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

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At