For the last two and a half years, anticipation was building in Melbourne for the completion and opening of the single largest hotel Australia has ever seen – Crown Metropol.
It’s a project that was developed in the middle of the global financial crisis and one that will raise Crown’s benchmark for style, service, product and hospitality across the board in Australia and beyond.
The third Crown hotel in Melbourne alongside Towers and Promenade, Metropol rises 28 storeys above Whiteman Street, features 658 rooms, including the country’s first ever CBD hotel spa suites, and opened for business at the end of April.
For General Manager Harley Moraitis, the opening is the culmination of almost three years’ hard work and dedication to ensuring every finer detail is 110% perfect.
“From a personal perspective, opening Crown Metropol is a career highlight,” he says. “I have been able to be involved at every level of the design process and put my stamp on the project.
“From selecting the bed linen to choosing the Skinn brand for Isika’s (the day spa) male treatment, I have enjoyed the hands on role I have played.
“Now, I am excited to open the hotel’s doors and welcome guests,” he told HM.
In fact, such is Moraitis’ dedication to ensuring such a smooth opening you’ll find the hospitality veteran at the front door welcoming the first guests, customers and dignitaries at the end of April.
What can those guests expect? Moraitis says it is everything that Crown has become famous for.
“When Crown Metropol opens, guests can expect to receive well-executed service that upholds the basic principles of hospitality,” he says. “Our staff will do their utmost to call guests by name and to make them feel at home.
In both Crown and amongst the Melbourne hospitality circles, Moraitis has become well known in recent times for his dedication to his staff – making sure they are not only capable of ensuring Australia’s largest hotel runs smoothly, but they’re happy and privileged to be working on such an important project.
“From a recruitment point of view, through successful planning we have promoted a number of very keen and enthusiastic existing employees this experienced team paired with a mix of new recruits with fresh ideas is part of our strategy for success,” he says. “Our focus is on the staff and we are in the fortunate position to set the culture of the hotel by delivering the best possible service and experience for our guests.
From the 658 guest rooms – which includes a mix of 405 king rooms, 174 twin rooms (featuring queen/queen beds), 34 studio-style rooms, 32 loft-style suites, 12 residential spa accommodation rooms and one apartment-style suite – to Gordon Ramsay’s maze restaurant and maze Grill, the level 27 relaxation and rejuvenation floor (including the Isika day spa, pool spa and gym) and the executive lounge atop, staff will certainly be at the forefront.
Going above and beyond the call, Moraitis wanted to make sure the staff were not only happy, but also the most well-dressed hotel employees in the country and as such, contracted the services of the nation’s leading uniform firm, Dallen.
From the bell staff wearing hoodies and jeans to division managers in lush grey suits, Dallen produced a line of clothing that’s more akin to a high-end retail boutique rather than a hip upper-upscale hotel.
“Dallen responded wonderfully to our brief to how we wanted our staff uniforms to reflect the Crown Metropol brand, which is a modern and contemporary interpretation of luxury,” Moraitis says. “Our bell attendants will be wearing reversible hoodies – we are quite confident that this is a world-first – and on one side they are silver, and the other side is black.
“The staff uniforms are anything but typical… they are so stylish you could wear them out. They are very textural and organic. Only the managers wear ties, and even the ties are out of the ordinary and are a black knit,” he says.
For the full story, see the April 2010 edition of HM magazine.