Mr Franck Loison, the General Manager (GM) of the 312-room Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara, shares with Gaya Travel Magazine how the first Sofitel flagship in Malaysia is faring after being opened for almost two years.
“The hotel has now matured, so it is high time for us to position the hotel, the restaurants, the spa, and meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) facilities, as well as obtaining awards and certification. The hotel is now able to compete with the other hotels not only in Malaysia but worldwide,” claims Mr Loison. “We inspire to be the best hotel for business, with the best spa and the best MICE facilities,” he declares.
Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara simply oozes luxury and comfort. Strategically located in the prestigious neighbourhood of Damansara Heights, the hotel is easily accessible by public transport or car. The hotel embodies a uniquely French experience in the form of sophisticated accommodations, an impressive food and beverage outlets, an award-winning spa and state of the art MICE facilities. “Each Sofitel celebrates the chic style and flair for the culture that’s quintessential to French life with local elements,” says Mr Loison.
When it comes to MICE, the hotel offers state-of-the-art ballrooms and meeting rooms. Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara is also popular for which the hotel seems “to get every two weeks” through its various wedding packages. It is also fast becoming the place for product launches like cosmetics, electronics, automobiles, wine-tasting and more. Mr Loison attributes this phenomenon to the ballroom’s unique shape and design, including the hotel’s convenient location.
Though the hotel mainly receives corporate and business-oriented travellers both local and international, it also welcomes staycationers from Kuala Lumpur (KL) and surrounding areas who stay on Friday and Saturday nights; interestingly, the hotel’s swimming pool and spa are busy on those days. “Malaysians like to stay in hotels on weekends, and they represent a good market to tap into since the corporate market is quiet that time. Opening the weekends to staycationers compensates the reduction of corporate travellers at that juncture. The hotel is also family-friendly,” ensures Mr Loison. For special deals and packages, public can visit https://www.sofitel-kualalumpur-damansara.com/.
Interesting dining options
According to Mr Loison, one of the strengths of Malaysia is its diversity, which is reflected in its culinary offerings that can be experienced at the hotel’s all-day dining outlet, Kwee Zeen. On top of that, the hotel’s Mediterranean-inspired dinner-only outlet called Nizza serves dishes comprising vegetables, soups, and light pizza found along the Mediterranean coasts of France, Spain and Italy that suit the Malaysian palate. “French people normally like to dine up to three hours for lunch or dinner, but the food at Nizza can be enjoyed in less than an hour, befitting the dining culture here,” claims Mr Loison. “Nizza is created for casual, semi-fine dining accompanied by a bar, a pool, chill out music, and show-live kitchen. The restaurant is also ideal for corporate dinners and functions to launch something too,” he continues.
As purveyor of luxurious French hospitality, Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara constantly explores avenues to promote French culture locally. “We take part in the French Festival in Kuala Lumpur by providing accommodations for all artists involved in the festival. We also join the Gout de France month to promote French products and cuisine” Mr Loison reports. Since Sofitel is a strong brand among the French market, the hotel attracts a great deal of interest and businesses from many French companies based in Kuala Lumpur and beyond.
In terms of leadership style to manage a property like Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara, Mr Loison confesses that anywhere he goes, he tries to adapt to the local culture.
“When you take on a new assignment, you have to start all over again from zero. You need to build your way from the ground up when you start working at a different property. Then you need to build the team around you and choose the right people – a mix of cultures like Chinese, Malay and expatriates – who share the same vision and can perform and add the French touch. It takes time to build the team, to work together and understand each other,” ponders Mr Loison.
With a highly experienced and strategic leader like Mr Loison at the helm, Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara is bound to see its statue rises further as one of the preferred five-star accommodations in the city that is uniquely situated in the upmarket Damansara neighbourhood.