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Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

Opens Everyday: 0:00 - 0:00 hrs


 

 

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Creating O-Zone



Pam Thien for "Why in Hotels"
December 28, 2010

Have you seen the renovated Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok? If you've been in the city for the past few months, of course you have. Some will appreciate its new color scheme while others may gape at the flower arrangements (which on their own are no small feat), however; the biggest change is what you don't see… at all.

Welcome to O-Zone, or 'Oriental-Zone', as the staff will tell you. Built on the structure and integrity of the Hotel's foundations, it is the world's first facilitated staff quarters. Why is that a big deal?

Years and years ago, companies that focused on communications and advertising created work environments that encouraged productivity. Silicon-valley organizations soon followed to the point that a 'staff campus' is no longer a buzzword; it has become simple business ethics. While leaders are finding that investing in people increases revenue, the hospitality industry (ironically the one area where satisfaction depends on staff performance) has been slow to follow suit.

Whatever the reason may be for the reluctance to change, this all may turn on its head thanks to a very bold move by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, and its investors.

The new 'staff quarters' at the Oriental is a hotel within a hotel, restructured almost entirely among necessary architectural elements. Along with the usual flat-screen televisions, wide canteen areas, and a Sony Playstation (version 3), it also features a café that makes excellent coffee, 'his' and 'hers' restrooms complete with state-of-the-art hand driers, and a sleeping area with digitized entry to reduce disturbance. Meeting areas are available with presentation equipment on hand, and an outlet next to the café is reserved for 'memorabilia' where employees are encouraged to design collections of t-shirts.

This only scratches the surface, Hotel Manager Torsten van Dullemen wants more. In an interview with us, he admited that both he and General Manager Jan D. Goessing thoroughly enjoyed watching their ideas come to life.

"I can't believe only a few weeks ago," he shared, "I was down here in a hard-hat, pointing to workers where wires and lights should go." When asked about the future, he replied, "We may have a gym, if possible, but right now, I'm already proud of what we've achieved."

Pride, in this case, is well-earned. The new back-of-the-house isn't only about on-work stress relief. There is even a service available for staff to utilize the hotel's large network. The Oriental, as always, is an incredible place not only to see or experience, but also to work for as well.

Beauty is only skin-deep, the saying goes, and true beauty comes from within, or in this case, very strikingly comes from behind the scenes.