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Hotel Corner

Franz Donhauser, General Manager of Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong

Franz Donhauser, General Manager of Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong, shares with us his storied career and 50 years’ experience in the hospitality industry.
I grew up in Austria’s countryside where members of my family had owned a hotel for 300 years.The hotel was located in a popular holiday getaway destination during the AustroHungarian Empire. I enrolled in a four-year apprenticeship programme at one of the best hotels in Vienna so I could take over managing my parents’ hotel, as was their wish. My first duty was delivering newspapers to the general manager, whose role awed me and inspired me to set the goal to one day be the GM at a 5-star hotel. So when I graduated I sold the family hotel but stayed in the hotel business. 
I enjoy working in Hong Kong because you cannot find any better people to work with – they are efficient, friendly and helpful. My favourite part of the job is meeting many different people and experience interesting and sometimes challenging situations. 
A person whom I respect highly told me that a hotel general manager requires only two traits: take good care of the guests and the colleagues, everything else will happen automatically. I take that to heart and regard that as my motto. 
Our hotel is renowned for its high quality of services and facilities catering to a variety of market segments including leisure, business and conference. We have eight excellent restaurants and bars, including the two Michelin-starred Summer Palace and the highly acclaimed Lobster Bar. The ambience of our hotel is uniquely warm and yet elegant. And of course, our location in Admiralty, a key transportation hub and just minutes away from Central, is highly convenient. 
Our biggest advantage though is our people, with every one of our colleagues committed to providing the best service and going the extra mile with one mission in mind – to demonstrate Shangri-La hospitality straight from the heart. 
Hong Kong has so much to offer that we might take it for granted including the safety which is an important consideration in choosing a travel destination. Our city is incredibly safe in so many aspects. We are famous not only for its shopping, but also our stunning vistas and outdoors: our magnificent Victoria Harbour, the Peak, Big Buddha, our outlying islands and beautiful temples. Our night life in places like Lan Kwai Fong and Soho is incredibly vibrant. There are just so many things to see and do here!
I find the beautiful scenery of Hong Kong’s hiking trails fascinating. Most people don’t realize Hong Kong is two-thirds green. I hike regularly – I walk from home to the office once a week; I just completed a 50 km Green Power walk and plan to participate in the 100 km Trailwalker this year. 
My recommendations for visitors: Enjoy our food paradise: Cantonese cuisine is a must, including the dim sum. Other Asian cuisines are well represented here. Café Malacca at the Hotel Jen has the best authentic Malaysian food. I strongly recommend going on a hiking trail. The Dragon’s Back is famous but there are many other beautiful trails of various difficulties for visitors to try. And shopping, of course, from bargain buys to high-end shopping malls like Pacific Place. Take home with you some of the popular souvenirs including Chinese tea, Chinese art, name seals, Hong Kong snacks and custom-tailored clothing.
(Edited on 5 Jun 2017)



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