No tall order
Updated: 2011-10-01 08:25
By Liu Weifeng (China Daily)
Hotel profile | Beijing
The China World Summit Wing, the capital's tallest hotel building, sells itself with its singular features, says its general manager Adrian Rudin. Liu Weifeng reports.
Adrian Rudin, general manager of the China World Summit Wing, often cracks a joke about himself, saying he is the shortest general manager in Beijing managing its tallest hotel building.
But sitting in the 81-floor, 330-meter tall China World Tower in the heart of the bustling Central Business District, Rudin has a proud list of top offerings for guests and clients.
China World Tower comprises the 278-room and suite hotel on the upper floors and an office complex on the lower ones.
The hotel, China World Summit Wing, has the city's highest dining and entertainment destinations, from floor 79 to 81. It also houses Beijing's highest lifestyle sanctuary, with Chi, the Spa, Shangri-La's signature spa brand, on level 77; and a well-equipped gymnasium and indoor swimming pool on level 78.
"People sitting in our lounge and bar have unrivalled views of entire downtown Beijing," says Aura Chavez, the hotel's communications executive.
On a clear day, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Bird's Nest, Water Cube and the iconic CCTV tower are easily visible to the naked eye.
For an even better view, there are the telescopes placed beside some of the floor-to-ceiling windows in the lounges.
Rudin, a Swiss-German national with more than 20 years of five-star hospitality experience, had worked in various positions in the industry, including chef, resident manager and general manager, before joining Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in 1999.
Appointed general manager of the China World Summit Wing for half a year, Rudin is committed to creating a positive environment for his staff and guests.
However, he admits the biggest challenge he faces is the shortage of talents, echoing a common concern nowadays in the hospitality industry.
Another challenge, he says, comes from his customers and clients. "They are becoming more knowledgeable and demanding. Unlike in the past, when people would go to restaurants for an occasion, people now frequent restaurants and book hotels as a lifestyle choice," the 46-year-old veteran hotelier says.
With a strong food and beverage (F&B) background, Rudin says running F&B is like operating the entire business chain, from buying to producing, cooking, packaging and selling.
The China World Summit Wing is not only the tallest hotel building in the city, but also has some of the highest design standards.
The restaurants are the handiwork of Adam D. Tihany, who made his Beijing debut with this iconic hotel.
Of the four restaurants, two bars and a lounge, and four exclusive venues devoted to private dining, one of which is an observation deck on level 81, Tihany designed the interiors of Grill 79, The Lounge, Atmosphere, Chairman's Room and The Peak, all of which benefit from dramatic city views.
Using bespoke features that subtly recall traditional Chinese symbolism and the duality of the yin and yang on the 79th and 80th floors, the designer uses these two distinctive, yet complementary, concepts to express tradition and harmony. They convey the concept of heaven and earth, of balance and peace, in Chinese culture.
The 80th floor is yin - cool, ethereal, heavenly and feminine. In The Lounge on the 80th floor, Tihany uses glass spheres suspended in mid-air, to recreate a virtual sky inside the hotel. In Atmosphere, the hotel's bar, the marble floor contrasts with a series of light panels, which delicately follow the grid pattern of the ceiling, to look like a delicate constellation of stars.
A subtly lit spirits cellar at Atmosphere's entrance provides a hint of icy cool and ethereal elegance. Soaring floor-to-ceiling windows surround the lounge and offer views of the sprawling city.
The 79th floor is characteristically yang, with warmer, earthy colors that evoke masculinity.
Curved around one side of the glass lift is a contemporary staircase connecting the 79th and 80th floors.
Besides, the hotel has rather spacious facilities for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions). It has 5,500 square meters of conference and banquet facilities which include two 3,100-sq-m ballrooms, a rooftop Pine Garden on the sixth level, an auditorium and 12 function rooms, all with natural daylight.
Running an iconic hotel, Rudin also shows his artistic side. An amateur photographer, Rudin used to develop black-and-white film in a dark room when he was young. In his spare time, he enjoys the exhibitions at the 798 art zone.
(China Daily 10/01/2011 page10)