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Hotels

Concierge Chat

Indira Pun, Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Eleven years ago, Indira Pun found herself back in her city of birth after spending over a decade away. Her return to Hong Kong instigated an exciting journey in the hospitality industry; eleven years later she remains with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and continues to show its guests how to best discover Asia’s world city.

 

CityLife: What brought you to Hong Kong?

Indira: I was actually born here! My dad was in the British Army Gurkhas at the time. After I did kindergarten here, we moved back to Nepal where I finished school.

CL: What led you to choose hospitality as a career?

Indira:  My mum opened a small boutique hotel in Pokhara (a popular tourist destination in Nepal) when I was a teenager. I used to help her out whenever I was free – until now it’s still there. Later my brother went to Switzerland to study hotel management, and I followed in his footsteps. But I couldn’t go to Switzerland because my brother spent all the money (laughs). Kidding aside, I did my hospitality degree in Singapore instead.

CL: And then you came back to Hong Kong?

Indira: Yes, I came here on a visit after graduation. I was open to good opportunities, of course, and luckily it came along quicker than expected. I began my career here at Mandarin Oriental, where I’ve been 11 years now.

CL: Can you share a memorable experience during your time here?

Indira: One time we had to arrange a birthday trip for a guest – one of the richest men in Russia. He and his wife were here for 10 days, and I had to plan different activities for them for each day. I worked closely with his butler to get it all done, and it culminated in a private boat trip for the couple where we surprised them with a special Cantonese opera performance. We even had to translate the script to English so they would understand it! (laughs)

CL: What does it take to be a good concierge?

Indira: Honestly, it’s a job that has to come from your heart. There has to be that inborn quality, because being concierge is all about personal touch. If you don’t feel for the guest, then it’s not for you. 

 

Indira Recommends

Staying 1-3 days:

“I think tourists should see the local side of Hong Kong. The best places for that are the markets, and there’s one in every district.”

Eating at a local cha chaan teng is the way to taste the real Hong Kong. Grab a cup of yuen yeung (coffee and milk tea) or thick toast with peanut butter.”

Staying more than 3 days:

“Explore Hong Kong’s outdoors! Personally I would hike to the ‘natural’ infinity pool in Tai O, where you can swim overlooking a great natural vista. The adventurous will be rewarded with great hiking, beaches, and greenery here... some are even just 15 to 20 minutes away from Central.”

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