Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Business Insider: Luxury Rosewood hotel aims to keep it local

Business Insider: Luxury Rosewood hotel aims to keep it local

An artist’s rendition of the Rosewood Phnom Penh hotel’s sky restaurant bar resting on the curve of Vattanac Capital Tower’s fluidly shaped building. Photo supplied
An artist’s rendition of the Rosewood Phnom Penh hotel’s sky restaurant bar resting on the curve of Vattanac Capital Tower’s fluidly shaped building. Photo supplied

Business Insider: Luxury Rosewood hotel aims to keep it local

Rosewood Hotel Group, a rapidly expanding luxury hotel chain, is celebrating the opening of its first hotel in the Kingdom today as it embraces an aggressive expansion strategy in Southeast Asia. Its Phnom Penh hotel is located in the country’s tallest skyscraper, occupying the top 14 floors of Vattanac Tower. The Post’s Robin Spiess sat down with Managing Director Daniel Grau last week to discuss his hotel’s impact on the Cambodian luxury hotel market.

Why has the Rosewood chosen to enter the Cambodian market?
The Rosewood has been around since 1974, but it was acquired by New World Development, a Hong Kong-based company, in 2011. Being now a Hong Kong-owned company, the focus has really been to bring the Rosewood into the Asian market. We opened our first Rosewood in the east in Beijing about four years ago, and that hotel did tremendously well.

When this location in Vattanac Tower became available, we decided it was a perfect opportunity to expand our footprint in Southeast Asia. We think it’s the right time to be entering the Cambodian market; the market is developing rapidly here, and we think we have something new and exciting to bring to it. The approach we take isn’t so traditional – we have a more relaxed service style, while still remaining professional and courteous.

Daniel Grau, managing director of the newly opened Rosewood Hotel in Phnom Penh, pictured at the Rosewood last week.
Daniel Grau, managing director of the newly opened Rosewood Hotel in Phnom Penh, pictured at the Rosewood last week. Robin Spiess

The Rosewood first announced its intention to open this branch in 2015. What took so long?
In any project, there are challenges which inevitably delay the opening. It almost doesn’t matter where you are. There are many moving parts which cause delays, but I think this is the right time for us to be opening.

How do you view the market for luxury hotels in Cambodia?
Right now, there aren’t many luxury five-star hotels here in Cambodia. There are many people interested in coming to visit Cambodia, and we think it is important not only to promote the Rosewood, but to promote Phnom Penh and Cambodia as a whole. We have a long list of people who follow the Rosewood who would be interested in visiting here.

I know there are other luxury hotels interested in entering the market, as well. Siem Reap I think is more developed in terms of luxury hotels, and Phnom Penh has more room to grow. I think competition is a positive thing that keeps us on our toes and allows us to improve where we need to improve.

We notice the number of tourists coming into the country on a yearly basis is increasing, and the new airport is going to make it even easier for people to come visit this country. I think the future is bright: levels of service and appreciation for luxury brands among locals are going up.

Does the Rosewood intend to expand its presence in Cambodia in the near future?
We have already signed with Vattanac Capital to open another Rosewood in Siem Reap. This was signed two years ago, and we are about to move forward on that project.

We have been expanding elsewhere in the region as well: we just opened a branch in Phuket [Thailand], and plan to open another few locations in Bangkok, Laos and Hong Kong later this year. There are a lot of hotels in the pipeline, and many more that have already been signed and will begin being constructed soon. It’s been an aggressive expansion for what we believe is a great brand.

How is the Rosewood going to stand out among other luxury hotels?
Ninety-five percent of our team here is local. Our focus has not been to hire people with experience, but rather to hire based on personality and attitude, and then focus on training. Our focus here, first and foremost, is on the team. If our team feels good and is happy, then ultimately the hotel will be more successful.

Our aim right now is to get the service right. The profit will come on its own.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused

  • Phnom Penh condo market loses steam

    Just four new condominiums were launched for sale last year in the capital, down from 17 in 2020, according to research by CBRE Cambodia. The four developments comprised “more than 1,000” units, while the 17 in 2020 consisted of 10,866, the real estate firm reported. CBRE Cambodia categorises condos as “high-range”, “