L’Art de Vivre - Thomas Gassner, General Manager of Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara

L’Art de Vivre – Thomas Gassner, General Manager of Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara

The first Sofitel property in Malaysia

From Munich to the Middle East, then Asia, you’ve had an impressive 30-year run in the hospitality industry. What motivated you to stay in the industry for so long?
We have to love what we do as that will drive us to do our best, and I have a lot of passion for what I do and for the industry itself. I take pride in what I deliver and strive to go above and beyond in creating amazing experiences for guests. As a General Manager, it’s important to be passionate about guests, hence a constant drive to improve employee engagement. A positive working environment increases employees’ motivation, service attitude and productivity, which eventually reflect on customer satisfaction.

Thomas Gassner, General Manager, Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara. Photo by Robin Liew.

When staying in a hotel, what elements do you look out for that makes it an exceptional experience?
Attention to detail is one of the most essential elements of a highperformance hospitality organisation. The hospitality industry is a ‘people business’. When I check in to a hotel, if the employees address me by name and made me feel recognised, comfortable and valued, I would definitely return.

With your extensive experience with luxury hotels around the world, what do you think is unique about Sofitel Hotels & Resorts?
Each Sofitel Hotel or Resort offers a sophisticated blend of French elegance with local culture and gastronomy, and this is being reinforced in each Sofitel to enable it to become a unique address. We strengthen the link by adapting and adjusting based on the local market and culture fundamentals that are expressed through various aspects of art, gastronomy, design, and culture. While each Sofitel has an individual identity, what makes us stand out from other hotel brands is that we stay true to our brand DNA, which is the reflection of French elegance through service from the heart. Based on this philosophy, I’d say Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara is a good mix of elegance and impeccable service, enhanced by the French spirit with Malaysian touches.

In the blend of cultures at Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara, what are the Malaysian influences that have been introduced to Sofitel’s French art de vivre?
Firstly, there’s the epicurean extravaganza of Malaysian gastronomy accented with French flavours and specialties at the hotel’s six food and beverage venues. For instance, Kwee Zeen is a delectable infusion of ‘Gastronomie Francaise’ with Pan Asian cuisine, while Le Bar offers an Oriental tea ritual using TWG Tea that strengthens the South- East Asian influence. In the lobby, we also have a stunning feature wall that depicts the Wau Bulan together with the Eiffel tower and this unique design is seen throughout the hotel.

How do you see the opening of Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara changing the hospitality industry in Malaysia?
From its inception, Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara was thoughtfully designed with meticulous attention to detail to offer our guests a brand new experience, and its opening marks a significant milestone for the hospitality industry in Malaysia. With its blend of French-style affluence and art of well-being, and premium in-room amenities by Lavin and Hermès, the hotel offers visitors to the Malaysian capital a new luxury experience. Focusing on guests’ preferences to personalise the experience, we aim to elevate the standard of service among luxury hotels in the market.

Relax and unwind with a classic cocktail at Le Bar.

French elegance meets Malaysian tradition at the luxurious rooms and suites.

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