Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group had its largest delegation of property representatives from around the world in Sydney and Melbourne this week, meeting with trade partners and media.
The ultra-luxury hospitality company has 37 properties at present, with the most recent addition Mandarin Oriental Costa Navarino debuting last month in Greece – the brand’s first in the country – and the relaunch last week of Mandarin Oriental Singapore after a six-month refurbishment. In the second half of 2023, Mandarin Oriental will add two further hotels in London at Mayfair, and a third location in Switzerland, in Zurich.
Chris Orlikowski, Global PR for Mandarin Oriental, said the arrival this month of the group’s new Chief Executive, Laurent Kleitman, begins a new chapter for the hotelier. Kleitman was most recently President and Chief Executive of Parfums Christian Dior, the largest luxury fashion beauty business of LVMH.
“His arrival really marks the transition of the brand from being a hospitality brand into a luxury brand. We are looking into different business verticals, investing heavily into Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes, Shop MO and of course our properties in the portfolio,” Orlikowski said.
“There is a lot of momentum at the moment and the brand is really growing,” he added.
Long-standing Sales Representative for the brand, Peter Hession, told LATTE that bookings from Australia have been “very strong for Europe since the pandemic.”
“We’re now seeing recovery emerging from Asia as well. Bangkok has been very popular. Hong Kong was the latest to open up and Singapore is doing very well.”
Hession says the Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes product is driving a lot of interest.
“The concept built on the demand for more privacy that followed the pandemic, when people wanted exclusivity. We’ve had healthy bookings from Australia,” he noted, telling LATTE the options in Southern France have been popular.
Exclusive Homes has expanded to include a ski resort in Oberlech in the Austrian Alps, a property in London, another in the Cotswolds, Ibiza, Spain, Bali and Phuket. Hession said he believes the product would work well in the Australian market.
The latest development in the Homes space is a partnership with Michelin-starred Spanish chef, Quique Dacosta. Guests of the exclusive home on Tagomago Private Island, just off Ibiza, are invited to host an intimate dinner party with a curated 13-course menu designed exclusively by Chef Dacosta incorporating the best flavours of the region.
Hession told LATTE he feels Mandarin Oriental will have a hotel property in Australia “sooner, rather than later”. Sydney is an obvious choice, however, the city is a “little harder” to source a location because the property needs to have Harbour views. Whereas “Melbourne is a little easier to find a good spot” – meaning views aren’t everything in the Victorian capital.
Hession, who will celebrate 20 years with Mandarin Oriental in 2024, says the Australian market has swung from a prominent corporate focus in the 2000s, to now be driven by leisure sales.
“We still get corporate business, and it is hugely important to the group, but this market from Australia is definitely more leisure.”
“Since COVID we’ve noticed people are tending not to move as much, making longer stays and are selecting a higher room category. And they don’t go for the lead-in room category anymore,” he said. Pre-pandemic, the average length of stay by Aussies at Mandarin Oriental properties was 2.5 nights. Now, that figure is between four and five-nights.
Hession said the leisure market also spends more compared to the corporate guest, lapping up spa treatments and experiencing the dining opportunities on-site. Mandarin Oriental has 23 Michelin stars at its hotels around the world.
He said another trend Mandarin Oriental has detected is a greater mix of business/leisure travel since COVID, using an example of a business executive staying five nights in Hong Kong, then having their partner join them and adding on the weekend.
This week’s events Down Under included members from Mandarin Oriental’s hotels in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, London, Bangkok and Milan.
Captured by LATTE at Monday night’s event in Sydney from left are Jacopo Negrini, Mandarin Oriental Milan; Chris Orlikowski, Global PR, Mandarin Oriental; Irene Tan, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong; Nancy Harwick, Mandarin Oriental London; Peter Hession, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, ANZ; Supansa Bourke, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok; Brenda Lim, Mandarin Oriental Singapore; and Syazleen Eliza Arshad, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur.