Excessive-end accommodations are second nature to Stephen Alden. With Starwood he led the St Regis and Luxurious Assortment manufacturers globally. He was CEO of Maybourne Resort Group (Claridge’s, The Connaught, The Berkeley) for 9 years, and later CEO of The Set Assortment (London’s Resort Cafe Royal, The Conservatorium in Amsterdam, the Lutetia in Paris). He has served on the boards of Walpole British Luxurious and Ferragamo’s Lungarno Assortment, he advises Bain & Co on luxurious and hospitality verticals, and final 12 months, he accepted a brand new problem, and was named CEO of Raffles Accommodations and Orient Categorical.
Over the course of your profession, how has the idea of “luxurious” modified? We’ve come a good distance from the times when formality, extra and bodily product outlined luxurious. Immediately luxurious is a state of being, grounded within the highly effective mixture of humility, humanity, sustainability, design, craft and expertise, which all really make a distinction after they come collectively. Consumption is extra aware and folks wish to be snug with how issues function behind the scenes. Our well-travelled visitors count on an expensive expertise to have a significant affect on them as an individual: they search to be educated and even reworked. They wish to discover and uncover in their very own time and their very own method, and so hyper-personalisation is vital. Luxurious is about spending time with family and friends of all generations. Put up-pandemic, the angle is to make each journey depend—and finally we’re all travellers!
You will have a fantastic knack for working throughout boutique resort teams the place every particular person property has a robust identification—how do you imbue that individuality whereas additionally sustaining the spirit of the father or mother firm? I’ve all the time believed that the final word talent, when branding the world’s really nice, extremely luxurious accommodations, lies in judging the place group and model synergies cease and individuality begins. A model can obtain extra on the subject of employees profession growth, funding in expertise, and model partnerships, for instance. Nonetheless, on the subject of taking one’s place in a metropolis and turning into a part of the social material of a neighborhood, delivering a service that’s extra private in nature, and preserving the cultural heritage, then you need to assume regionally.
What are your ambitions for the 2 manufacturers? What adjustments can we count on to see sooner or later? I wish to see the 2 manufacturers on the centre of the business—inspiring younger individuals to make hospitality their profession of alternative, collaborating on initiatives to make the world a greater place, all the time related and nonetheless being a successful competitor for our homeowners and traders.
We’re getting into an period of unprecedented enlargement, with plans to greater than double Raffles’ portfolio over the subsequent three years. This 12 months noticed the extremely profitable opening of Raffles Udaipur, with extra properties to return in Dubai (The Palm), Bahrain and Macau. Subsequent 12 months and past, the model will debut flagship areas in London (2022), Boston (2022), Doha (2022), Moscow (2022), St. Petersburg (2023), and Sentosa (2023), amongst others.
How does sustainability play into that imaginative and prescient? Luxurious with out sustainability doesn’t exist. Sustainability and social duty are key focus areas for Raffles, as certainly they’re for our father or mother model Accor. Past implementing new applied sciences and protocols to handle plastic use, vitality effectivity, water consumption, waste discount and carbon emissions, we’re working carefully with native communities and organisations devoted to cultural preservation and biodiversity, to assist sustainable progress.
What about expertise? Know-how would be the game-changer, each in operating environment friendly buildings and in delivering hyper-personalised experiences.
What provides you hope at this second? I imagine that, as people, we are going to finally act earlier than it’s too late. I’m optimistic that breakthroughs in expertise and a world sense of urgency will make the distinction. The pandemic has taught us so much. I joined Raffles at a interval of thrilling ahead momentum, with a number of prestigious tasks within the pipeline. I’m trying ahead to us all with the ability to rediscover acquainted locations, discover the brand new, re-spark the creativeness, and create long-lasting reminiscences. As we’ve all the time mentioned at Raffles, true luxurious is just not about what you could have, it is about how you are feeling.