With the opening of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ first properties in India and the Philippines (in Jaipur and metropolitan Manila, respectively) at the close of 2012, followed by the first Fairmont in Dubai (Fairmont The Palm on Palm Jumeirah) at the start of 2013, the luxury hotel brand continues to establish its presence in Asia and the Middle East. There’s more to come, too: With new hotels scheduled for Jakarta, Bali, the United Arab Emirates, and multiple cities in China—not to mention Eastern Europe and, of course, North America—Fairmont is expanding its unique brand worldwide.
Exactly what is it that’s distinctive about Fairmont hotels?
• Whether it’s Banff, Boston, or Beijing, guestrooms so successfully combine high-end luxury, local decor, and technological innovations that you sometimes spot guests pausing outside their rooms to take photos. Fairmont hotels’ Willow Stream spas are state-of-the-art. And Fairmont trains the staffers in every country to offer personalized and—instead of reactive service—anticipatory service.
• Landmark buildings: Many of the world’s great grande dames carry this brand—The Fairmont San Francisco up on Nob Hill, Chateau Lake Louise near Banff, Quebec City’s oft-photographed Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, London’s grand old Savoy Hotel, and New York’s fabled The Plaza. Others are newcomers, but when Fairmont builds a new luxury hotel, the mandate is to create an instant landmark. For example, A-list architects Arquitectonica and designers Bent Severin International combined modern and sophisticated style with Filipino art and materials when they built the Makati in Manila. Thus, the stylish use of mahogany seeds (embedded in the walls) and abaca laminated glass, give the hotel an authentically local feel.
• “Authentically local,” incidentally, is a Fairmont mantra. “Every Fairmont is unique, reflecting its destination and heritage with elegant, distinctive architecture and decor,” says Lori Holland, executive director of public relations for Fairmont’s properties in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. But it’s not just design: “Key to a stay at any Fairmont property worldwide is enriching experiences that embody the destination, which is why, for example, Fairmont Jaipur offers tea in the gardens, traditional entertainment and dancing in the courtyard, authentic spa treatments (coming soon), elephant adventures and falconry,” she says. You know those hotels where once you step inside the lobby you could be in Akron? That’s not Fairmont.
- “Authentically local” applies to cuisine, too, as Fairmont’s chefs favor locally sourced—and sustainable—ingredients.
- In keeping with the locally sourced ingredients, Fairmont has practiced sustainability since long before it was fashionable. Fairmont’s Green Partnership Program involves conserving energy, minimizing waste, enriching local communities, and finding new ways to “think globally and act locally.” For an example close to home, the Fairmont Pittsburgh (2010) is such an efficient building and operation that it has won LEED Gold certification, a notoriously tough achievement. Kitchen waste? This Fairmont uses it to make soap. Really good soap. And talk about cultural sensitivity: When the building’s foundation was excavated, Fairmont invited archaeologists to root around before the concrete was poured. The archaeologists found 7,000 important artifacts from the 1800s, and now Fairmont honors Pittsburgh’s heritage by displaying some of these antique dolls, dishes, and gadgets throughout the hotel.
One nagging question lingers: Do these green initiatives really matter to hotel guests? “In a recent survey of 1,200 guests, 62 percent said a hotel’s environmental policies and practices had at least some influence on choosing accommodations,” reports Holland. What’s more, she adds, “When provided with the option to participate in a hotel’s green programming, 61 percent said they were very likely to participate.” No doubt, Fairmont’s smart use of green initiatives to enhance guests’ enjoyment of both the premises and their surroundings has something to do with this.
loyalty programs and perks
Fairmont’s loyalty program, the President’s Club, also counts stays at Swissotel Hotels & Resorts and Raffles Hotels & Resorts. The company announced another neat perk in January: Complimentary local shuttle service in chauffeured BMW vehicles at all Fairmont properties in the U.S. (They already had this program in the Canadian Fairmonts.) Want to go really green and/or get some exercise? Fairmont also offers complimentary use of BMW cruise bikes at many locations globally.
Like the guest loyalty program, Fairmont’s education and rewards program for the trade, Famous Agents, includes Swissotel and Raffles. Agents earn points on booked rooms, member-only offers (including bonus points), gift cards, perks for clients, online courses, discounted rates (as low as $59), and partnerships with airlines.