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CEO of Raffles and Orient Express Stephen Alden on transforming the hospitality group


Source: prestigeonline.com

In the midst of overseeing the rebirth of the legendary Orient Express train, the launch of its sister hotel brand and the planning of 15 Raffles properties down the road, Stephen Alden, CEO of Raffles & Orient Express, grants Prestige an exclusive interview during a work trip to Singapore in April. Mavis Teo reports.

In the stately living room of the Sarkies Suite at the Raffles Singapore, the head honcho of the hospitality group is keeping me guessing as to whether Japan or Bangkok will be the birthplace of the first Asian Orient Express hotel.

“We are currently in talks with potential partners in both countries,” says Stephen Alden, despite being nudged for more clues. Naturally, we are curious. In 2019, Accor announced that the first Orient Express hotel would open in the King Power Mahanakhon Building in Bangkok by end-2019. However, by 2022, the hotel that opened in Thailand’s tallest building was The Standard hotel.

However, Alden is not here to discuss this. Understandably, he doesn’t want to dwell on the subject as he only took office after the event – on May 3, 2021, to be exact – during the second year of the pandemic when no end to the waves of new infections was in sight. It was a time of anxiety and apprehension for many in hospitality. However, after more than 35 years as a hotelier and having weathered some storms in the industry, Alden is unflappable as he leads Accor’s ultra-luxury brands through unchartered territory.

Alden wants to concentrate only on what’s coming up, clear the next hurdle or rather, fence – an appropriate description since Alden is a keen show jumper. This discipline of equestrian sport calls for focus, decisive thinking and calm confidence. Alden’s propensity for single-minded focus when he’s in the hot seat is also reflected in his love of watching F1 racing.

Read the full article at prestigeonline.com



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