Rosewood Bangkok’s front-door conversion pays off

GOSTELOW REPORT—“This is the time for creativity – and we have successfully converted our porte cochère into the pick-up venue for Rosewood On The Move Drive-Through,” says Thomas Harlander, managing director of the 159-key Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand.

The Munich-born entrepreneur, who originally wanted to be a doctor, was one of the first to install a vinyl nightclub venue in his previous job, in Seoul, Korea. Here, in the Thai capital, way before the March 2019 opening of the hotel, he thoroughly supported and helped its owners, Rende, devise a rooftop speakeasy that attracted local influencers who appreciated its intimacy.

Thomas Harlander by Rosewood Bangkok’s On The Move Drive-Through’s pick-up, in the hotel’s porte cochère
Thomas Harlander by Rosewood Bangkok’s On The Move Drive-Through’s pick-up, in the hotel’s porte cochère

This year, once the virus began to take hold, he was ready, and he made full use of the spacious porte cochère designed by New York-based architects Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

“We work with global ticket sales provider Megatix. People order online what they want, in English or Thai. Our offering includes full-rate hotel vouchers, plus a range of foods, cocktails and other drinks. There are also health meal plans, which come by the two- or three-meals-a-day packages, or single-meal only, and we do personalized menus,” Harlander explained.

Want a late continental breakfast? Decide and order by 10 a.m. between a plain, or chocolate or almond croissant, all US$2.82, and it can be picked up one hour later (best-sellers overall are the hotel’s own patisserie, and vegetable boxes). Five staff prepare the orders, and three more man the drive-through, which is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m: orders can, alternatively, be delivered to homes by a third-party service.

“Business is even better than we had anticipated,” declared Harlander. “We already had really good data, with 7,000 active local followers, and now we are attracting a lot of new customers whom we hope to convert to hotel regulars once we re-open.”

The hotel currently plans to re-open its bedrooms in mid-June. Its 19th-floor Chinese restaurant, Nan Bei, actually started operations again on May 13. Patrons enter it via the hotel’s VIP entrance and private elevator, which stops at all floors of the 33-story building. This will, says the MD, remain the hotel’s main entrance for the next few months.

“We have stressed intimacy from the original launch of the property. This is a private manor in the heart of Bangkok and in that regard nothing has changed. We have always focused on locale, and now we add more confidence. We have such a big advantage,” he said.