Can service excellence be maintained in the midst of global expansion?
It was a Monday, right after Mid-Autumn Festival when I arrived back in Hong Kong. The whole city seemed busier than usual, traffic was horrid, and everyone seemed to have a stressed look painted on their faces – almost as if lamenting their imminent return to real life after the holiday festivities.
Meanwhile, people at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s flagship property at 5 Connaught Road, Central seemed to be whistling to a different tune, as the doorman chirpily chimed in, “Welcome home to the Mandarin Oriental, Sir.” As I stepped foot onto the unassuming driveway of the 1960s landmark, all feelings of tension started to dissipate. The doorman’s greeting started to make sense. That sense of tranquility that enveloped the property made me feel as though I was indeed coming home.
That sense of tranquility that enveloped the property made me feel as though I was indeed coming home.
Everyone in Hong Kong knows “The Mandarin”. After all, it has been setting the standard for five-star hotels in the country for the past five decades. Everything – from its opulent marble receiving hall, Michelin-starred restaurants, well-equipped hotel amenities, and 24-hour butler service all the way down to its little details in-room – are nothing short of splendid. When you think of Cantonese food par excellence, Man Wah is one of the institutions that come top of mind. When you need to sleep like a baby, all of their rooms would do, since rooms and suites alike boast of Egyptian cotton duvets. The Mandarin reinvented the traditional, and, in the process, created classics.
But one cannot help but think, “Can service excellence be maintained in the midst of global expansion?” Finding the answer lies in looking back at how the brand started.
The Mandarin reinvented the traditional, and, in the process, created classics.
The Mandarin has always been about being that home away from home for locals and international visitors alike. Every moment matters in creating that experience. Upon entering the property’s double-door entrance, the guest relations officer standing by the lobby immediately attends to your needs. Nothing you ask for is too much. You never feel as though there are at most 500 other guests being served alongside you. Upon taking a glimpse at its amenities, you will see how every nook and cranny is tailor-fitted to serve every demanding guest’s demands. You will feel as though you never left the comfort of your own home. Upon exploring its food and beverage options, you will notice that every dish is made with the best available ingredients, but, more than anything else, reminds you of Ah Ma’s cooking.
Whilst lounging at the Clipper Lounge with a cup of Taste of the Legend, I came to realize one thing about The Mandarin: its steady growth cannot be attributed to one factor. It is a careful balance of a lot of factors, really. But, it may all be because it has stayed true to its vision through the years – and that is to treat everyone like family.