From cinema to luxury hospitality – Paramount Hotels & Resorts

Thomas Van Vliet , CEO of Paramount Hotels & Resorts has recently sat down for an exclusive interview with CPP-LUXURY.COM to dicuss his companies ambitious development, positioning of the brand etc.

How would you describe the positioning of the Paramount Hotels & Resorts brand and how does the brand relate to lifestyle?

Paramount Hotels & Resorts will position itself as an international luxury lifestyle hotel company. Paramount hotels & resorts will focus on atrracting those belonging to the creative classes, encompassing for instance media, music, design, fashion, publishing and art to name a few……but at the same time attract all those who feel atracted to or want to be seen with the creatives

The paramount pictures logo with its mountain and 22 stars has been synonymous with entertainment and creativity and following in its footsteps paramount hotels & resorts will create an innovative and refreshing guest experience

Paramount Hotels and Resorts, along the lines of the studio model, will be conceived as a major release and will be developed by a team of uniquely creative people working together to direct, design and detail an exceptional experience, all with the signatures of the paramount hotels & resorts brand complemented by local accents.

Paramount Hotels & Resorts will stage a series of dynamic and sensory experiences, producing an experience that is unmistakable, inforgettable and therefore unmissable. Primary associations with the paramount pictures brand are linked to the word “film” and include paramount pictures entertainment and technology, hollywood glamour and california lifestyle

California lifestyle can be translated into cosmopolitan, bold, melting pot, al fresco, trendy, customized, cool, active, stylish, fresh, vibrant, organic and for instance carefree

Hollywood lifestyle can be translated into timeless, beautiiful, star treatment, red carpet, dramatic, theatrical, elegance, elite

Beside interior design, which are the key features, which link the hospitality brand to the world of cinema?

Each property will feature a designer or artist interpretation of the paramount pictures studio gate. The main lobby and other public areas will embody the iconic style one expects from a hollywood studio with application of transformational elements like digital signage, media mapping or movable walls, which all combined will create a theatrical atmospherethroughout their stay guests will be able to get access to the extensive paramount pictures movies library

Through the use of ipads in limousines:

- via the in-room home theatre
- in the relaxation area of the wellness center (on individual screens)
- on lcd screens integrated in some of the work-out equipment in the fitness centers

Through apps, guests will be able to connect to the latest “insider-news” from the entertainment industry. Art featured in our future properties will be produced by both local and international artists, and some of that art will be based on photography linked to the paramount pictures studio, including images from back-stage/ film production as well as from areas of the paramount pictures studio not accessible to the general public

Each Paramount Hotel and Resort will feature a multi functional intimate projection screen cinema with reserved seating on luxury lounges and easy chairs and with an innovative food & beverage service offered. this screening room will be used for paramount pictures films screenings, including premieres

As a newly founded hotel company, what is your approach regarding service, especially considering the very competitive environment at the level your brand is positioned?

Our cast, as we will call our employees, will provide an intelligent, attentive and personalized service. Our cast will be encouranged to adapt and improvise off the service script

If you would look for a comparison with other international hotel companies i could say that the service model will be a crossover between ritz carlton/ four seasons and w/ andaz

We have developed an app which in future will allow both guests and potential guests to interact with the hotel pre-, during- and post- stay , with the app adapted for the period between check-in and check-out, thus creating a strong personal relationship and allowing for a seamless check-in and check-out

Consistency is key to success in hospitality, especially in international operations. what is your strategic approach in this respect

Over the past two years, in collaboration with a number of highly creative consultants, we have developed our brand dna, covering our brand concept references as well as our standards of operation (sop’s)

Our hotel technical services-, license- and management- agreements clearly define this brand dna and the minimum standards associated with that, also including the key signature elements linked to the Paramount hotels & resorts brand

Our technical services agreement also includes a clear picture on the engagtement of our preferred architects, interior designers and relevant consultants (like for f&b, kitchen, wellness & fitness, screening room, it, media mapping/ digital signage, lighting, and sustainable development)

From a corporate perspective, pre- opening the relevant vp’s based in head office, and in future in the regional offices, will work closely with the hotel owner or developer as well as engaged architects, interior designers and consultants to ensure the hotel facilities will be in line with our brand standards

These vps will also work hand in hand with the pre-opening teams to ensure hotel services will be in line with sops set and through regular property audits focus on facilities and services quality control post-opening

Of course we have also developed our own guest feedback system which will allow us in future to monitor exactly how our hotel teams deal with the upkeep of our standards set for facilities and services

What are your criteria for development? tell us more about your development model in terms of type of property and location, number of keys, potential markets

For our development we are eying capital and gateway cities as well as key resort destinations, and that in both established primary markets and growth destinations

Whereas our main focus will be to develop stand alone hotels, resorts and serviced residences, we also look at opportunities to develop resorts integrated with a casino or paramount theme park

Initially we aimed at properties with a size of between 250 and 350 keys, however last year we also signed up projects above this “average”, with the one on hainan in china having 508 suites and the one in downtown dubai having 771 rooms & suites as well as 1080 serviced residences

What is your approach regarding f&b and spas? do you plan any partnerships with reputed brands? (michelin starred chefs/ international luxury spa operators)

As far as f&b is concerned our future hotels and resorts will feature a mixture of our own concepts (all developed through a collaboration with f&b consultants “blau & associates” from las vegas), like for the main restaurant, the lobby bar/ lounge, the club lounge, the ultra lounge, etc…..and those linked to existing concepts developed by well established and/ or upcoming chefs in california, like for one or more speciality restaurants

So for instance in relation to our future hotel in dubai, in case a market study in dubai has revealed the need for an italian restaurant we would create a partnership with a chef who has already established a strong italian dining concept in california, so as to ensure our italian restaurant in dubai will be an italian restaurant with a california touch, thus differentiating this restaurant from the other italian restaurants in dubai

As far as wellness & fitness is concerned, through a collaboration with goco, from bangkok, we have produced our own wellness & fitness concept references, however it is envisaged to have our future wellness & fitness centers operated by a third party luxury spa operator

In any case for each development project, one of our preferred food & beverage and wellness & fitness consultants will be contracted by the developer/ owner and we will work hand in hand with these consultants to create each time a new and unique experience

Most of your confirmed developments are in the middle east and asia. do you have any plans for the us or europe?

Apart from having signed projects in dubai, riyadh and boao, we are actively negiotiating hotel management agreements in China, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Russia, South Africa, Qatar, UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Italy, United Kingdom, US, Dominican Republic and Brazil.

Paramount Hotel, Dubai