Luxe hotel group aims to shine despite slowdown

Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:35am EST
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - The world economy is in recession, but that has not put off a new luxury hotel group from opening 8 properties across the globe with the belief that any room filled at another hotel is an opportunity.

The West Paces Hotel Group, led by veteran hotelier and ex-Ritz Carlton president Horst H. Schulze, is launching the hotels under its luxe Capella brand in Japan, Singapore, Mexico, Ireland, Austria, Germany and the United States, aiming to attract guests of all 5-star chains by offering even better service.

In an interview with Reuters, Schulze acknowledged that 2009 was likely to be a tough year, but said the downturn in the industry was likely to open more opportunities for Capella, partly because other hotel chains are seen cutting back.

"This year, like every other industry, there will be setbacks, but things will not always be this way and over the next two to three years, there will be opportunities," he said.

"Blaming the economy is a poor excuse, my managers wouldn't dare use it. As long as there is one room occupied, and there are many despite the situation, that means we haven't managed to get that guest and we just have to go out and get them," he added.

"We're not doing Capella because that's our fantasy, its customer driven."

Capella, named after one of the brightest stars visible in the night sky, is the world's only 6-star hotel and resort management company.

Schulze's experience in the hotel industry is vast.   Continued...