Embracing the Sea, in a Beijing Hotel
General Manager Lucy Li Invites You to
Paradise Gloria Grand HotelBeijing
Interview: Cherry Li Chinese Version:
Photos: by Paradise Gloria Grand Hotel Beijing
The Qinling Mountains and the Huaihe River provide a natural boundary between the North and the South of China, which are distinct from each other in climate, hydrology, soil and vegetation as well as agriculture and custom. Some say, the South is gentle and elegant as a serene woman, whilst the North is a bold,
free-spirited poet with unbridled interest in recording the vicissitudes of life. Traveling from Shanghai to Beijing, you will leave the South for the North. Beijing, home to Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Great Wall, straight and broad streets and occasional sandstorms, and where we can hear Jingpianzi – the authentic Beijing dialect, has always been in our mind.
Maybe we’re more accustomed to calling the city Old Beijing. However, the ancient city sees a flourishing hospitality industry, just like the rising sun. A landmark of the Shijingshan CRD, or Central Recreational District, the newly opened Paradise Gloria Grand Hotel Beijing is the latest addition to the properties Gloria Hotels & Resorts operates in China. The luxury business hotel is not only attractive in overall design, but also equipped with advanced natural seawater swimming pool and comprehensive spa facilities, a major attraction for customers from across China and the world. Its being led by a female general manager, a rare case in the hotel trade, has also piqued our interest and curiosity.
Conveniently located near the Chang’an Avenue and the Olympic venues in Beijing, Paradise Gloria Grand Hotel Beijing is easily reached via Subway Line-1 and several bus routes. The 5-star hotel, although without a central location, fills the void as the first of its kind in the city’s Shijingshan district. It is also the first hotel in the capital city to offer a gigantic 2,800-sqm natural seawater bath fitted up with up-to-date swimming and bathing facilities. Commenting on the biggest attraction, Lucy Li, the general manager, observed, “We play the health card to cater for today’s health-conscious customers. Meanwhile, we have also raised the bar for our spa and fitness center so that our guests can fully enjoy their privileges. Discerning customers nowadays no longer confine themselves to downtown hotels; Instead, they patronize hotels in the suburban areas, welcome alternatives for an excursion at the weekend. ” It is the growing trend for people to spend the weekend in the suburbs that has encouraged prestigious international hotel groups to open properties in suburban Beijing as well as the outskirts of Shanghai.
The hotel offers 241 rooms and suites of varying sizes,
including Standard Room, Deluxe Room and Deluxe Suite, among
others. No-smoking floors are also available. Each room/suite is
tastefully appointed to reflect comfort, opulence and urban chic,
combining with Gloria hospitality and warm, attentive services to
make guests feel right at home. The hotel’s signature amenities, as
mentioned above, are a natural seawater pool and a full array of
spa facilities – the Eastern Pattaya International Seawater Bathing
Club which takes up a little less than 10,000 square meters. Design
work of a renowned American-based firm, the swimming pool uses
natural seawater purified by an advanced purifying system. The
magnificent pool, together with its relaxing environment, varying
lighting and abundant sunshine, offers guests a perfect getaway
around the year.
Lucy Li boasts a wealth of managerial experience acquired in Gloria Plaza Hotel Dalian, Gloria Holiday Villas Qinhuangdao and Gloria Inn Qinhuangdao, where she had served as general manager. Before that, she had been the deputy general manager of the Asia Pacific Hotel Beijing. Her appointment as the general manager of Paradise Gloria Grand Beijing has filled Ms. Li’s heart with happiness and anxiety. The happy part is that she can spend more time with her daughter, now that she is again based in Beijing. The anxiety comes from her inexperience in running a hotel with a big seawater pool and relevant amenities. In spite of this, the “novice” took the challenge without hesitation, preparing herself for the appointment by doing a lot of homework, including visiting the major bathing centers and spas around town for a survey, until she started to understand the tricks of the trade.
“I am offered a rare and precious opportunity. It is both the company’s belief in me and its acknowledgement of the efforts I have made in the past. Experience is crucial for a career woman like me. As I grow old, it is impossible to be fighting in the forefront for ever, ” Ms. Li said.
Her attachment to Gloria Hotels & Resorts, where she has been working for years, is very strong. She said, “Gloria is a company always putting its people first. I had been in Dalian before I was transferred back to Beijing, and the company kindly arranged it so that I can join my family here. Even when I was in Dalian, the company would intentionally arrange for meetings to be held in Beijing whenever it was convenient. Gloria not only takes our requirements into account, but also gives us its complete trust. All you need to do is working hard, rather than lick your boss’s boots. As long as your performance is good, your efforts will be acknowledged and appreciated. ”
The capable general manager also has the sensitiveness and sensibility of a woman. She is very punctual for work, arriving at the hotel every morning to communicate with the staff and guests, and, as requested by the company, to satisfy the latter’s various requirements which are in her power. She is equally patient with her staff, and never seen putting on airs. She gives them a lecture from time to time, buys books for them, and urges them to learn from practice. She always eats at the staff canteen, and is very concerned about their personal life.
“You can’t be a good hotelier if you don’t take the hotel as your home. As a matter of fact, I have spent so much time and effort in my hotel that I can’t be a good wife/mother at home,” the general manager said. Without the devotion of hotel insiders like Ms. Li, who has a strong sense of responsibility, China’s hotel industry will never prosper, nor can customers enjoy themselves in hotels.
Many things we learned during the interview impressed us not a little, such as the selfless support from other Gloria hotels in the first several weeks during which Paradise Gloria Grand Hotel Beijing had been facing a number of problems. These hotels are like members of a big family, helping each other and supporting each other, and their fraternity deeply touched the owner. Gloria’s Training Director, HR Director and vice president even came to the hotel, in spite of their tight schedules, and helped educate the interns who felt Gloria was different because they, in their own words, hadn’t attended a class like these for a long time. Gloria even does things other companies seldom do. For example, it keeps the tradition of dispatching staff of less busy hotels to strengthen the accommodation of the busier ones.
Nearly four months have elapsed since Paradise Gloria Grand Hotel Beijing first opened its doors to welcome business and leisure travelers from different parts of the world. The guests had all been requested to leave their comment and advice before they left the hotel. Ms. Li values these suggestions and advice. She said, “They have given us a good many suggestions, and my confidence is growing because I find that problems they have suggested can be solved quickly. Our hotel is not yet famous and we don’t have as many guests as we wish. I remember when the first guest was leaving the hotel, the management, including myself, were there to see him off. My rule is that we must satisfy every customer with the best possible service. ”
We can’t agree with it more that women are no inferior to men. Lucy Li has been doing a great job as the general manager of Paradise Gloria Grand Hotel Beijing, where guests can enjoy purified natural seawater, the Northerners’warmth and hospitality and the best of Gloria service. Familiar to you or not, Beijing will always offer a comfortable place for travelers like you to rest and enjoy.