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Wednesday, 11 July 2018 | MYT 7:00 AM

Kuala Lumpur hotels get recognition from Forbes Travel Guide

Genting Grand Hotel was awarded a Four Star Rating by Forbes Travel Guide. Photos: Resorts World Genting

It is always an honour for businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry to win an award or star rating, and even more so when it is from the Forbes Travel Guide. Said to “verify luxury”, it is currently the world’s only independent, global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants and spas.

Two of Resort World Genting’s hotels received accolades in the 2018 Forbes Travel Guide Star Ratings: Genting Grand Hotel, which was awarded a Four Star Rating, and Maxims Hotel, which received a Recommended citation.

In an interview, Resorts World Genting senior vice president of hotel operations Datuk Edward Holloway said, “We are extremely proud to be bestowed this honour out of 12 of the best hotels in Malaysia.”

He added that the Four Star award and Recommended citation took them by surprise as the entire inspection was done anonymously.

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Holloway is the senior vice president of Hotel Operations for Resorts World Genting.

Forbes Travel Guide created the original Five-Star rating system in 1958, when it was known as Mobil Travel Guide.

To craft its list of Five Star, Four Star, and Recommended hotels, Forbes Travel Guide reviews both the service and quality of a particular property, following standards that focus on graciousness, thoughtfulness, and a sense of personalised service. The Forbes Travel Guide’s team of anonymous professional inspectors travel the world to assess hotels, restaurants, and spas based on 900 objective standards.

“I believe that this shows our team maintains its high standards for each guest that walks through our doors, and it also reflects the hard work put in to get to this level,” Holloway noted.

According to Forbes Travel Guide chief executive officer Gerard Jerry Inzerillo, all hotels in all markets are reviewed for the quality of the facility before they are approved for further assessment. Once they make it onto an approved list, the hotels are then scheduled for an incognito inspection. It is this inspection which determines the final star rating outcome.

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Forbes Travel Guide chief executive officer Inzerillo.

“Some of the qualities that we seek in properties we wish to conduct an incognito inspection for include design, elements of luxury evident in the selection of furniture and fixtures, as well as, serviceware. Location and available amenities such as room service and restaurant calibre are also observed,” said Inzerillo.

Hotels that achieve a 70% compliance are awarded a Recommended citation, while those that achieve an 80% compliance are given a Four Star award, and those that achieve a 90% compliance or higher are granted a Five Star award. Although the initial research is mainly facility driven, the incognito inspection to determine the rating is weighed towards service at 75%, and facility at 25%.

This is the first year that the Forbes Travel Guide has surveyed Kuala Lumpur, and three Malaysian hotels have been added to its list of 1,609 featured properties in over 50 countries.

Inzerillo said that Genting Grand and Maxims were both selected for their high quality product and expected strong service levels.

“Resorts World Genting is a well-known luxury brand to Forbes Travel Guide consumers. While the complex has several types of accommodations for visitors to choose from, these two offer an extra high calibre of exclusive guest experience. They are also well-located, just outside KL, with some of the finest entertainment and amenities right at their doorstep,” he said.

According to Holloway, the Forbes Travel Guide ratings verify not just the tangible facilities in the hotels, but also place a lot of emphasis on the scoring of the guest experience and quality of service provided.

“Our team places a high priority on the service ethos, which is an intangible part of the property. For example, at Genting Grand, a guest could leave their room and come back to find that their mobile phone cable has been tied up neatly. And, if our valet parks a guest’s car, the guest returns to find that bottles of water have been placed in the car along with mints and a message wishing them a safe journey.”

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Premier Room at Genting Grand Hotel.

Holloway believes it is in small gestures like these that drive guests to make repreated visits for an experience that they might not easily find elsewhere.

So far, no hotel in Malaysia has been awarded a Five Star Rating by Forbes Travel Guide. When asked about this, Inzerillo replied: “We consider the achievement of our Forbes Travel Guide Five Star award akin to a multiple Academy Award winner like Meryl Streep, or a multiple Olympic Gold medallist like Michael Phelps. To operate at such an incredibly high level every day takes a tremendous commitment, and delivering that consistency is incredibly hard, and consistency is key.

“The achievement of a Recommended award is exceptionally hard, and to achieve a Four Star status, which is likened to winning an Olympic Gold medal, takes an extra level of commitment and dedication from the staff and management.”

However, to deliver at the Five Star level is something quite magical, he added. “We look for that commitment from the property at all levels,” said Inzerillo, who is optimistic that a Malaysian property would get the coveted Five Star Rating soon.

Meanwhile, Holloway said that a target has been set for Resorts World Genting’s new flagship property, Crockfords Hotel, that was opened at the beginning of the year.

“We’re very proud of the five-star service that it currently provides, and we’re working towards perfecting the hotel and adding facilities in stages to make it absolutely world class,” he shared.

“And, with rooms and suites that are tastefully designed to reflect art and style, we are aiming towards Crockfords Hotel achieving the coveted Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Rating,” Holloway concluded.