Against a field of major industry players, it takes more for a smaller and less well-established business to win a place as one of the finalists in the Best HK Travel and Hospitality Brand category at the Enterprising Hong Kong Brand Awards 2017. Lucas Lai, head of Madera Hospitality Management, says that in the highly competitive Hong Kong hospitality market the creation of a distinctive brand has been crucial to the commercial success of Madera Hotels & Residences. "The Madera brand is relatively new and we can't be compared to the international hotel brands, however we can say we are a market leader among boutique hotel brands in Hong Kong," he explains. The group's first serviced apartment block – now the 106-room Madera Residences, opened in Jordan in 2002. Accompanied by the launch of the Madera brand concept, the 87-room Hotel Madera Hong Kong opened next door to the Residences in 2012. Last year the Hotel Madera Hollywood, on Hollywood Road in Central, added a further 38 rooms to Madera's hospitality capacity. According to Lai, the company's success is due to the three key elements of the brand: software, hardware and state-of-the-art technology. "First, and foremost, is the personalised customer service – our software – delivered by our operations team and management team. This is the crucial reason why we stand out in the market." "The second reason is our hardware: the stylish design and the contemporary art and decor in all our Madera properties." Lai cites the Hotel Madera Hong Kong in Jordan as an example, where Madera managing director David Fong worked with a Spanish designer to achieve a natural look – utilising wood as a prominent feature for its environmentally friendly nature. An art gallery was also included on the ground floor. The inspiration behind the Hollywood Hotel is to capture the glamour of Hollywood's golden age, an era gifted with stars such as Chaplin, Monroe, Hepburn, Sinatra and Crosby. The room and suites in the new hotel feature neoclassical furniture and are richly decorated in vibrant tones. The final major attribute of the Madera brand, that features in both its hotels and serviced apartments, is its state-of-the-art technology. Among the services and facilities available at Madera properties are very fast Wi-Fi connection, game room, mobile phone with unlimited internet access, free long distance and local calls. Having carved out as a stylish and individual place for itself in the city's contested hospitality market, the business has also been steadily growing its contribution to Hong Kong's lively café and restaurant scene, with Madera Cafe. Offering boutique coffee, organic tea and light refreshment for the health consciousness, each of the cafe is decked out in European-style design, and in keeping with the Madera brand, wood again plays a major role. The first Madera Cafe was opened in 2015 on Shau Kei Wan East Avenue in a traditional residential area. "To continue the success of the shop in Shau Kei Wan, we are now expanding our establishment to Wong Cheuk Hang and Redhill Plaza," Lai says, adding that a fourth cafe is planned for Kwun Tong. Last year, Madera Group created its own Madera Loyalty Programme to help retain frequent visitors and develop its brand, along with putting hotels, serviced apartments and café customers at the centre of its offerings. The customer-centric approach of Madera Hotels & Residences has been consistently recognised in high customer and industry rankings for outstanding service and management. In addition, Hotel Madera Hong Kong was the first property in Hong Kong and China to be honoured with the prestigious Eco-Hotel certificate by Germany-based TÜV Rheinland.