Yesterday we ran our review on the J Plus Hotel by YOO in Hong Kong. In continuation of this, our South-East Asian based journalist Ong Chin Huat talked to Vivian Chau, the General Manager of the J Plus Hotel to find out about the idea behind its recent makeover and what guests can expect this little gem of a place.
LM: Tell me about the new look and branding of J Plus Hotel
A decade ago this property introduced the boutique hotel concept to Hong Kong. The hotel is the first boutique hotel in Hong Kong and the first Philippe Starck design hotel in Asia. It was called JIA boutique Hotel when it first opened in 2004. The sleek interior design twinned with our delicate ,non-intrusive services are highly rated by the fast living professionals and style conscious travellers since the hotel opened.
In celebrating the 10th birthday and its continuous success, the owner and I decided to do a refurbishment; to work with YOO again is definitely our first choice. When we initiated the collaboration ideas to YOO, very quickly, we came to a conclusion in working together again for the refurbishment, to bring in the new, trendsetting concepts to the city. This is because YOO Hotels and J Plus always share the same vision – to create a better hotel experience through design; a design with local character, electric experience and seamless services to elicit a feeling of human luxury at every touch point. We want our guests remember how they felt when stayed with us. It is all about engaging and caring, we know and it is proved in these 10 years, our guests will return.
We are proud to have once again partnered with Yoo Hotels in this exciting project to revitalize our iconic Philippe Starck hotel whilst also still remaining respectful of its history.
LM: Tell me about YOO Hotels – who owns it and what is their mission?
Yoo Hotels is part of Yoo Ltd. the globally recognised brand founded by designer Philippe Starck and entrepreneur John Hitchcox in 1999.
Yoo, the global deisgn brand synonymous with creating truly extraordinary living spaces has conceived Yoo Hotels to deliver inimitable guest experiences through seamless design and impeccable service for global travellers.
LM: What kind of clientele would J Plus Hotel appeal to?
When the hotel first opened in 2004, most of our clients were Westerners. In these few years, there are more Asians staying with us. Our guests are the fast living professionals and style-conscious travellers who are tired of the normal and mundane; and willing to pay a little extra over and above to others to celebrate design and seek for seamless services
LM: What are the main challenges in running a boutique hotel?
In a boutique hotel, manpower will not be as much as traditional hotels. Staff need to be smart, self-discipline and multitasked. They also need to understand the brand core value very well. It is not easy to find the right staff who have the abilities and characters to deliver the perceived values. A top priority in managing a boutique must be identifying and training staff who can be great personal ambassadors for the hotel. It is all about “ambience” “character” “personality”. It is absolutely imperative to have right people to deliver the right services at a right time.
Another very challenging topic is the economies of scale, we need to get the balance between the quality and what our targeted crowd is willing to pay.
LM: What can a guest expect when they stay at J Plus Hotel?
Good location, Distinctive character (physical as well as emotional in every details), personalised services; we hope our guests enjoy the whole staying experiences. It is a place to stay, to meet, to eat and to love.
LM: Tell me about the initiative J + YOO Style
Moving forward, J Plus Hotel by YOO will be working closely with galleries and local artists to initiate a series of programs to enhance the hotel image; and at the same time, support the local community in art and design development.
J Plus Hotel by YOO is located at 1-5 Irving Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.