Banyan Tree boss plays down luxury

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 October, 2009, 12:00am

Is luxury becoming a dirty word? It might appear so as some executives now want to distance their product from this overused pejorative. Take, for example, Banyan Tree resorts founder Ho Kwon-ping, who was here on Thursday to make a fresh pitch for new members to its Private Collection portfolio.

'We're not about luxury. We don't have chandeliers and marble,' Ho explained. 'It's more about comfort. You want to be comfortable. We've always said Banyan Tree resorts are about romance and intimacy but not just for couples. The [larger] Private Collection properties are designed for intimacy and romance with your friends and family.'

The concept was obviously aimed at the bankers and big spenders at the Watermark event. Ho did his best selling the various resplendent resorts and he admitted he had learned a thing or two about being charismatic the last time he was in Hong Kong. 'At the last Style Awards [where Banyan Tree won in the hospitality category], I learned how to really stand out and make an impression. You just wear dark glasses indoors. [Movie director] Wong Kar-wai was there and I thought, wow, he looks like a star. But I forgot my dark glasses tonight.'