Personal approach has benefits

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2011, 12:00am


While large 5-star hotels have been the mainstay of the executive business traveller, 'boutique' hotels are also an option. Tiring of sprawling, busy lobbies and dining rooms, the frequent traveller might opt for these. To appeal to such a guest, all ensure facilities exist to back up the roaming worker: broadband and or Wi-fi connections, and a business centre with optional secretarial services are a must, as are conference rooms for meetings.

In Hong Kong, one of the first to fulfil all these requirements was Hotel LKF. With just 95 rooms perched above the hub of Hong Kong's drinking and dining location, Lan Kwai Fong - after which it is named - there are some good restaurants and bars on the lower floors. Rooms are sleek and luxurious, with extras that include butler service, in-room espresso-maker and Molton Brown amenities. Secretarial services are available around the clock.

In Macau, the Altira Macau is an upscale refuge. Formerly The Crown, Macau, in Taipa district, it rebranded in 2009. It is still a lush, friendly hotel with lots of space in rooms and public areas, and some extravagantly large suites with bar and dining areas that could double up as meeting spaces, although there are more formal meeting rooms available. For business lunches, its Michelin-starred Italian restaurant Aurora can wow with views of the Macau peninsula - or there are private rooms. All 216 rooms have audio-visual systems and big bathrooms.

For those doing business in Hangzhou, while the city itself and its many hotels around its West Lake are mostly large, a few kilometres away amid tea plantations is Landison Longjing Resort. Each of its 51 spacious rooms has an advanced television and hard-drive system: the screen flips between television and computer functions at the press of a remote-control button, and fast broadband is complimentary. A wireless mouse and keyboard allow guests to access the internet from the desk, armchairs or bed and USB memory sticks can be used through hard drive USB ports. The hotel is Wi-fi-enabled and meeting rooms have verdant views.

In Perth, Western Australia, The Richardson Hotel's 74 rooms and suites are an elegant cut above the larger 5-star hotels. Several have views of King's Park and all have balconies.

Work by local artists adorn walls and rooms and suites have a residential feel - the latter's kitchen is large and pre-cooked dishes are stocked in the in-room fridge-freezer, which can be cooked in an oven. Its French restaurant Opus, using prime Australian produce, is considered one of Perth's finest. A lounge off the lobby offers complimentary hot and cold drinks and Wi-fi all day; there is complimentary in-room cable and Wi-fi broadband. There are two boardrooms and business and secretarial services available. Some of the big brands know that many travellers have developed a taste for smaller-scale accommodation. Hyatt International is one group to develop a separate tier: Andaz hotels.

With a handful of hotels in the Americas, one in Europe, one scheduled to open soon in Delhi, the mood in these is contemporary. The 267-room London property, in the red-brick shell of a railway hotel, next to Liverpool Street station in Spitalfields, retains some Victorian interior features dating back to 1884.

Smaller in scale, and retaining the parent group's name is the new Shangri-La Hotel, Paris. Its 81 rooms and suites - housed in the converted 1896 mansion home of Prince Roland Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte's grandnephew - is decorated to reflect its origins. Classical French-style furniture and fittings frame an occasional concession to the 21st-century, such as large flat-screen televisions and complimentary broadband access. It is situated in the 16th arrondissement, with views of the Eiffel Tower, River Seine and the Louvre.