The Rosewood Hotel group needs no introduction. A well recognized brand in the US, the presence of the Rosewood hotels in Europe has until now, been limited to one – albeit exceptional – hotel, The Rosewood London.
More than a tentative foray, the London hotel is a bold statement of the group’s ambitions on the continent and judging by the rumors and announced openings. The future seems very bright indeed.
This week, we sit down with the man tasked with making it all happen, Mr Radha Arora President of the Rosewood Hotels and Resorts. Read on as we discuss the group’s philosophy, future openings and much more with the man at the helm.
Grand Luxury Hotels: The group’s foundation is its commitment to “Relationship Hospitality” could you please explain what this philosophy means to you and the brand’s approach towards luxury hospitality?
Radha Arora: At Rosewood, we believe that the true marker of luxury hospitality is close relationships with guests, communities and associates. I regularly hear that it’s the warmth, intuitiveness and charm of our associates that keeps travelers coming back year after year.
GLH: Rosewood has been described as being anything but a “cookie cutter experience” and indeed, Rosewood properties each have a very distinct feel and the “sense of place” motto isn’t just slapped on, it’s authentic. Bearing that in mind which Rosewood property really appeals to you particularly
RA: It’s impossible to pick just one since every property is so different! I recently returned from a fantastic trip with my girlfriend to Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos. I also spend a lot of time with my sons at The Carlyle in New York City. This year, it’s also been a joy to spend time at Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany which joined our portfolio in March as well as checking in to Rosewood Beijing, which is our first hotel in mainland China.
GLH: And what about your favorite Rosewood restaurant experience
RA: Another hard question to answer. How do you choose between a traditional fish and chips at Holborn Dining Room at Rosewood London and dining under the stars on the beach at Jumby Bay in the Caribbean. However, one highlight for me this year was visiting La Ceiba at Rosewood Mayakoba. The resort has created a beautiful chef’s kitchen and garden which pays homage to traditional Mayan cooking. It’s an amazing experience in a beautiful setting.
GLH: The Rosewood curators program, has seen the group collaborate with the likes of Condoleezza Rice, Piers Morgan, Iris Apfel and many others to provide unique travel experiences to guests. In the same spirit, could you make our readers benefit from your vast global knowledge and tell us about one of your favorite places in the world and why?
RA: One of my favorite places in the world is Paris. The city boasts such a rich heritage, yet maintains a beautiful balance between its history and modern style and culture. With the highly anticipated re-opening of the Hotel de Crillon, I look forward to spending more time there.
GLH: Millennials are a growing market of the luxury hotel industry and a lot of establishments are taking note. However, many hotels have built their reputations around their long history and rich heritage. Do you think younger guests are still after “timeless” hotels and “old world charm” or is there a need to reinvent?
RA: I don’t think it’s such a black and white choice. The majority of today’s travelers are looking for a union of both the old and the new. We have seen, however, an influx of millennial travelers who are less concerned with opulence and traditional luxury, and instead seek authentic experiences.
GLH: When one of our members books a stay at a Rosewood Hotel, what experience can he/she look forward to that will transform them from a first timer, into a fan of the group.
RA: Sometimes it’s an unexpected experience rather than something a guest is looking forward to that makes someone a fan. We constantly strive to surprise and delight our guests, even in the smallest details. A monogrammed pillowcase at The Carlyle, a basket for warm, freshly-baked pastries in the kitchen of your villa at Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco or your favorite tequila in your suite at Las Ventanas when you return from dinner . . . it can be these small but very personal touches that guests remember.
GLH: The Rosewood group is set to increase its market exposure in Europe and as a result we’ve seen the opening of the excellent Rosewood London, and there’s quite a buzz about the upcoming Crillon in Paris. There’s also rumors about openings in Madrid, Rome, Barcelona, Hamburg & Amsterdam! Is that still in the cards?
RA: This is an incredible time of expansion for the brand both in Europe and around the world. Earlier this year, we announced Rosewood Edinburgh which will open in 2018. We’ve also announced our first property in South America, Rosewood Sao Paolo as well as our second property in Cambodia, Rosewood Siem Reap. Rosewood will continue to expand in key cities and desirable resort destinations worldwide. Currently, the Rosewood brand has 15 properties in the pipeline and intends to have 50 properties operating by 2020.
GLH: As a Parisian brand, we are especially interested in the Crillon. How will Rosewood keep the DNA of the Crillon alive and of course, how do you foresee its place among the other Parisian palaces and especially the Ritz?
RA: We are very aware that Hotel de Crillon is more than just a hotel, it’s a Parisian landmark that has a rich, colorful history. We’re keeping everything under wraps at present but the reopening of the Crillon will be a moment. To have Karl Lagerfeld himself designing two suites shows just how special this hotel will be. All I can say for now is… watch this space. It’s going to be “magnifique”!