By the time the leaders of the Asia Pacific arrive in Auckland for the APEC Summit 2021, Cordis Auckland will have a firm grasp on the title of New Zealand’s biggest hotel. It’s a project that is close to the heart of home town boy and General Manager, Franz Mascarenhas.
Tell us a bit about how your global career brought you back to your native New Zealand and to Cordis, Auckland?
Over the last thirty-plus years, I have been privileged to represent three global hospitality companies, running hotels in Malaysia, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Cambodia and of course my home town, Auckland. Experiences that have been unique and memorable and ones I will cherish for a long time.
In your opinion, what makes Cordis Auckland such a focal point of the city?
Aside from being located on a hill with great views, the hotel has carved out a niche as the city’s premier luxury offering that has housed royalty, Heads of State and a range of celebrities. What has singularly differentiated us is the level of service provided by my colleagues – service that is authentically Kiwi-warm, casual, unscripted, yet efficient and professional.
The hotel’s food and beverage offering stands out as a major social hub of the city, with our Eight Restaurant’s unique interactive food stations, the much loved ‘High Tea by Cordis’ and our Event centre with the ‘Great Room’ – Auckland’s largest pillar-less ballroom playing host to most major award ceremonies.
We are also extremely proud of our decade-long journey down the Sustainability path. We are the only hotel in Australasia to be awarded Platinum status by EarthCheck – the premier global certification body of the Tourism Industry.
The hotel is currently undergoing a major repositioning and expansion. What will stand out the most when all the covers come off and the new-look hotel is unveiled?
With the planned addition of 250 rooms over 17 floors in the new tower (taking capacity to 650 rooms), Cordis, Auckland will become New Zealand’s largest hotel by 2021. The Tower, with state-of-the-art design and facilities, will boast some of the best views from the upper floors from Mount Eden to Rangitoto and the Harbour.
The top floor will host the ‘Chairman’s Suite’, one of the city’s largest luxury offerings to ensure the hotel remains the choice for visiting dignitaries. The accommodation will be complemented by a range of additional suites with balconies and a plush new Cordis Club lounge on the 16th floor.
A new 400sqm naturally lit event ballroom in The Tower will further complement the extensive facilities Cordis, Auckland already has. ‘Eight’ restaurant will be expanded, a new ‘Bar’ will be created and the reception / lobby area will be enhanced to offer a seamless transition to the new tower and cater for the expanded capacity of the hotel.
What does an average day in the work-life of Franz Mascarenhas look like?
Excitingly busy might be a good description with colleague and guest interactions dominating the day. Never a dull moment to be sure though.
Who has been a major influence in your professional development and your career to date?
Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with some exceptional people in the business and have learnt much from them. One particular assignment with the Global Chief Innovation Officer of The Group, would probably be one I recall that was exhilarating and memorable as I was involved with the test marketing of unique service concepts. The experience reinforced to me the need for the Hospitality business to constantly strive for innovative ways of doing things better. At the Langham Hospitality Group, I am pleased that one of the key values we strive for is being ‘Better Every Day’!
From what you know now, what lessons would you tell your younger self at the beginning of your career if you could speak to him?
From early days I have had exposure to the varied facets of the Hospitality business and then moved down my chosen path of Sales and Marketing and General Management. I possibly wouldn’t change a thing!
Can you tell us about a challenging experience at work which ended up being pivotal in your personal growth?
Learning to successfully manage people from different cultures across varied countries would stand out as an area that certainly contributed to my own development and growth.
Can you share any hints on what might be planned for the opening of Cordis Auckland’s new tower once it is ready?
With expected completion of all the new facilities by the middle of 2021, we look forward to stamping our mark on Auckland’s vibrant skyline, raising new benchmarks and continuing to remain at the forefront of Auckland’s hospitality industry.