We Talk to Cristian Nannucci, GM of the ParkRoyal Collection Kuala Lumpur

Cristian Nannucci, GM of the ParkRoyal Collection Kuala Lumpur

The ParkRoyal Collection Kuala Lumpur has opened at the heart of Bukit Bintang. With a focus on sustainability, this unique property marks the biophilic brand’s first overseas foray from its native Singapore. Ong Chin Huat checked in for a staycation and grabbed the opportunity to speak with the Complex’s General manager Cristian Nannucci.

Owned by the Pan Pacific Hotels Group, whose parent company Singapore-listed UOL Group Limited, ParkRoyal Collection Kuala Lumpur comprises 527 rooms and suites. The complex also houses the Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Kuala Lumpur for longer-staying guests.

A special connection
The Park Royal Hotel (as it was previously known) holds a special place in the Luxurious Magazine story. My colleagues, Paul and Natasha Godbold decided they wanted to experience life in Malaysia and booked into the hotel 15 years ago to see if they could integrate themselves into the local culture. Their month-long stay at the Park Royal became the catalyst for a seven-year-long stay in Malaysia, and during this time, they founded Luxurious Magazine.

‘Green’ is the word
The ParkRoyal Collection Kuala Lumpur’s sister is the ParkRoyal Collection Pickering in Singapore, which was awarded the “World’s Leading Green City Hotel” at the World Travel Awards. In addition to this, the ParkRoyal Collection Marina Bay was the winner of the “World Responsible Tourism Awards 2021” by World Travel Mart, so this new addition to the group has some mighty big shoes to fill.

But fill it does, partially thanks to a roof terrace comprising 13,000 square feet of verdant greenery and plants, which features a vertical garden façade with sky planters and a raft of sustainable ideas and technology.

The hotel lobby with its liberal use of wood and plants

Some environmentally conscious features in the rooms include sustainable bathroom amenities, filtered drinking water solution, biodegradable packaging and a food-waste management system. The innovative food and beverage venues will no doubt add flourish to the exciting F&B scene in the heart of the Malaysian capital.

Thyme, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, has live cooking stations serving sustainably sourced local and western cuisine, while the Botanist Lounge and Bar celebrates Malaysian fauna diversity with thirst-quenching drinks incorporating local ingredients while guests can unwind under the stars at the Skye Chill Pool Bar.

Ong Chin Huat sat down with Cristian Nannucci, the Complex General Manager of the ParkRoyal Collection Kuala Lumpur, to learn more about what this new hotel is adding to the hospitality scene in Kuala Lumpur.

The exterior of the hotel

Luxurious Magazine: The ParkRoyal Collection made its debut in KL on 1 June; tell us how this hotel intends to make a mark on the hospitality scene in the Malaysian capital.
Cristian Nannucci: We want the ParkRoyal Collection Kuala Lumpur to become a new eco-chic icon and one of the leading social hubs in the city. Although it is set in a city, it will offer a refreshing green surrounding for guests, allowing them to reconnect with themselves, nature, and the community. We will wow our guests by delivering inspiring experiences, memorable stays, and the opportunity for heartfelt celebrations.

LM: Can you tell us about sustainability and its role in the hotel’s practices?
Cristian: The hotel integrates natural materials and forest shades in tandem with the hotel’s brand identity. It features environmentally conscious operations, including sustainable bathroom amenities, biodegradable packaging, filtered drinking water solution in every guestroom, and a food-waste management system.

The views over the city from the sky terrace

LM: Could you give us a few examples of the biophilia elements the ParkRoyal Collection KL has incorporated into its design?
Cristian: The hotel has been designed with the environment and wellness of being in mind; some ways we do this is with roof terrace greenery extending to 13,000 square feet, lush plants and a vertical garden façade with sky planters. Our guests can further immerse themselves with nature and relax in the in-house wellness facilities, such as St Gregory spa, a modern gymnasium, a fitness studio, and a resort-like swimming pool surrounded by lush greenery.

LM: The building where the ParkRoyal Collection KL is housed has a long and illustrious history and is a landmark in KL. Tell us when and how the Pan Pacific Hotels Group came about acquiring it and how long did they take to renovate.
Cristian: Parkroyal Hotel was redeveloped and repositioned to PARKROYAL COLLECTION Kuala Lumpur. The redevelopment project commenced in June 2020 and was completed at the end of May 2022.

The interior of the Thyme restaurant

LM: Tell us about the F&B outlets in the ParkRoyal Collection KL and the range of cuisine on offer.
Cristian: We have three innovative food and beverage venues that will become a popular addition to the local gastronomic landscape. We have Thyme (shown above), which is a culinary theatre with live cooking stations serving a sumptuous selection of sustainably-sourced local and western cuisine.

The very green and floral interior of the Botanist Lounge and Bar

The Botanist Lounge and Bar (above) is where Malaysian flora and fauna and its diversity are celebrated in its design, serving innovative drinks focused on local ingredients, while Skye Chill celebrates a serene space of well-being by day and a relaxing terrace lounge by night.

LM: As this is the first ParkRoyal Collection property outside Singapore, is the Pan Pacific Hotels Group planning any more in Malaysia or in other countries?
Cristian: There will be more in the pipeline, and the Group will announce it at a later stage.

LM: As the General Manager who has risen through the ranks of the hospitality industry, how would you define a five-star experience for a guest?
Cristian: 5-star experience is the level of pampering and personalised attention that guests receive during their stay. Our Tag line is LIVE | CREATE | INSPIRED to take their experience above and beyond for memorable and Instagrammable moments.

The hotel's rooftop swimming pool

LM: What do you hope a guest will take away after a stay at the ParkRoyal Collection KL?
Cristian: The experience must be one which will always be remembered for its ambience and service, ensuring that the guest will continue to have brand loyalty to ParkRoyal Collection Kuala Lumpur. Always returning to stay with us. We want our guests to make this hotel their second home when away from their own homes.

LM: You have worked in hotels in Europe and Asia. Can you tell us the difference you have experienced in the hospitality industry on both continents?
Cristian: In Europe, hospitality follows tradition and legacies for some historic hotels and how hospitality has been educated. I find Asia a faster, more progressive region where we create experiences in line with the latest trends and technology, especially with the local culture. I find in Asia; that creativity is well supported by the space and freedom you find around you, allowing you to be yourself.

LM: Is there a difference between managing a resort hotel and a city hotel? If yes, what are the differences?
Cristian: The difference comes from the experience, purpose of travel and the time spent in the hotel. In a city hotel, most guests are on some kind of business; hence the pace is faster, and they spend most of the time outside the hotel.

Inside the Green House

Depending on the location, most of the F&B guests can be from outside; therefore, it is crucial to be very active in marketing and socially connected. In a resort, guests spend their own money and look for relaxing and tropical experiences. They spend most of their time in the resort; hence your connection with them covers all aspects of their staying experience.

LM: Thank you for your time, Cristian. I thoroughly enjoyed our chat and learning about the hotel’s offerings and aims.

For further information on the ParkRoyal Collection Kuala Lumpur, please visit www.panpacific.com.

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We Talk to Cristian Nannucci, GM of the ParkRoyal Collection Kuala Lumpur 2

Ong Chin Huat

Luxurious Magazine Reporter

Having been the social editor of the Hong Kong edition of Tatler and as well as writing a twice-weekly column in Hong Kong’s leading English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post, Chin has met and interviewed a variety of people including business tycoons, supermodels, movie stars, royalty and world-class athletes. He also considers himself privileged to have attended some of the most talked about events and parties around the world. Chin counts art, fashion, food, interior design, literature, painting and travel among his passions.

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