An interview with Michael Golden, General Manager of the new Park Hyatt Bangkok
The best way to get to know a hotel is, of course, to stay there for a couple of nights. The second best? Have a chat with the manager. That’s why, before we get to stay at the Park Hyatt Bangkok, which is set to open on May 12, we talk to Michael Golden, the property’s general manager. Michael, a seasoned hotelier associated with Hyatt hotels for more than 22 years, not only sheds some light on the character of the company’s new flagship, but reveals what makes Hyatt a hotel brand unlike any other.
Can you briefly characterize the Hyatt brand to us? What makes it unique?
Michael Golden: Hyatt is a company which was built by family, our workplace allows colleagues to become friends. Our foundation in family goes back to 1957, when entrepreneur Jay Pritzker purchased the original Hyatt House motel. Jay and his brother, Donald, worked together to grow the Hyatt brand, powered by their belief in the importance of family and care. As of last September, Hyatt has 13 brands with more than 600 properties, in more than 50 countries.
We are a purpose-led company, living and breathing our core values. We care for people so they can be their best. Every day we care for our guests, suppliers and one another. Encouraging those genuine connection with people inspires experiences at Hyatt. With more than 100,000 colleagues across 54 countries, we embrace all cultures, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, ages, abilities, perspectives, and ways of thinking.
What are the differences between Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt and Park Hyatt brands?
MG: Each brand offers a different experience through a common service philosophy. At the Hyatt Regency, you can expect your hospitality experience to be bold, allowing you to connect to people with facilities that are clever and tech savvy. At the Grand Hyatt, the experiences are grand and extraordinary. Here at the Park Hyatt, we offer a sense of serenity and calm in sophisticated spaces, with personalized experiences that are rare and enriching for our connoisseurs.
Can you briefly characterize the Park Hyatt in Bangkok?
MG: Park Hyatt Bangkok will offer peace of mind and comfort. It is a tranquil oasis above the Bangkok cityscape. Its residential living, dining and facilities are carefully crafted to help deliver Park Hyatt’s discreet level of service, which is unparalleled in the market.
What can the guests expect in terms of design?
MG: Designed by AL_A, the London-based architecture studio founded by Amanda Levete, and Bangkok-based Pi Design, Park Hyatt Bangkok encompasses a feminine appeal through its residential interiors, usage of soft beige, natural light and curvaceous corners to provide a home-away-from-home feel. The Penthouse Bar & Grill, housed within the top three floors, takes on a more masculine approach with the usage of dark woods, brass and marbles, to create a more eventful and exciting venue.
The hotel and shopping mall are bound together using the notion of a continual looped form, to give a more intuitive merging between plinth and tower, creating a twisted-coil like structure, forming a three-dimensional figure of eight. Drawing on motifs and patterns found in traditional Thai architecture, the building’s eye-catching façade is clad in extruded aluminum tiles, creating a shimmering moiré-like pattern, articulated by the play of light and reflections along the varying profiles.
As in all Park Hyatt hotels, art plays a crucial and intrinsic part at Park Hyatt Bangkok. Two of the hotel’s most dramatic installations will be created by Japanese artist Hirotoshi Sawada. Within the staircase void of the Ballroom, the ‘Pagoda Mirage’ will incorporate hundreds of small, conical copper swirls, suspended en masse, to resemble the reflection of a pagoda on water. Equally striking will be the ‘Naga’, a series of batons suspended from the ceiling on level 9, to resemble a mythical water dragon travelling between the pool and internal waterfall. From the Embassy Room, its twisting dance will begin erratically in bronze acrylic, then sweep into dark-brown timber swirls through the main Living Room, before settling into an undulating vertical pattern of clear and frosted acrylic along the Living Room veranda.
Can you shed some light on the F&B options of the new property?
MG: Drinking and dining experiences will have a strong sense of personalized service. We will bring down the barriers between kitchen and guests to be fully engaged with them, while sharing our knowledge and stories.
We offer two restaurants. Embassy Room, presenting both Western-and Asian-influenced cuisine, and specializing in seafood. Lively open show kitchens, equipped with a wood-fired oven, will provide live culinary theatre and an interactive kitchen experience to stimulate all senses. Guests will have the choice of dining in the main space, in a private dining room seating ten, in a semi-private dining space for eight, or al fresco, overlooking the pool terrace and infinity pool.
Penthouse Bar & Grill, housed within the top three floors, is a dining and entertainment complex whereby the focal point is the intimate Grill Restaurant. Clad in pale marble with Rok-fah wood flooring and a walnut-marquetry ceiling it will be an open show kitchen. The grill also offers a large selection of quality meats and seafood, sourced from around the world. The restaurant will also feature an outdoor terrace and a private chefs dining room seating eight.
The drinking scene at the Park Hyatt will be offering an eclectic range of experiences. The Bar on level 9, specializes in premium whiskeys, Champagnes, classic cocktails and cigars. Guests will be able to choose between sitting at the butler bar, in the lounge, at a sociable communal table or outdoors, on the terrace overlooking bustling Phloen Chit Road. The Cocktail Bar follows a vintage-motor theme, with a masculine color scheme provided by walnut-wood walls, distressed dark-wood flooring and a black-glass ceiling. The moody, seductive venue will feature a double-height ceiling, adding drama to the space and maximizing the sweeping city views. Corridors will feature intimate, semi-private lounge areas demarcated by intricate brass lattice screens, while a DJ booth will hold court on an elevated platform above the back bar.
The Cocktail Bar on level 35 will offer access a mezzanine lounge on a balcony above the bar. The intimate lounge – cocooned in warm-grey marble flooring, walnut burl and grey-silk walls and an antiqued-mirror ceiling – will feature a custom wine wall, a small private bar and a collectors’ wall of carefully curated objet d’art. Guests will likely lounge for hours on the comfortable channel-back sofas and opium-bed inspired seating.
On the same level, guests-in-the-know will push open a hidden walnut-paneled door to enter an antechamber lined in red Chiang Mai tiles, before discovering an intimate hidden corner beyond, dominated by a Macassar-ebony wood ‘shattered wall’ cantilevering out and overhead. Passing beneath the shattered wall, guests will then find a glittering back bar, decorated in backlit cut-crystal panels, black marble and classic button-tufted leather; the perfect place to enjoy one of the many single malts on offer.
The skybar will enjoy the beautiful Bangkok skyline. A large open butler bar will wrap around the core of the unique building, echoing the building’s angles and curves. Guests will enjoy the outdoor lounge environment with spectacular views. The Penthouse Bar & Grill is aiming to be one of the must-visits in town.
Bangkok property is set to become the flagship for the whole group, what future will it lead the group towards?
MG: The world is changing every day and we see a demand for rare experiences in the value. It is the intangible; the connection guests feel from a truly special experience, that provide a sense of belonging. We are not re-inventing the wheel but simply doing things differently by re-examining our touchpoints and in making their stay personal and rare, so as to make it unforgettable. We recruit from across industries, we create and re-think how to care for people, so our guests and colleagues can be at their best. These practices will help brand build and lay a foundation for Park Hyatt hotels to come.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity
Find out more on bangkok.park.hyatt.com