Coming from the 5* hotel W St. Petersburg, Russia, the 43 year old German is an international practiced professional, with assignments ranging from Europe to Asia and Africa, in brands such as Le Meridien and Sheraton.
He started his hospitality career in 1991 in Germany, to join Le Meridien Hotels, seven years later, as Front Office Manager. Embracing his desire of new opportunities, Tino had several assignments within Rooms division in Europe and Africa. He moved in 2005 to Asia, as Executive Assistant Manager at Le Royal Meridien Baan Taling Ngam Koh Samui, Thailand and as Hotel Manager at Le Meridien Chiang Mai, Thailand. In 2012 his hospitality journey brought him back to his home country.
As Hotel Manager at Sheraton Frankfurt Airport he was responsible for the hotel operation in Germany’s largest airport hotel, leading several renovation projects and initiatives particularly to enhance guest satisfaction. In October 2015, Tino took on his first General Manager assignment, at the W St. Petersburg, Russia. Being the only W in Russia, the lifestyle design hotel set the stage for sensory experiences with fabulous fashion and the hottest DJ’s in the city.
Commenting on his new appointment, Tino said: “I am truly honored to be appointed general manager of the iconic JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel and be given the responsibility of leading an extraordinary team. I am looking forward to the next chapter in my career and am excited to have the opportunity to be playing an integral role in the ongoing success of this luxury property:”
Opened in 2000, JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel is one of the largest 5* hotels on the market, with 402 rooms and suites, six restaurants and lounges and 12 meeting and conference rooms.
More from LEADERS
CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently interviewed, exclusively, Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling, considered by many in the industry to be both a visionary …
Executives of the finest luxury hotels in Paris share insights on re-opening post-pandemic (EXCLUSIVE)
Paris is one of the top global tourism spots, had been undergoing major challenges even before the Covid-19 pandemic, such …
Oetker Collection enters a new chapter with recently appointed CEO Timo Gruenert (Exclusive Interview)
CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently interviewed Mr Timo Gruenert, the recently appointed CEO of Oetker Collection, one of the world's leading luxury …