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Hotel Corner

Meet David Preisig, General Manager of Hotel Jen

Swiss-born hotelier David Preisig saw a year’s hard work come to fruition when he officially launched Hotel Jen Hong Kong two months ago. Rebranded from Traders Hotel under the Shangri-La Group, Preisig calls “Jen” a hotel for the young at heart

 

Rebranding Jen has been momentous. After all those months of preparation, I was finally able to push that button switching on the “Jen” light. The feeling was indescribable.

I’ve been given a jewel of an opportunity here. When I first joined Traders, I didn’t know that I was to take the helm in repositioning the property as part of a region-wide move. Not everybody gets the chance to be there when something that pivotal happens.

I first came to Hong Kong in 1987, lured by the mystery of the orient. I have seen all the changes from the handover in 1997 to the harbour getting smaller (through land reclamation).

I wanted to see the world since I was a kid. I liked being around people and was always curious about them, so I studied psychology. But my natural inclination led me to hospitality, and there I stayed.

Coming from Europe, the biggest difference for me was the pulse and vibrancy. It’s a multicultural melting post. It’s fast-paced. You can open a company here in one day; in Switzerland it might take you a month!

Moving from Shangri-La to the Aberdeen Marina Club (under the same group) was a blow to me when it happened. My ego wouldn’t allow it: coming from a 5-star mind-set to a club, no matter how prestigious, didn’t fit my vision of myself as a luxury hotel manager.

It’s those times in your life when you feel things aren’t going your way that turn out to be the greatest experiences. In the end, I would say it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It opened my mind, my heart and my senses.

Whenever I get time off, I swim, hike, and paint to relax. I love water, it calms me down. Last weekend I took a yacht to Sai Kung, stopped by one of the beaches, then ended the day at a 1-Michelin starred restaurant – they have a couple of them in Sai Kung.

I would tell visitors to go for the local food: find a Cantonese or Chiu Chow restaurant. If you like water, take a cruise. If you like hiking, do Dragon’s Back. It’s Hong Kong – you can do anything, buy anything, eat anything here!

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