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Interview with Achim Lenders

Senior Vice President of Operations – Rosewood Hotels.

How has the concept of luxury evolved over the years in relation to hospitality and why do you think this change has come about?

In some ways it is still the same. It is still about being unique and exclusive. Today, customers are well informed and knowledgeable, they want to know the people behind the product. Luxury without provenance or a clear point of view is not going to stand the test of time. The experience with the product needs to provide a connection on an emotional level. It is not just a label or a brand, it is about who you are and what you stand for.

What do you predict the definition of luxury with regards to hospitality will be in 50 years?

In many ways the fundamentals will remain the same. Our guests come to indulge and leave their day to day life behind. We need to create unique products that represent the destination in a thoughtful yet luxurious manner. It is not about expensive materials but instead crafting a story that will stand the test of time. Service needs to be discreet and efficient and the food & beverage experiences, bespoke and of the highest quality.

How can you create new experiences for clients that stand the test of time or does one need to create endlessly new experiences?

The notion of travel is discovery. As hoteliers our role is to understand the destination, connecting with the local community, artisans and craftsmen and thus introducing them into our guest’s journey. It’s about the attention to detail and the careful storytelling of both the product as well as the creators of these products. We must endeavour to be both meticulous and particular in how we execute the stay of our guests. It isn’t about simply curating new experiences but refining and evolving already existing ones. We can all be inspired by Japanese culture and its never ending pursuit of perfection.

What is your ultimate luxury hospitality experience?

The moment where the destination, the hotel itself, the product and the host all align and create a real sense of place in which you know you are going to be taken care of and can relax. That’s when I can switch off and just allow the destination to take me away.