Rosewood Hotels & Resorts President Radha Arora explains the management company’s philosophy of deliberate growth, modern luxury and global expansion.
BERLIN—Smart and deliberate growth has been Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ prevailing storyline for the last several years—the luxury management company has 26 hotels in its global portfolio and plans to double that over the next five years. But equally as important, according to Rosewood President Radha Arora, is maintaining the company’s “differentiated approach to luxury hospitality—a more modern and progressive hotel experience that reflects the way we travel today,” he said.
In a video interview held during the International Hotel Investment Forum, Arora spoke with Hotel News Now about the company’s “thoughtful, very deliberate growth,” as well as his view on what today’s luxury traveler really wants:
Later in an email interview, Arora elaborated more on what makes the company tick, notable openings he’s looking forward to and the “sense of place” philosophy that guides Rosewood.
Hong Kong landmark
Arora called the company’s latest opening—Rosewood Hong Kong—“a monumental moment in Rosewood’s 40-year history” and “the fullest and most complete expression of our CEO Sonia Cheng’s vision for the brand.”
The 65-story hotel, with 322 guestrooms and 91 suites, is in the city’s new Victoria Dockside mixed-use district, and on the site of the former Holt’s Wharf and New World Centre, which was developed in the 1980s by Cheng Yu-tung and Henry Cheng, who are Sonia Cheng’s grandfather and father, respectively.
Arora said the hotel, which opened this month, was “designed to reflect the modernity and dynamism of Hong Kong,” with eight food-and-beverage concepts, 3,200 square meters of event space and Rosewood’s wellness outpost, Asaya.
Hong Kong is the latest in a line of openings and deals signed for the company. In the last year, Rosewood announced projects on Hawaii’s Big Island; in Venice; Shenzhen; China; Shanghai; the Philippines; Myanmar; Houston; and Half Moon Bay, Antigua. Properties opened in Phnom Penh; and Luang Prabang, Laos, in 2018; and so far this year Hong Kong and Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito, California, have opened.
“In developing our growth plans, we look to new, undiscovered destinations that are shifting the epicenter of culture and ‘cool’ around the world,” Arora said. Rosewood Puebla (which opened in 2017 outside of Mexico City) “and Luang Prabang are great examples. While Mexico City has seen a resurgence in popularity recently, very few luxury travelers were aware of the incredible colonial city located just 75 miles east until Rosewood helped put this special destination on the map. Similarly, in South East Asia, Luang Prabang (and Yangon as well) is amongst the last of relatively undiscovered but culturally rich and fascinating destinations in the region.”
Arora said Rosewood’s focus is not just on growth but on continuously evolving. He referred to renovations in the works at classic Rosewood properties the Rosewood Washington, D.C.; The Carlyle in New York City; and the brand’s first property, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas.
Arora reflected on the company’s activity since its 2013 brand relaunch.
That relaunch, plus “opening our first hotel in Asia, Rosewood Beijing, and our first new hotel in Europe, Rosewood London … was really the beginning of our current phase of development,” he said.
In 2017, “we continued our global expansion with four new openings – re-introducing the iconic Hôtel de Crillon in Paris under the Rosewood flag following a four-year landmark renovation, opening Rosewood Puebla and Rosewood Sanya, and debuting Rosewood Phuket as our first resort in Southeast Asia—to establish a true global footprint and increase our network by 25%.”
This year, in addition to the Hong Kong opening, he said the company continues its “firsts” around the world—Rosewood Miramar Beach is the first of the brand in Southern California. The company also opens Rosewood Bangkok later this month, and Rosewood Yangon (Myanmar) and Rosewood Guangzhou later this year.
“It will certainly be a busy year,” he said.