By Roderick Eime in Singapore
The convivial living room in the Four Seasons Singapore is an ideally comfortable venue to meet with Regional Vice President and General Manager Antoine Chahwan, whose landmark property has just been awarded ‘number one Best Business Hotel in Singapore’ by readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine in their annual Business Travel Poll.
Chahwan is rightfully confident in his property’s enviable position in one of Asia’s most competitive hotel environments and the Four Season brand seems a perfect fit for this sophisticated corporate market. He is quick to defer to the staff who are the public face of the hotel.
“To have our hotel distinguished as the best among our peers is testament to our staff’s unwavering dedication to exceptional service,” he said in a press statement trumpeting the coveted award.
But what is it about Singapore that works so well for the Four Seasons brand and how have both managed to stay ahead of the growing competition from the regional opposition like Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok?
“I believe with the opening such new facilities and attractions as the Marina Bay area and casino, the three-star Michelin restaurants, Sentosa Island, the aquarium and Universal Studios has lifted Singapore out of the perception as just another shopping destination or financial hub and become a truly world class destination for everyone, adults and kids alike,” he said.
“Not forgetting the Grand Prix, of course, which is the only F1 race run at night and is really an event in itself with international entertainment and not just a race.
“These innovations and continued proactive support from the government keeps Singapore fresh and occupancy levels over the 80 per cent mark throughout the city. From my perspective, at least, it’s all very positive.”
Chahwan’s flagship property here in Singapore isn’t about to rest on its laurels either. Soon to celebrate its 20th birthday, a series of rolling refurbishments will keep the pinnacle hotel in ‘like new’ condition. Chahwan explains.
“Even when you look around now, you have the effect of a grand residence,” he said.
“The owner’s art works and artefacts create a feeling of opulence and timelessness. Even so the living room where we are sitting now and the front door and driveway will be redone. The bar will be closed on the 28th (of October) and reopening December 6. Then the 3rd and 20th floor pools. We will remodel the 3rd floor (the Club) with new furnishings and upholstery, then next year we’ll move onto the rooms, starting with some of the suites, then eventually the entire hotel.”
Even though the rooms were most recently updated in 2008, bathroom fittings and soft goods will also be renewed this year.
Chahwan also believes the hotel’s location, just 50m from Orchard Boulevard, but still enjoying an oasis-like setting is another strong point-of-difference enjoyed by the Four Seasons Singapore.
“I know I’ve mentioned a lot of material changes and updates both here at the Four Seasons and in Singapore, but the thing I believe that really sets us apart is the service, and that’s something that will never change,” he said.
Images: Four Seasons Regional Vice President
and General Manager Antoine Chahwan (R Eime)