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The inside word on the new Andaz Singapore

Live like a local

Olivier Lenoir, general manager of Andaz Singapore, tells us what to expect at this hip new hotel designed by André Fu. Doors open 26 October

Andaz caters to a well-travelled group of people that are looking for a point of difference. People are excited, and a lot of the challenge about the anticipation is the expectation. Some people might be misled on what Andaz is about — it's a lifestyle brand (part of the Hyatt Group) that delivers a fresh perspective and brings in a local element. 'Come as a tourist, live like a local' is what we are about. While the Grand Hyatt is fabulous, the Andaz is an indigenous experience situated in a vibrant and local neighbourhood. It's different from any other brand that exists.

We're right next to Kampong Glam and this was the only location we could have an Andaz in Singapore. There's a lot of history and community in this area, all of which are imperative to building the Andaz brand. The idea of Andaz is to identify with the neighbourhood that is important to the community around us. The businesses around here aren't mainstream; they're quirky, urban and with a local touch. Orchard would not have worked as that's our shopping district. Sentosa, on the other hand, is our Disneyland.

andaz hotel, singapore, king room

We aren't trying to provide the touristy experience. Instead of telling people to go to the Singapore Flyer or Marina Bay Sands, we recommend them instead to explore the local neighbourhoods. It's not that we don't advocate tourist attractions, but we believe that the people who stay with us have already been there and done that, or they already know about it through their friends or magazines. For example, I think going to East Coast Park is a fantastic place for a morning walk, instead of making a beeline for Sentosa.

The Andaz Pale Ale is going to be a thing. We worked with a local brewery who is crafting an Andaz Pale Ale for us. We are going to have our own beer in a unique bottle with our very own logo and trademark. Additionally, we also collaborated with a Javanese community to create coffee blends for Andaz.

king bathroom, andaz singapore

A French perfumer is creating a unique Andaz scent for us. We invited a French perfumer to spend three days with us, and explore Botanic Gardens, Arab Street, Chinatown, and the like, to get a feel of our plants, scents and flavours. He went back to New York City (where he's based) and designed 13 variations of fragrances for us — they were based around spices and flowers such as nutmeg, cinnamon, orchids, and cardamom. We finally narrowed it down and will be using this scent for our bathroom amenities and diffusers.

andaz hotel, singapore

Segmenting food by methods of cooking instead of cuisines is going to be unique to us. At Alley on 25, we have taken the alleys of Kampong Glam, brought them up to the 25th floor, and recreated the look and feel of the shophouses that surround us. We have seven shophouses that each has its own menu, wine list, and even tableware — each shophouse focuses on different methods of cooking, such as barbecuing, wok frying, steaming, and the list goes on. We aren't limited by cuisines here.

Our staff have the ability to select what they want to wear. We worked with In Good Company, and have come up with 15 different pieces that our staff can mix and match. They can pick and choose from the selection, and wear whatever they want whenever they like. We want to encourage the fact that working in a hotel doesn't have to be about uniforms and name tags all the time.

andaz singapore, in good company

It's about breaking away from the traditional 5-star hotel experience. It all started with groundbreaking designer André Fu (of The Upper House in Hong Kong); he was inspired by the shophouses around our neighbourhood. We wanted to steer away from cookie cutter hotels, and ensure the experience delivered would be one to remember. At Andaz, our hotel slippers are fashioned after the 'Singapore Flip Flop', and emblazoned with, 'Stolen from the Andaz Singapore'. These are the things people don't expect, and we want to make sure people leave with a grin on their faces.

The modern traveller expects the unexpected. These days, millennials care less about the brand but more about the unexpected. The older generation relished sticking to a brand because they knew what they were going to get — like a certain style of amenities and minibar favourites. But the younger generation always wants to be surprised, and Andaz has definitely got the right framework for them.

For more information or to book a room, visit Andaz Singapore.

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