There is no SOP or PMP that can define or teach true service, and it really is about the people that work at the hotel.

Clifford Weiner is the General Manager of Island Shangri-La, having joined the Shangri-La Group in 2010. With over 14 years of experience within the group, he started as the Executive Assistant Manager of Food and Beverage at Shangri-La Singapore. Mr. Weiner has held various leadership positions, including the General Manager of Traders Hotel Singapore in 2013, where he oversaw the creation of the Jen brand and the transformation of the property into Hotel Jen Singapore Tanglin. In 2016, he opened the Hotel Jen flagship in Beijing, successfully establishing a unique local community through partnerships and events, including launching Trainyard, a commercial gym and fitness center that achieved top market positioning. In October 2023, he was appointed as General Manager of the flagship property in Hong Kong

Tell us a little bit about your 3-year renovation now that it is over, what was the process like and how has the feedback been?

Island Shangri-La’s has seen continuous enhancement over the last four years.Over 300 guest rooms have been renovated;  the entire 8/F was re-conceptualised with a new pool, water play for children, new restaurant and the launch of our new wellness concept YUN WELLNESS. We also recently launched our Family Floor with 21 suites and rooms and are about to announce two new premium suites, followed by a refurbishment of the Ballroom over the summer.

This four year renovation has helped to cement the hotel’s positioning as an urban oasis and a leisure and family destination in the heart of Hong Kong. We have had incredibly positive feedback and each part of the re-launch has been well received by Hong Kong and international guests alike.

What kind of experience would you recommend someone to experience when visiting your hotel?

As a leisure guest I would recommend staying at least for 2 to 3 nights to have time to experience our leisure facilities as well as the city.

The hotel is an urban oasis, a beautiful retreat from the high density urban space, so guests can enjoy the new pool, our new wellness concept YUN WELLNESS and a variety of local and international cuisines. We are also right in the heart of Hong Kong, with the greenery and hikes of Hong Kong Park and Victoria Harbour within a short walking distance, as well as the shopping experiences available in Pacific Place.

What's your long term goal for Shangri-La Hong Kong Island?

Island Shangri-La is one of the key flagship properties of Shangri-La Group and we aim to be the hotel where we launch new concepts and strategies which are then further rolled out into other properties. For example, YUN WELLNESS launched on the 8/G in June 2023 and has been such a success that we will be rolling out across other Shangri-La hotels soon.

Island Shangri-La is also a multiplier and a network generator hotel. It is a place where guests often stay for the first time at a Shangri-La property, and get a sense of what we do and end up falling in love with the brand as a whole.

With your intensive experience in Asia, can you share with us what's the most valuable lessons you have learned about Luxury in Asia?

I think the key component is that no matter how beautiful the assets you have, whether it is newly renovated or classic and traditional - the people and the service will always be the key to having luxury customers come back and stay loyal.

There is no SOP or PMP that can define or teach true service, and it really is about the people that work at the hotel - their passion, and their  love for hospitality that define true luxury hospitality.

What do you like most about being a GM?

What is exciting about a GM role is that it is extremely diverse - we deal with a lot of business aspects from daily operations to strategy and marketing. We also have to manage so many disparate business units which are all specialities in themselves. For example, in F&B at Island Shangri-La, I have to oversee everything from all-day-dining to Michelin-starred restaurants; from Western to Chinese to Japanese - and each of these restaurants needs to be treated differently, and marketed separately.

The variables of this job make it very exciting and special, because truly no day is the same as the last!

What is the advice you could give to someone who wants to be in the luxury hotel segment?

My advice to anyone looking to enter the luxury hotel segment is to get as much exposure to hospitality in different geographical areas - because our customers and our colleagues come from all over the world - so having a deep understanding of people and cultures is key to understanding how to provide a luxury service.

It is also very important to have worked in different areas of luxury hotels to understand how the whole process and operations works, so you can then learn how to drive the business.

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