Mondrian Singapore Duxton, a 302-room luxury hotel, has seen its opening delayed by a couple of months. The Straits Times has a fun profile by Louisa Lim of all the frenzy behind-the-scenes in how the joint venture by hotel group Accor and lifestyle brand builder Ennismore aims to get the five-star hotel just right.
An interview with Robert Hauck, the hotel’s general manager, explains how the brand — founded in 1996 by Ian Schrager and featured in the TV series Entourage and songs by rapper 50 Cent — needed to be customized for the local market, such as by obtaining art from Singaporean artists like illustrator Andre Wee.
To make the property a local hit, the manager has hired celebrated talents to lead the house restaurants Christina’s and Canyon Club. These include the 39-year-old Jacquelyn Yvonne Chan, a former Olympian for Malaysia, and the 59-year-old Lim Tow Seng, a tattoed ex-convict whose life has been documented on TV. A fun detail:
“Mr Hauck had vowed to track down “Ah Seng” after spotting him on German television. It took him three months to locate the 59-year-old at his workplace, a bak kut teh shop, and offer him a job.”— Louisa Lim, for The Straits Times
He reminisces about the moment: “Ah Seng was very shy and very reluctant. I asked why and he said, ‘I’m afraid… You know, I’m afraid people will look down on me.'”
Today, Ah Seng is the manager for Bistro 126, the hotel’s staff restaurant, and a walking poster child for Mondrian Singapore. “He practically ignited the whole campaign for us,” says Mr Hauck.
The article echos themes about how lifestyle and luxury hotels need to emphasize locally-relevant and distinctive offerings and create experiences to talk about that were discussed in this video by Ennismore Founder Sharan Pasricha at Skift Global Forum 2022.
Subscribers can read the Straits Times article on Mondrian Singapore Duxton here.