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Interview with General Manager of the 2022 Luxury Lifestyle Awards TOP 100 Hotels and Resorts for Intercontinental Singapore & TOP 100 Hotel General Managers, Mr Andreas Kraemer

InterContinental Singapore is a multi-award-winning hotel in the heart of Singapore’s cultural district, which offers its guests an unmatched home base from which to explore one of Asia’s most advanced Cities. Designed in celebration of the arts and cultural districts of Bugis and Bras Basah, this Luxury Lifestyle Awards TOP 100 winning hotel and TOP 100 Hotel General Managers provides its guests a dining experience that is matched only by the Michelin starred street foods that have made Singapore the foodie destination that it is today. A beautiful outdoor pool offers relief on a hot summer’s day of exploring the city center, and guests enjoy an all-inclusive luxury experience at one of Singapore’s most historic landmarks.

Strategically positioned, InterContinental Singapore holds one of the best locations in the entire city and brings in tourists from all over the globe. To learn more about this and the country’s growing tourist demand, we sat down with the man behind the hotel, General Manager, Mr. Andreas Kraemer.

 

Luxury Lifestyle Awards: Please give us an idea of what Singapore means to you and the team.

Andreas Kraemer: Singapore is a mighty little red dot, with a melting pot of culture. A sunny, tropical island in South-east Asia, the attractive city is known for its vibrancy and world-class standards which earned herself countless international accolades. To us, Singapore is a garden city with cutting-edge innovation and home to many brilliant individuals who are the gateway to new culture and business opportunities locally and internationally.

LLA: How long have you been with InterContinental Singapore?

AK: I’ve been with InterContinental Singapore for over 2 years now. Coming June, I’ll be celebrating my third work-anniversary with the hotel.

LLA: How long have you been in the hospitality industry and where did you get started?

AK: I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years now. It all started in my father’s bakery where I developed an affinity with food from a young age. Hence, upon graduation, I naturally found an F&B role which so happened to be within a hotel. I remember my first day setting foot in the hotel’s back of house – the liveliness and vibrancy of the industry was intriguing. And in the days ahead – every day was different and filled with excitement. One day, I 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! Not to mention the melting pot of culture under one roof – it has allowed me to meet and work with people from all over the world, deepening my understanding and appreciation of different cultures. That’s when I knew that I wanted to be a part of this people business and in a blink of an eye, 20 years have flown by.

LLA: How would you define your management style?

AK: I have adopted a transformational leadership style. In the hospitality industry, the greatest asset of the business is our employees. By empowering them, we are creating a culture where everyone has a sense of belonging and pride in their positions and the work that they do. With that, the team will ultimately see the things they do more than just a mere job but a lifestyle that is creating impact.

LLA: What brings you the most joy in your position at InterContinental Singapore?

AK: I find great joy when I see our guests leave with a smile on their faces. That’s when I know, the team’s hard work has paid off and it rejuvenates us to take on the next challenge. And I’m also glad to be surrounded by an absolutely talented and dedicated senior leadership team who constantly demonstrates great passion in their role, challenging me each day to think outside the box, in order to deliver True Hospitality.

LLA: Please run us through a day in the life of a general manager at InterContinental Singapore

AK: I like to start my day prioritizing my tasks, and for me, our guests and the InterContinental team always come first. Therefore, besides regular meetings with the team – from guest satisfaction, through to commercial, F&B and safety and security, I am on the floors daily to observe and interact with our service staff. This helps me gain a better understanding of the challenges they face and highlight areas that we can improve to better meet our guests’ evolving needs. I also remain in touch with key leaders within IHG and our owning company to allow for a transparent and on-point operation.

LLA: What are the biggest changes you have seen in hospitality over the years

AK:   In the last two years, the hospitality industry had the opportunity to review practices, upgrade, and pivot to better future-proof the business – implementing strategies to deliver unique experiences, strengthen customer relationships, build customer loyalty, and retain their respective brand identity. Out of which, the few biggest changes I have seen is how hotels are pivoting towards the use of technology and expanding their training program for their service staff to be digital savvy – equipped to run online e-stores, websites, guests’ management, and reservation engines and keep up a lively social media presence.

LLA: Why is food so important to the culture in Singapore, and what can guests expect to see at your restaurants?

AK: It’s essentially a food paradise here in Singapore.  Everywhere you go, there’s always a restaurant or eatery around the corner. It’s almost like national identity and a unifying cultural thread and that’s what make each individual uniquely Singaporean. With that, we aim to be the preferred dining destination in the heart of the city, where under one roof, guests can find a wide range of restaurants for explore –

  • Man Fu Yuan helmed by Executive Chinese Chef Aaron Tan, has grown to become one of Singapore’s best Chinese restaurants and is Michelin recommended for three years in a row now. Guests can look forward to a refined dining experience underpinned by traditional culinary techniques with a touch of modernity and an elevated experience with a handpicked selection of quality wines or premium tea pairings.
  • The Lobby Lounge, the charming centerpiece of the hotel is known for its signature afternoon tea which features a different theme every few months, all handcrafted by our Executive Pastry Chef Desmond Lee, who is also one of Singapore’s Chocolate Masters. This month, we are running the Quintessential Nonya High Tea set which features signature Nonya creations inspired by the hotel’s heritage prescient.
  • LUCE by Davide Giacomelli, our signature Italian Bistronomic restaurant helmed by Chef Davide who has trained under the tutelage of multiple Michelin-starred chefs in Europe. Some of the highlights of his menu are the Lobster Risotto and LUCE-misu, a reinvented tiramisu that has impressed many of our guests. Guests can also look forward an array of Italian dining experiences which includes our Sunday Champagne Brunch, Saturday Lunch Bundle and Weekday Semi Buffet Lunch.
  • We most recently entered into a joint venture with Park90 to introduce our latest premier wine bar – Tenuta by Park90, which focuses on one of the most lauded wine countries in the world, Italy. With polished professionalism, fine food pairings and experiential events, Tenuta by Park90 ups the ante for wine enjoyment and immerses guests in the exciting Old and New World of Italian wines with over 400 labels. We have also a curated Signature Bites menu to offer a wine pairing experience that presents the best of InterContinental Singapore’s award-winning restaurants. LUCE by Davide Giacomelli and Man Fu Yuan.
  • We also have our tenants including Chikuyotei which offers a most authentic omakase experiences; renowned for their excellent unagi (grilled eel) selection, and Quaich Bar Wanderlust, one of the most exquisite whisky cocktail bars in Singapore that champions an approachable while pampering environment for whisky appreciation and cocktails inspired by a transatlantic selection of flavors.

LLA: What brings so many travelers to your hotel and what do you think would be the highlight of their stay?

AK: Most of our Travelers are attracted to the location of our hotel. We are well positioned in proximity to established historical enclaves including Arab Street, Haji Lane and Kampong Glam. The location is significant because it gives our guests a robust experiential stay with us – they will be able to experience our multi-faceted culture. From the moment they step out of our hotel, they are immersed in the heritage cultural character of the vibrant arts and cultural districts of Bugis and Bras Basah. And just a walk down the road, they will be busking in the bustling activities of the Central Business District, catching a glimpse of the daily lives of locals. And a short train ride would bring them to our city’s pride and joy – Marina Bay where they can admire the city’s beautiful skyline. It’s a full package with the key elements that showcase the essence of Singapore.

And the highlight of their stay would surely be the heritage inspired setting throughout the hotel where the old-world charm meets new. As the first luxury heritage hotel in Singapore, our hotel has become a landmark in the heart of historic Bugis, with its distinctive architecture and décor modelled after Peranakan homes and traditions.  Some key features are the timber flooring and ornate furnishings in our guest rooms, décor that encompasses an elegant blend of modern touches with subtle Peranakan undertones representative of the colorful two- and three-story shophouses, once home to a multi-ethnic community of settlers known as Bugis from Indonesia. Over at our Heritage Wing, the rooms and suites preserve the style of shophouses from the 1920s that overlook the streets below, to give guests a reminiscent of shophouse living.

At the heart of our business, we possess a deep understanding of food – that it is the heart and soul of travel and exploration. Hence with our extensive dining offerings, guests can look forward to a plethora of authentic cuisines at Man Fu Yuan, The Lobby Lounge, Tenuta by Park90 and LUCE by Davide Giacomelli.

LLA: Sustainability has become increasingly important in most industries today. What measures or practices do you have in place to conserve the environment?

AK:  As a hotel group, we have the IHG Green Engage™ system in place to track consumption data so that we can measure and manage our impact on the environment. With this data, our dedicated Green team will continually drive efforts to reduce energy, water and waste consumption. Some of the things we have done, includes installing energy efficient lighting in guest rooms and sustainable purchasing – ensuring that the items we purchase fits the 3R.  In fact, we have been awarded the ASEAN Green Hotel Awards 2022-2024, an affirmation to our efforts in achieving sustainability in various areas including the use of Green Products, efforts in 3R (Reducing waste, Reusing and Recycling resources and products) strategies, our energy efficiency program and water efficiency management. As for our dining, we are committed to Singapore’s ‘30 by 30’ vision and have embarked on our efforts to support local farmers. For example, at Man Fu Yuan, we have started using barramundi that is freshly caught in our Singapore waters and locally grown cress such as Alfalfa, Shiso and Mint. Our tomatoes and basil are also from Singapore’s urban farmers who are using the latest Japanese technology to cultivate these crops in nurseries nestled on rooftops of HDBs. Moving forward, we have plans to use leafy greens such as Xiao Bai Cai, Spinach, and Broccoli, once these local sources are available.

LLA: What does this Luxury Lifestyle Awards TOP 100 award mean for you and the team?

AK: It is a recognition of the dedication of our staff in delivering True Hospitality and an encouragement for us to continually innovate to elevate the luxury experiences of our guests. We are thankful to have been awarded the TOP 100 hotel & resorts in the world, and we look forward to achieving greater things in the new year ahead!

LLA: What exciting events do you have coming up and what can we expect for the future from you and InterContinental Singapore?

AK: We have a lot in store for InterContinental Singapore in the coming months. We recently welcomed onboard our Director of Luxury & Lifestyle, a new position to head our initiatives to transform our luxury offerings to deliver personalized and elevated guests’ luxury experiences. We also foresee more fruitful partnerships with luxury travel specialists to expand our customer base in the luxury segment to establish InterContinental Singapore as the preferred heritage luxury hotel to visit.

In line with being a dining destination, guests can also look forward to more exciting collaboration to come – since our first successful Four Hands event with Australia’s international award-winning top chef personality, Chef Patron and owner of the celebrated Nel. Restaurant. In March, Michelin recommend Man Fu Yuan will be launching 8-hands collaboration with legendary Chinese chefs in Singapore.

For dining, all our outlets will be continuously innovating, so there is always something new and fresh to look forward. In particular, LUCE by Davide Giacomelli will be introducing a Saturday Lunch Bundle with an attractive beverage package featuring unlimited Prosecco, Aperol Spritz, White Wine, Red Wine.

We have also partnered with Park90 to launch Tenuta, a wine lounge that offers a wide selection of high-end wines from the old and new worlds. We envision the sophisticated space situated at The Lobby Lounge, to become a hot spot in the heart of Bugis for our guests to gather and wind down with their family and friends to share the pleasures of fine wine.

For more information on Intercontinental Singapore, visit https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/us/en/singapore/sinhb/hoteldetail?cm_mmc=GoogleMaps-_-IC-_-SG-_-SINHB

 

 

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