Anne Arrowsmith is a British hotelier who has been with 137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts since 2016. She initially served as General Manager at the award-winning luxury all-suite 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai, but now oversees all aspects of operations for both 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok and 137 Pillars House, working directly with the owners in curating the 137 Pillars brand, and seeking expansion opportunities through a number of potential new properties that are currently under development.
The notion of luxury means different things to different people, so what does luxury mean to you personally?
One of the greatest luxuries to me, is the gift of time. Any service that frees me up to focus on what’s important to me, what brings me joy, and just as vitally, what I love to do, is a luxury. Hence, I’d much prefer to have a travel expert search my flights, arrange my itinerary, and research a destination for me and provide me options than spend my time doing the initial work. Similarly, within hospitality, having others ‘lift the load’ is a blessing - from being met off a flight, understanding my personal preferences, giving me peace of mind, and a feeling of pampering.
Who are ‘luxury travelers’? Or is there such a thing as ‘luxury travelers’? (Maybe they are just people with a lot of money? Or maybe they are simply people with great taste?)
This falls to each individual’s value system, tastes, and where we might be on our own particular journey. Having backpacked around the world and also having been privileged to visit and stay in stunning surroundings, the sense of wonderment is no less memorable or diluted. It’s vital to experience the simple and the struggles in order to truly appreciate advantages and opportunities.
What do they look for when they travel?
Memories and experiences. My personal value system is to do everything as well as you can at the time as the price is forgotten far quicker than the memories. And if you can say, “I would have paid more than I was charged” then it’s a wonderful testament and feeling.
What’s the most challenging aspect in running a luxury hotel?
Getting each and every individual right and each and every detail personalized, consistently, each and EVERY TIME.
What is your advice for owners who want to build a successful luxury brand/hotel?
Be passionate about the project first and foremost and the profit will follow - and understand it’s a long-term adventure. In order to create anything exceptional and extraordinary we need visionaries and people who dare to dream, and are prepared to venture along the path less trodden. Remember, there will be great and grand times and there will be the unexpected and difficult challenges. Meet both with humility, grace and humor. Create something that enriches people’s lives, inspires and educates, has a sense of place, and respects history as well as the environment and nature.