Robert Hamer, Andaz Seoul Gangnam general manager (Andaz Seoul Gangnam)
Regardless of which Hyatt hotel around the world he is at, Andaz Seoul Gangnam General Manager Robert Hamer does not change his weekly routine of conducting a hygiene inspection of all the kitchens -- which was completed just before his interview with The Korea Herald.
The new general manager, who took the post last month, is passionate about providing a homelike comfort and luxurious atmosphere at Andaz Seoul Gangnam, without missing the “inspirational” aspect.
"Working at the hotel is a lifestyle for me, and after some 35 years, I never hate the mornings to start my job," Hamer said.
Growing up in the tourism enclave of Australia's Alpine skiing resort Thredbo Village, Hamer naturally learned the ropes of the hospitality business.
Upon graduating in the field of hotel management, he started out as a chef and cocktail bartender in Australia, joining Hyatt in 1988. Climbing his way up from an assistant restaurant manager to general manager at Hong Kong's Hyatt International Asia Pacific Limited by 2006, Hamer gained multicultural experiences through various positions he held throughout the region.
"Hotels have definitely evolved over the decades, especially when you see the technology and systems, but we must not let the ball down when it comes to genuine hospitality and authentic 'back to basics,'" Hamer said.
With his background as a chef, Hamer recently inaugurated a new breakfast item on Andaz Seoul's buffet: an egg, bacon and kimchi roll.
Minced kimchi inside a soft brioche bun with egg and bacon was a treat that Hamer wanted to serve guests venturing out for their first steps in Korea. "Each city has its very own appeal, but a common trait would be the adventure of exploring and enjoying authentic local cuisine."
When Hamer first landed at Andaz Seoul Gangnam, one core element he noticed was missing was that staff names were never being called.
"I believe quality service not only comes from teamwork, but also from individuals' names being heard and recognized."
He suggested providing an Andaz Journey Card upon check-in for guests -- a postcard with the host's name on top -- next to colorful drawings of a handful of fun things to do while staying at the hotel. The idea received great feedback from guests when Hamer was working for Hyatt Regency Kyoto.
An art gallery opened at the lobby of Andaz Seoul Gangnam in collaboration with Prorata Art Gallery on Aug. 15, with an exhibition that runs to Oct. 15. The gallery features works by both big-name and emerging Korean artists, including Chun Kwang-young, Jeong Daun, Jihi and Tocotoco Jin.
"Today, guests spend more time enjoying cultural life, and we believe that providing diverse and special experiences to guests is one of the elements of a hotel with merit."
By Kim Hae-yeon (firstname.lastname@example.org