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travel talk:
Suzhou Special: My Suzhou

Luc Bollen, GM of Pan Pacific Hotel

What are your plans for the Pan Pacific

I really want to turn the hotel in to more than just a hotel. In the past couple of months I have already taken steps towards this. But in the future I want to do a lot more.

What exactly have you done?

I have introduced a wine club that has gone down incredibly well.

What do you have planned for the future?

We have the spa opening soon. But it’s things like the deli shop that I find really exciting. I want people to just be walking past and pop in to buy something. Almost like the The Portman Ritz-Carlton on Nanjing Lu. We also have plans for a jazz bar and future cooperation’s between us and the Suzhou Museum. The Pan Pacific is becoming more than just a hotel. It is going to be an experience.

What do you think sets your hotel apart from the rest?

Ultimately with a hotel this size there will always be mistakes. We employ 450 people here and if everybody makes one mistake a day then that’s almost 500 things we have to sort out. So what I believe our hotel does well is react to the issues. For me it’s about service recovery. If you get that right, people will remember it and come back.

Of course we have the standard things that you would expect from our chain of hotels. We like to make it so you spend your time at the hotel the way you want to. We don’t try to sell you upgrades and membership cards. Instead we deal with the boring stuff and allow you to get on with the reason you came to the hotel in the first place.

Finally, what recommendations do have for visitors if they are coming to Suzhou for a couple of days?

Well, my favourite place is a Nepalese restaurant called Ganesh. It is a strange place but has the best Nepalese food in Suzhou. It’s odd because, along with the Nepalese food, they have hookah pipes, jazz music and over 100 types of Belgian beer. I don’t know why it works but it does.



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