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Mandarin Oriental Washington D.C. Fires Up for FallSeptember 24, 2010 By: Meagan Drillinger
Almost a year ago Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. appointed Amanda Hyndman as its new General Manager. She came to the position in one of the most trying times for the luxury market, with an ambitious plan to reposition the hotel to become the top luxury property in the D.C. area. Travel Agent met with Hyndman this week to get the scoop.
The hotel, like most in the luxury market, took a bit of a hit in 2009. Business travelers, a large percentage of the clientele, cancelled trips, the airport closed in February 2010 due to blizzards and D.C. and management costs at the hotel were high. As this year has progressed, however, numbers seem to be picking up.
"I'm cautiously optimistic," Hyndman tells us. "We are definitely on a journey, but the hotel is ramping itself up."
Part of this 'ramping up' includes bringing in a new team that is up to the challenge. Hyndman has recently hired Jon Chocklett as the new director of sales and marketing. He comes to the position with 12 years of sales and marketing experience in both resort and city hotels.
Currently the hotel's top tier suites are undergoing a soft renovation, which will open up the space in these rooms. This is expected to finish by 2010. The hotel's Taipan Lounge, which opened in January, has become a focal point of the hotel. Accessible only by Taipan rooms, this ninth floor hideaway offers complimentary breakfast, snacks and internet access.
What comes through clear as day is how passionate Hyndman is about this property, and having worked at luxury hotels from Hong Kong to London, her praise ranks high. "The hotel is a real sense of place," she says. "We are going to be the finest in the city."
We were curious to know Mandarin's take on the recent announcement of Ritz-Carlton's rewards program. Hyndman tells us that at the moment Mandarin Oriental is not looking into a similar program because the company feels these kinds of programs aren't congruous with the integrity of the brand.