Mandarin Oriental, renowned for its luxurious city hotels, is expanding its presence in the leisure market in response to increasing demand. The company’s portfolio of resorts, which already includes prime locations such as Lake Como and Dubai, will soon welcome its first Greek property this summer – the Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino, a stunning beachfront resort.
“We strongly believe we should follow both the leisure and business channels,” said Luca Finardi, area vice president of operations and general manager of Mandarin Oriental, Milan. “This is a perfect time” for Mandarin Oriental.
According to Finardi, the primary goals for Mandarin Oriental in the near future are to redirect the customer mix towards leisure, expand the new Exclusive Homes by Mandarin Oriental private homes inventory and expand the brand to 50 properties by 2025.
Despite the challenging recruitment and retention faced in 2022, Finardi reported a strong year with extraordinary demand and a fantastic recovery from COVID. The signs for 2023 are positive, he said, with many people showing an eagerness to return to the hospitality business.
Mandarin Oriental has several openings in the near future, including the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair in London in spring 2023, Zurich in fall 2023 and Boca Raton, Florida in 2024. The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi is also set to be rebranded as the Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi. Additionally, the historic hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland has been converted into the Mandarin Oriental Palaze, Luzerne.
Finardi stated that while some hotels are fully owned and others are joint ventures, the majority of Mandarin Oriental’s future properties will be managed arrangements. However, he added that the brand will never exclude any possible acquisition.
Unique Approach of Mandarin Oriental
Finardi highlighted that Mandarin Oriental sets itself apart from its competitors through its unique approach to hotel development. The brand’s focus is centered on location, with an emphasis on engaging local architects to bring a sense of place to each project.
Moreover, the brand prioritizes building community connections, especially in its food and beverage offerings. According to Finardi, the restaurant is designed to cater not only to guests but also to the local community. The aim is to create a space that is cherished by both visitors and residents, whether they are in town for business or pleasure.
Finardi says it is then that “locals become ambassadors for the hotel and will recommend it to friends when they visit.”
High Priority Properties
Finardi emphasized that Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes is a top priority for the company, which he oversees. This partnership with StayOne has resulted in the collection of 20 exquisite homes in locations such as Bali, Marbella, Mallorca, the French Riviera, the U.K.’s West Country and a mountain resort in Austria. The homes are equipped with luxurious features such as pools, spas and outdoor facilities.
What sets these homes apart, according to Finardi, is the dedicated concierge services, private chefs, housekeeping and family-friendly experiences, as well as the benefits of the brand’s loyalty program, Fans of M.O. This recognition-based plan offers a range of benefits including complimentary breakfast and late checkout. These properties are ideal for families celebrating special occasions who seek a private villa with the exceptional standards of a luxury hotel brand.
Mandarin Oriental boasts a unique feature that sets it apart from other hotel chains: its Asian heritage. This legacy can be traced back to 1963, with the opening of The Mandarin in Hong Kong. The hotel quickly gained worldwide recognition for its exceptional service and for being the tallest building on the island at the time.
In keeping with the brand’s Asian roots, each Mandarin Oriental hotel offers an Asian tea service during check-in, which adds an authentic touch of hospitality to the guest experience.
“We aim to bring the Asian elements of grace, respect and a humble approach without losing any authenticity,” says Finardi.