Singapore, Singapore, January 4, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / It’s hospitality, but not as you know it at Mondrian Duxton Singapore, where General Manager, maverick and all-round mischief-maker Robert C. Hauck is assembling a team unlike any other to launch something special from Q1, 2023.
Hauck has taken a unique approach to hiring under Mondrian’s ‘unexpected talents’ mantra, scouring the streets and hunting in all the right places for the cream of creative types and inspired individuals from both within and outside the industry to deliver a guest experience with a difference.
Call him a conductor, a disruptor, or one who marches to a different drummer; just don’t call him conventional. Hauck has built a career on breaking new ground and thinking outside the box. Now, this philosophy is given free rein at Singapore’s most eagerly awaited hotel.
“Any hotel is only as good as the people who bring it to life,” says Hauck. “Mondrian has given me the freedom to do something truly innovative and really cast the net wide in taking a new approach to assembling a team. It’s all about creating a place for individuals and personalities with a lot to offer but who may not fit in to a conventional hotel. They might be misfits in a sense, but they’ll fit in here.”
“Here” is Duxton Hill, Singapore’s happening precinct non-pareil, home to the latest addition to the Mondrian family of hotels, joining the brand’s properties in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, London, Cannes, Doha and Seoul. Since its launch in LA in 1996 by Ian Schrager, Mondrian Hotels have been brought to life by the quality of their people and a commitment to creativity, art and the unexpected.
Hauck has begun the hiring process by staring at a blank canvas and painting in bold and unexpected strokes. He has already assembled a core team of over 70 people, ensuring there’s a solid backbone of experienced industry operators to which he has added rebels, dreamers and outsiders, creating a fresh perspective for the hotel, a new energy and a collective entrepreneurial spirit.
Avatar of Hauck’s approach is full body-tattooed Ah Seng, who has turned his life around since leaving prison and has always dreamt of having his own restaurant. He has now been hired to be the manager of Bistro 126, Mondrian’s staff restaurant at their hip Shophouse office space. Or take Raymond Leong, 64, senior sales manager of an events and cruise company, laid off during the pandemic, who reinvented himself as a Grab driver, now hired as a quality and training manager, a job he always aspired to doing.
Unexpected talents with diverse backgrounds can be found everywhere. An elderly cleaner who has three diplomas in marketing repurposed as public area supervisor and director of inspiration. An executive assistant who had been enjoying a retirement baking sourdough bread but got bored, after a career in strategic brand planning for brands that are household names. Social media and visual marketing tyros, fresh graduates, a former Olympian athlete, a luxury fashion expert and award-winning bartenders. These are among the passionate and talented characters given another chance to find their calling.
But how to find them? Hauck’s team can be seen handing out ‘We like your style’ cards to begin a conversation. “My motto is chase talent, don’t wait,” he says. “From tattoo conventions to alternative gigs, from art happenings to theatre and sport, it’s about casting the net wide and knowing true talent when you see it. This will be the essence of what we are bringing to the market at Mondrian Singapore Duxton.”
The debut of Mondrian Singapore Duxton in Southeast Asia follows that of Mondrian Seoul Itaewon in 2020, which signaled the brand’s entry to Asia Pacific. The brand’s portfolio of seven hotels will more than double its footprint by 2023, with upcoming openings in Bordeaux, Cannes and Australia’s Gold Coast to name a few. Mondrian is more than a hotel: it’s a way of travel. Known for its groundbreaking design and progressive programming it is a “must” destination for locals or travelers. Mondrian is always at the heart of the most exciting cultural scenes in the world, serving up innovation and creativity for everyone. Mondrian provides a playful framework so that guests and locals alike can immerse themselves in the culture of each city it inhabits. Design is at the center of the Mondrian experience with hotels designed by some of the world’s most famous architects and designers, including Philippe Starck and Marcel Wanders. Mondrian is part of Ennismore, a creative hospitality company rooted in culture and community, with a global collective of entrepreneurial and founder-built brands with purpose at their heart. Formed in 2021, Ennismore is a joint venture with Accor, which holds a majority shareholding.