How does Ralf Ohletz help make Regent Hotels & Resorts differ from other luxury brands?
At Regent, we want to become a platform facilitator — a platform where we have a lifestyle that’s focused on something exclusive and different, something that has world appeal. If you go to The Setai, Miami Beach — and, yes, it has an Asian flair — you still know you’re in Miami. At The Setai, we had a big courtyard where you could have a party with a DJ, but it was executed in an elegant and different way. So we’re focusing on conceptualizing, developing and operating a group of intimate and individual hotels. I think that’s very important, rather than just putting a name on a door.
I was in a hotel just a few weeks ago and I was really impressed with the design — it was fantastic. But at the same time, this was such a famous brand, so I was surprised that they didn’t make it more “their brand.” I could’ve put any other luxury brand name on the door and it would’ve made no difference. To me, that’s an opportunity missed because when you are a strong luxury brand like that, it has to be visible in the product. The moment you step in, you have to feel that you’re in this specific hotel. I think this is where we’re paying perhaps more attention than others. When you step into our hotels, you instinctively know it’s a Regent. It has to be very distinct, and all of the guest experiences are carefully designed because we have handcrafted elements there and we work with exclusive designers. Like most companies, we focus on innovation and technology, but most importantly, we understand the trends of the international traveler. We want to create a one-of-a-kind, site-specific, design-oriented product that doesn’t need benchmarking because, for us, any brand is only a promise.