We met Peter Pottinga, General Manager of Harbour Grand Kowloon Hotel to understand more about Hong Kong as a destination, in exploring the hotel’s facilities and unique features of catering to Corporate Meetings Organizers and Events Planners.
1.)Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your career?
I am originally from Holland and had lived abroad throughout my childhood. From a young age, I yearned to pursue a career overseas, and quickly realized that the hospitality industry not only fits my passion, but also provides the opportunities for career developments abroad. After graduating from a hospitality school, I started my career with IHG in Holland and thereon embarked on career developments in USA, Scotland, London, Slovakia in Bratislava and onward move to China at the Shenzhen Crowne Plaza Landmark.
Two and a half years ago, came the opportunity to move to Hong Kong to embark on a new chapter of my career with Harbour Grand Kowloon. After 20 years with IHG, the assignment was infinitely a very exciting career move as it also entailed the opening of a new convention centre, apart from overseeing the overhaul and total renovation of the hotel.
2.)What do you like the most about being a hotelier?
I love the dynamism of managing and overseeing the operations of a hotel. As an example, just last Saturday we had 5 weddings held simultaneously, and the hotel was packed not only with wedding guests but also with tourists from all around the world in the lobby, either checking in or out, and a myriad of other activities. The high octane energy from all these activities is truly spectacular and reinforce my passion for the hotel industry.
Another part I truly love as General Manager of Harbour Grand Kowloon is to inculcate or I should rephrase – to re-emphasize concepts and standards, and more importantly to follow through with the implementations and review the results. We have the slogan of “Grand has no limits” that truly reflects our state of mind and the countless possibilities to refocus and enhance the products and services continually. For example the terrace where we are sitting at this moment (Editor: stunning views over the harbour at the hotel facade, entrance and throughout the hotel) was out of use for the last three years, then we decided to reconstruct it. It was reopened recently, and is now a special venue where we can serve guests coming into the hotel, enjoying evening drinks or dinners.
3.)What are the challenges you face as a hotelier?
My job as a General Manager of Harbour Grand Kowloon is quite different from my previous assignments, as we are a totally renovated and refurbished hotel.
We started from ‘Ground Zero’ a few years ago and now the hotel is swanky and feels brand new. As a matter of fact, our mission is not only in planning well ahead for sustainable growth, but also in continuous enhancement of innovative products and services. Market trends and business environment are changing rapidly, and similarly with us as within the next six months, we will have additional guest rooms as well as a brand new ballroom, and more facilities to cater to our guests.
4.)Can you tell us more about your hotel and destination?
Hong Kong is indeed a vibrant destination with guests from all around the world.
We are very fortunate with our hotel location, at the waterfront with stunning views of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour. We provide an experiential urban resort stay, and this in itself is a unique location within Hong Kong.
Guests staying at Harbour Grand Kowloon will experience the ubiquitous Hong Kong with the very best that the city can provide. A sense of arrival is prevailing the minute one enters the hotel lobby with the stunning view of Hong Kong Island.
The hotel is the largest 5 star hotel in Hong Kong with a big guest room inventory, and a plethora of meeting space, plus extensive benefits for Meetings Organizers and Events Planners. There is direct access to Tsim Sha Tsui promenade and hotel is directly on Victoria Harbour.
Last but not least, the most unique feature is the private pier located at the front of the hotel. You can very easily arrange a sunset cocktail on a yacht, or reach Lantau Island on a traditional junk for an unforgettable seafood dining experience.