HOTELS & TOURISM | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Boutique retreat: How to stand out as a great design hotel

As one of Hong Kong’s first boutique hotels, Lan Kwai Fong Hotel @ Kau U Fong is not only leading the industry, but constantly reinventing itself, setting new standards for what it means to be a great design hotel with its attention to detail and passion for inspiring travellers.

Rebecca Kwan, General Manager of the hotel continues to lend her expertise in the hospitality industry to running the successful property, all the while injecting new ideas to the hotel.

Located in Kau U Fong, a unique strip on the crossroad of Central and the history-rich Sheung Wan area, the hotel has plenty to offer in terms of convenience and culture.

What used to be a street lined with old printing shops now has a collection of eateries and shops packed with personality. Kwan attributes much of the neighbourhood’s revival to the arrival of the hotel nearly a decade ago.

“We are one of the first boutique hotels in Hong Kong,” Kwan says. “In the past, the area is very old and traditional. There has since been rapid development in this area. Although this area was traditionally considered a part of Sheung Wan, more people now see it as Central.”

Much like this vibrant part of town, the hotel offers a delicate mix of cultures. This is even more evident with the recent renovation of the property. “In the past, our lobby was entirely in white. Now we’ve added some art pieces and a mix of oriental and contemporary details.” This change evidently gives the property a stronger identity and a distinct personality.

While being first to the scene undoubtedly gave the hotel an advantage, a certain pressure comes with being a pioneer. “We are always trying to think of new ways for our guests to enjoy their experience at the hotel,” says Kwan.

And going above and beyond is not only a slogan at Lan Kwai Fong Hotel @ Kau U Fong. Kwan offers one example of how the team dedicates themselves to completing guest experience. “Our guests love to take home souvenirs from a famous cookie bakery near our neighbourhood. But the line up to buy the cookies can be very long. Anticipating our guests’ needs, our staff will go purchase the cookies in advance so our guests don't have to wait in line.”

Allowing the guests to fully experience Hong Kong is another important mission the hotel takes seriously. It’s not only about suggesting activities for guests, but also to show them an authentic side of Hong Kong.

“We are very familiar with our neighbourhood and we are always on the look out for new, unique shops. And if we feel the shop’s products or foods are good, we might partner up with the shops to offer special promotions for our guests.”

Kwan hopes this will not only attract travellers to the hotel, but also given them a reason to return the next time they find themselves in Hong Kong.

“Being a boutique hotel, we are very flexible when it comes to serving our guests. But being a part of a hotel group also gives us the resources and expertise to stay competitive in the market."

It is this ability to cater to guests’ needs that Kwan believes, is the reason behind the hotel’s continuous success. Everything from offering guests a smart phone use during their exploration of the city to coupons to sample local foods like red bean ice, it’s all about bringing them that added bit of personal touch. “There is nothing standard about our hotel, we offer a level of mystique that exceeds their expectation.

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