Hotelier of The Month; Andreas Kraemer, General Manager at InterContinental Singapore

Having worked across Africa, Europe and APAC, Andreas Kraemer has been recognised by several world-renowned leisure and travel magazines, receiving top industry accolades. His strength is being able to provide exceptional service across cultures, Andreas introduces facets of the local culture of where a property is situated, and combines it with luxury lifestyle concepts. His speciality ranges from luxury and lifestyle boutique resorts to luxury city hotels, and has also opened and led one of the largest Spa retreats in the region. He has been in the role of General Manager at InterContinental Singapore since June 2020.

What is one lesson that you have learnt during the pandemic?

The importance of being open to explore, quick to adapt and of course teamwork. When the pandemic hit, everything changed overnight. Suddenly, the borders were closed and we could not receive any international guests; and at home, we were faced with rapidly changing Covid-19 restrictions.

Amidst all of these, our priority was to take care of our employees and find ways to keep the hotel  running. So we pulled together the different teams within the hotel to think out of the box for ways  to tide through this challenging period. Like the saying goes -- if you want to go fast, go alone; if you  want to go far, go together. Hence, with the input from talented individuals of diverse expertise, we  came up with a series of innovative experiences during this period - such as the Family Getaway room package that includes a bunk bed and in-room movie entertainment to ignite the fun and imagination of our children; our collaboration with Sigi Skin to develop a Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Lobby Lounge, a decadent vegan afternoon tea with superfood ingredients found in the award-winning local skincare; and "Suite Surprise" where we surprise our guest with a mystery suite that will only be revealed upon arrival.

Like many in the industry, it was definitely not an easy period -- but I am incredibly proud of the team for sticking through and the spirit of grit they have demonstrated.

What are you doing to prepare for international travelers returning?

Food is the heart and soul of travel and exploration and as both a luxury heritage landmark hotel and dining destination in the city, we want to truly push boundaries and expectations through the launch  of our new celebrated flagship Italian Bistronomic concept - LUCE by Davide Giacomelli. Officially opening on 20 May, LUCE which means 'light' in Italian will spotlight fresh, local produce,  with a seasonal à la carte menu that Chef de Cuisine Davide Giacomelli will refresh on a quarterly basis. An ever-changing menu and commitment to the freshest produce allows us to offer our guests  a novel and quality experience whenever they return. Our signature items include the Acquerello Lobster, Merluzzo alla Puttanesca and LUCE-misu.

Chef Davide and his team also have plans for the coming months to introduce a convivial weekend brunch experience. The menu will incorporate a plethora of classic treats that are commonly found along the streets of Italy, including chestnuts freshly roasted over a huge round pan and showcase kitchens that encourage interaction with the Chefs. Live music will add an element of revelry; whilst Saturday brunch will cater to bon vivants, Sundays will see a more family-friendly atmosphere.

Aside from LUCE by Davide Giacomelli, InterContinental Singapore is home to Michelin recommended Man Fu Yuan, a stalwart in the Chinese fine dining scene in Singapore; not to mention, the gorgeous centrepiece of our hotel - The Lobby Lounge where we serve up our range of signature afternoon tea experiences. In the evening, the space transforms into a charming backdrop for a good wind down session over unlimited exquisite wines, Prosecco, beer and gourmet nibbles. Now with the easing of Safe Management measures in Singapore evenings are made livelier with the comeback of our resident live musicians - where our guests are treated to a soulful dining experience with soothing Jazz and Light Classics playing in the background.

We strive to continue innovating and refreshing our experiences to provide inclusive and experiential  guest journeys at our luxury heritage hotel. Committed to championing equality for LGBTQ+ citizens,  guests and colleagues, we recently launched the Celebrate Love, Celebrate You package to treat our  LGBTQ+ guests to a pampering suite staycation that includes an exclusive Club InterContinental  experience and a Hydrating Facial Treatment at Mendis Aesthetics for half the usual price.

What do you like most about being a hotelier?

It's an incredibly lively and vibrant industry - every day is different! One day we can be planning a wedding and the next day, launching a new restaurant. It's dynamic and fast-paced with many  opportunities to learn something new!

Moreover, people are at the heart of our industry. Though it can be hectic at times, it's always rewarding when we see our guests leave with a smile on their face. That's when we know our hard work has paid off and it rejuvenates us to take on the next challenge.

And not to mention the melting pot of cultures under one roof. This role has allowed me to work with  a diverse and talented team from different backgrounds. The most recent addition would be Chef Davide, the Chef de Cuisine of our flagship Italian restaurant, LUCE. He is Italian, previously lived in Paris and has worked at multiple Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe -- this is actually his first  time relocating to South-east Asia. Our guest profiles also stretch across the globe. Recently, we welcomed German football legend Roman Weidenfeller and the team from Borussia Dortmund and last month Bollywood actress and former beauty queen, Gul Panag and her family.

So in a nutshell, the diverse and personal nature of being a hotelier drives my love and passion for my career.

What is your advice for those who want to be a successful hotelier?

Being in the people business, it's important to have empathy and develop a true understanding of our guests' needs; and it all starts with having genuine care and concern towards the people around you. Also, be curious about the world -- ask questions and be ready to learn and adapt. In the VUCA environment we live in today, change is the only constant. The hospitality industry is definitely a dynamic and enjoyable space. It has endless opportunities for you to grow and develop yourself professionally and as a person. I tell everyone that starts off in our industry, to not to forget to enjoy yourself; it's not a job, it's a lifestyle.

For more visit InterContinental Singapore.