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Hotel Corner

Nicholas Smith, General Manager of Kerry Hotel Hong Kong

Nicholas Smith, General Manager of Kerry Hotel Hong Kong, talks to us about his experience in the hotel industry and the brand-new Kerry Hotel
I was born in Wales and went to grammar schools and university in England. I have always been a bit of a nomad, and my travels took me to work at Disney in America as part of my degree in hotel management. I was connected to the hospitality industry at an early age when I would wash dishes at a local pub to earn pocket money, and I stayed in it ever since. 
I started working for the Savoy Group in London, and moved on to other 5-star hotel groups in various locations including London, Boston and Turkey. I wanted to come to Asia and was fortunate to join the Shangri-la Group in 2008. Since then, I’ve worked at Shangri-la properties in Kota Kinabalu, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and the Philippines before being asked to open the Kerry Hotel here in Hong Kong.
The Kerry Hotel only just opened on 28 April this year. It’s a remarkable hotel! With 546 rooms, it’s a large hotel that sits rights on the waterfront in Whampoa overlooking the magnificent harbour. The word that best describes this hotel is “space”. Invariably, our guests are surprised at how spacious the hotel is: we have the largest pillarless hotel ballroom in the city, our lobby is long and spacious, and we have multiple large open-air decks for F&B. leisure and other activities. Even though we are only a short distance away from Canton Road, it has the feel of an urban resort because of the space the hotel provides, which opens up many possibilities to accommodate a broad mix of guests and various types of MICE events. 
My favourite part of the job is the constant opportunity to interact with different people every day. There is never a single day that is the same. I love talking to our guests and being helpful to them or talking to our own team members to see how they are doing.
The biggest challenge as a general manager here is striking the right balance between serving the guests while at the same time keeping the new hotel running smoothly without affecting guest service. I think our team has done an excellent job meeting the challenge and getting that balance right. 
Hong Kong is a great city to visit. There are so many different things one can do whether it’s the Peak, street markets, or shopping fashion brands. Amazingly, in just 20 minutes you can be completely away from the hustle and bustle of the city and into the great outdoors. The city is also very safe, and given our excellent infrastructure we provide travellers that first-world comfort feeling when they visit here. 
I love cycling. I organized a charity ride from Shenzhen to Shanghai when I worked in China, as well as from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. I try to ride whenever I can, especially in the morning.
My three recommendations to visitors to do in Hong Kong: go and enjoy Hong Kong’s green space, whether it’s hiking the Dragon’s Back or walking around the Peak; visit a night market like Ladies Market or Temple Street; and try out a seafood restaurant such as in Sai Kung, Lamma Island or Lei Yue Mun.
(Edited on 7 Nov 2017)



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