THE DARK SIDE OF HONG KONG NIGHT LIFE 1

WHY THE GRAND HYATT HONG KONG IS NO LONGER GRAND 1

Back in the day, the Grand Hyatt was THE hotel to frequent in Hong Kong with its extremely popular Champagne Bar, the upmarket club JJ’s with its ‘live’ music, and most of all, excellent staff and under the management of Robert Barker, and after him, Gordon Fuller, below.

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Under the latter, the Grand Hyatt was like the Sister Sledge song “We Are Family”. Gordon Fuller inspired his staff, he made sure to interact with customers. He knew the regulars and the importance of keeping the customer happy. Music companies had their conferences there, Norah Jones once gave an exclusive performance at the revamped and short-lived JJ’s, and during the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Hong Kong International Races, the Champagne Bar was always the place to meet.

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To those new to the Grand Hyatt, the hotel might still be “grand”. To those who have practically lived in the hotel’s popular venues, the hotel has deteriorated into a five-star Fawlty Towers.

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The current General Manager is the Invisible Man with the people skills of Attila The Hun. He’s everywhere and nowhere, baby, a cold, stiff Teflon man, who seems totally lost about what’s going on around him as he’s certainly not hands-on. Teflon men are never hands on.

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The former Coffee Shop was frequented because of the choice of dishes, yes, but also because of the staff- friendly, experienced, and knowing that Gordon Fuller would always drop by. Same when The Tiffin Lounge was open for a superb and popular lunch buffet. The Tiffin Lounge lunch buffet is no more and the Coffee Shop has been refurbished at great costs- and time- to become the sterile cuckoo that is the Grand Cafe.

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Again, there’s nothing “grand” about it. The former staff, except for less than a handful, have been replaced by an army of Manuels. Que, indeed. So many waiters and waitresses, but almost all of them simply wandering around looking dazed and confused. The service is deplorable. Repeat, deplorable.

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As for the Champagne Bar, again, despite the refurbishment, once Hong Kong’s most popular meeting place, has become the happy hunting grounds for Colombian working ladies straight from the streets of Wanchai busily working their cons to dumb and dumber tourists. At least when this Bar was home and office to many, those sitting around you were of five-star quality. It wasn’t a far more expensive version of Joe Bananas.

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And so it goes on with one-star service throughout the hotel except for the handful of staff from back in the day doing the best they can, and every one of them knowing full well that there’s nothing grand about the Grand Hyatt. The Four Seasons, especially, steam rolls all over the hotel with wonderfully friendly staff, especially at the excellent Blue Bar with all its extra trimmings including a FREE Happy Hour buffet.

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It’s time the haughty General Manager realises the buck stops with him. Going into hiding and adopting an Alfred E Neuman “What? Me? Worry?” management philosophy is not the answer. Perhaps removing that broomstick up his arse might be the first step in facing reality.

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