Four Seasons Travel

Hospitality News – August 2022

Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur Welcomes New General Manager Blaise Montandon

Blaise Montandon was appointed as the new general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, and eagerly joins the team now that Malaysia has reopened its borders and is once more welcoming visitors from abroad. Montandon, who arrived from the breezy coastlines of Vietnam, brings vibrant energy, buoyant positivity, and a wealth of experience about opulent hospitality with him.

“The past two years have brought so many changes, including what people want from travel. Connection and personalization are more important than ever,” says Blaise. “At Four Seasons, we have long believed that life is richer when we truly connect with each other, and with the world around us.”

Blaise Montandon

The Hotel team is already coming up with fresh and meaningful ways for visitors to rediscover Kuala Lumpur under his direction. Blaise’s objective is straightforward: “for people to fall in love with this dynamic, kaleidoscopic city.” He adopts a resort-style strategy in which he assumes responsibility for the guest’s entire stay, both on and off the property.

Interestingly, Blaise applies the above philosophy not just to vacationers – but also to those travelling for work. He believes business travellers, too, want to engage with the destination, but have a limited amount of time and energy to spare, which is why Four Seasons is also expanding its portfolio of experiences tailored for business travellers: “think short, convenient and unique activities that make a work trip to Kuala Lumpur all the more attractive.”

Growing up in a small Swiss town, young Blaise first fell in love with the idea of hotels while holidaying with his parents around the country and in neighbouring regions. “I was fascinated by it all. The energy, the glamour, the opportunity to meet people from around the world. Even as a kid, I knew this was what I wanted to do.”

He gained experience at two renowned hotels in Geneva after graduating from the Hospitality Business School in Lausanne and studied management at the University of Lausanne. He has since managed hospitality teams in a variety of places, including Singapore, Japan, China, Thailand, and India, in addition to assignments in Europe and North Africa. He most recently held the position of General Manager at the Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An in Vietnam.

Blaise’s journey through the industry has been somewhat unique because of his zest for new challenges and willingness to learn “how things work from the inside”: from finance to sales and marketing to operations and development, though a wide range of pre-openings and multi-use development projects. Along the process, he has seen how important it is to focus on developing a close-knit team, having fun at work, and spreading happiness and optimism to everyone — including visitors, employees, and the community.

In his current role, Blaise is looking forward to cementing the status of Four Seasons Hotel  Kuala Lumpur as a favourite not just among global travellers but also local residents and expats. “Whether you want to celebrate a special occasion, take visitors out for a good time, or enjoy a staycation with loved ones, we want to be the Hotel of choice for the Kuala Lumpur community,” he says.

On a personal level, he is eager to experience the city’s culinary scene, particularly Kuala Lumpur’s renowned street cuisine. Exploring the local art scene through museums, galleries, and festivals is also on the agenda. Blaise is a creative thinker who enjoys discovering different cultures through their art forms since “they disclose so much about a country and its people.”

Virtù Lights Up The Night With 12 New Cocktails And A Live Dj To Spin The Soundtrack

VIRT at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi offers the ideal location for a sky bar rendezvous with its freshly crafted cocktails and irresistible daily drinking rituals. This chic bar has a cocktail (and a tale!) up its sleeve for every occasion, from after-work get-togethers with coworkers to birthday celebrations with friends. Additionally, the pub now hosts a live DJ every Friday and Saturday from 8:30 to 11:00 p.m.

The Paris-meets-Tokyo bar, perched on the 39th level of the hotel, offers several settings to suit any mood. Sit at the bar to talk with mixologists and observe their craft in action, or choose a table near the window for sparkling views of the Tokyo skyline.

More private dining places, ideal for secluded get-togethers with close friends or romantic date nights, are tucked away behind the multicoloured stained-glass wall. With lively views of the entire bar, larger parties can take seats at the main table or on the high sofas.

The skilled bartenders at VIRT pay respect to the art of fine drinking by fusing traditional French flavours and rituals with contemporary Japanese methods and seasonal ingredients. A world-class selection of vintage French spirits and Japanese whiskies is also available.

Guests can now explore a third edition of the cocktail menu, featuring 12 brand-new drinks woven around the seven virtues of VIRTÙ. These timeless virtues are drawn from traditional Japanese tales and French folklore.

The “Loyalty” selection features two cocktails with intriguing connections to the legendary story of Hachiko the dog. The Smoked Ume Fashioned, a blend of homemade brandy Umeshu with Japanese whisky and Hinoki bitters, has Ume (plum) blossoms as its key ingredient. Tsu, the hometown of Hachiko’s master, is famous for these blossoms, signalling “fidelity” in the language of flowers.

The Someiyoshino, meanwhile, finds its genesis in Akita, the Japanese town to which Hachiko’s breed belongs. The region is known for its sticky rice, which forms the foundation of this layered cocktail – a medley of rice shochu, sake and sakura liqueur, accented with citrus notes.

The “Belief” curation invites connoisseurs to savour the best of both worlds with Chuchoter. A base of French gin and Japanese shochu is elevated with the gentle sweetness of kumquat, whose flowers symbolize gratitude. This drink is inspired by the words of thanks whispered by Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, a masterpiece of French literature.

Or taste the virtue of “Bravery” with the Takara, reflecting the classic Japanese tale of Momotaro. The star ingredient is Hekishu whisky from the Aichi Prefecture, home to the Momotaro Shrine and the fabled residence of Momotaro’s grandparents. This concoction of whisky, sweet vermouth and chartreuse shimmers with gold leaf, a nod to the glittering treasure brought back by the folk hero.

Those in the mood for l’amour can sip Thé Hoji Épicé, a “Love” cocktail crafted with Hoji tea vodka, Hoji tea liqueur and ginger beer, anchored with a rose-shaped ice cube that slowly infuses the drink with notes of cranberry.

The menu also features a selection of frequently updated micro-seasonal cocktails. VIRTÙ’s mixologists take an innovative approach to seasonality, dividing Japan’s four major seasons further into 12 micro-seasons, inspired by the traditional Nijusseki calendar. In July 2022, drinks will feature locally harvested peaches and watermelon, while August 2022 brings the unique taste of Muscat grapes and Japanese pine.

Photo credits: Respective brands and properties

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