What motivated the choice of London for the first Pan Pacific hotel in Europe? Tell us more about Pan Pacific London
London was always going to be the destination for our first Hotel on this side of the world, both because of its strong links to Singapore and South East Asia but also because, as a city, it leads the world in the Luxury and 5 star Hotel segment.
The Bishopsgate area seemed to be the obvious choice for Pan Pacific London. This area has undergone an incredible transformation in the past ten years, Shoreditch is now the place to be at the weekend, and Hoxton and the East London have some of the Capital’s most exciting cocktail bars and venues.
There is so much culture within the square mile, from world-class museums and the Market Mile, to a short stroll down to the River Thames with The Tower of London, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe all within easy reach from the hotel.
The Hotel itself sits within the One Bishopsgate Plaza campus which also features 160 Luxury Apartments with sky terraces, and a retail component. Pan Pacific London is spread across two buildings, one an impressive 42 storey tower and the other a stunning mid Victorian listed building, the hotel is already the recipient of four design awards.
The only Hotel in London with a public Plaza, we are also the first smart ballroom in the City of London which at464 square metres has triple height ceilings and a glass private entrance on the Plaza. The Pacific Ballroom, which caters for dinners of up to 400 guests, can be accessed via glass elevator or escalator and also features a green room and Bridal/VIP suite. The Hotel also has an additional two floors of meeting space – over 1200 square meters in total.
Our designers Yabu Pushelberg have created a residential, almost country manor house feel to the Hotel, the public areas taking inspiration from both Singapore and London. The 237 bedrooms (including 42 suites) are inspired by Asian & English gardens, many of which have jaw dropping views over the City of London towards the River Thames.
The main restaurant – Straits Kitchen has Executive Chef, Lorraine Sinclair leading the team and serving up authentic heritage recipes and signature dishes from South East Asia. In addition there are two bars, a Patisserie run by Cherish Finden, one of the World’s leading Pastry Chefs, and The Orchid Lounge serving two different styles of afternoon tea, one inspired by South East Asia and a more traditional offering.
Tell us more about the positioning of the hotel and your expected comp set.
Pan Pacific London will bring a slice of Singaporean hospitality to London through the warmth, graciousness and attentiveness of our team. We will take care of our guests from the moment of arrival through to the start of their return journey home.
The Hotel guests and residents will have exclusive access to the Wellbeing Floor which encompasses welfare and relaxation of the mind and body with luxurious sleep pods, for those 6am arrivals and late departures! They can visit the living room which serves nutritious food for a post work-out meal or a snack after a swim in our 18.5m infinity pool overlooking the Plaza.
Our guests will enjoy crafted South East Asian style cocktails and signature dishes from this region’s incredibly rich culinary heritage, delivered with genuine, unobtrusive service from the heart. Small touches of authentic Asian hospitality and our passion for detail will make people feel at home within the bustling energy of the City.
We want to marry this service ethic to fantastic and fanatically sourced products seen all around our hotel. From the luxurious mattress and the ethically sourced bamboo tooth brush in the rooms to the delectable cakes of our patisserie and our incredible Champagne selection in our ground floor bar -Ginger Lily. Offering relaxed, inviting luxury we will compete with the luxury hotels in this part of London and the more traditional locations such as Mayfair & Park Lane.
To what extent the property will also cater to leisure guests?
We expect to enjoy the company of both corporate guests and those on vacation, and have beautiful spaces and cool local experiences that will engage and delight all. With two restaurants and two bars, a landscaped plaza, and the City’s first smart ballroom we can create unique events from Weddings and social events to high tech corporate conferences. For the guest with time on their hands, we have a Patisserie on the second floor, with pastries created in house by a world-renowned pastry Chef Cherish Finden, making it the perfect place to watch the world go by before a day spent exploring the local area. For the corporate client, we can offer a nutritious breakfast in Straits Kitchen, either western or Asian style before a short walk to the office courtesy of our unrivalled location.
The leisure aspect of our hotel is one of our great strengths and with more and more exciting things to do in the locale we look forward to being a catalyst to the credibility of the City as a leisure destination. From our stylish pool area and treatment rooms to our relaxed family Sunday brunches and our delicious Afternoon Teas, there’s plenty to excite and entertain at any time of the day and any day of the week. We will also be launching an extensive Pet Hospitality programme centred round weekends, encouraging guest to experience our wonderful locale even more.
Which are the competitive advantages of Pan Pacific as a luxury hotel chain?
This current crisis has opened a lot of people’s minds and there has been a lot of talk about “doing things differently” post COVID.
Pan Pacific Hotels Group has an amazing Inclusivity programme that looks at creating real opportunities for the whole community within our workforce.
Sustainability is also part of our DNA with PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering in Singapore being awarded “World’s Leading Green City Hotel”, and is a winner of the “Sustainable Design” at the prestigious HICAP Sustainable Hotel Award 2020. It has also been awarded Asia’s Leading Green Hotel six years in a row. Pan Pacific Orchard in Singapore was demolished because it couldn’t achieve our sustainability standards and will be zero waste when it reopens in 2022.
Pan Pacific’s core brand’s beliefs of continuous commitment to providing services with a strong responsibility towards the environment and self with eco-friendliness and sustainability and care for overall well-being will definitely resonate more and more with people over the next decade as we continue our expansion.
What has been your approach towards HR? How do you see discovering, motioning and nurturing talent?
We always lead with our People. Over the last few months in pre-opening we have used the Linked-In platform to introduce our team to the industry and to demonstrate our people orientated ethos and the importance of trust in building a strong culture.
Despite the current situation finding great people is still a competitive exercise with so many new Hotels opening up in 2021 & 2022. What is important in our search for the best talent is that we look for people who share our same beliefs on sustainability and vision for humility in hospitality.
Once the talent is on board we endeavour to nurture and develop all our employees to ensure their welfare and happiness at Pan Pacific London. Our commitment to instilling a great team spirit along with productivity and self-development helps spread word of mouth we believe draws the best talent to our hotel
Which are the challenges you anticipate post the second lockdown? How do you envisage a recovery?
The concern post this second lockdown is that demand for Hotels will start to decline as we naturally move into the lowest demand period for our industry from January- March.
News of a vaccine has boosted everyone’s hopes of a speedier return to normality and pent-up demand for events such as Weddings, celebrations etc… will start to drive our recovery. We have seen some Hotels and venues reporting exponential increases in demand for Weddings in 2021, postponed from this year due to restrictions on guest numbers.
Which are the opportunities you are anticipating?
Whilst 2020 saw many of us enjoy a staycation in the Country or at the coast – I believe that 2021 will see more us venture back into cities and London will start to come back to life with its theatres and attractions re-opening and events such as Wimbledon going ahead.
Guests may rethink their priorities post COVID and Hotels with heart that engage and offer genuine experiences will become more attractive.
Our greatest opportunity is to showcase Singapore and South East Asia as a region, the style of humble, unobtrusive service, the culinary delights and the classic elegant cocktails that hail from this culturally rich region of the world.
Our Creative Community will become more important to us, partnerships such as Diptyque who are curating our bathroom amenities and styling suite will help us personalise our guest’s events with bespoke scents for Weddings and private consultations in our Styling suite on the 5th Floor.
Do you agree that with the pandemic, new built hotels and renovated ones have an advantage in terms of the perception of Covid-19 safety?
I do agree that we may see guests preferring to stay in slightly higher category properties or even new hotels as they may be perceived as better prepared to handle the virus.
The meetings industry may change into a more hybrid version, technology will play a big part in enabling these new style meetings which may replace large conventions and conferences.
However, overall the industry will not lose the key touch points of experience led engagement and will become more focussed on trust and authenticity.
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