5 minutes with a luxury hotel expert

The Fullerton Hotel Sydney will open on October 18 marking the luxury hotel brand’s first Fullerton outside Singapore. We spoke with Giovanni Viterale, The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts general manager, about overseeing one of the city’s biggest restorations in recent times.

What were the challenges involved in such a large restoration project? Because of the delicate stonework you have to be very careful. You can’t just blast it off. It’s about revealing it to its former glory. It is a magical moment to have a beautiful building brought back to life.

How has the transition gone? It is our goal to have all of the staff to stay with us to work towards the future. We want continuity and business as usual. We have been very transparent over the last 12 months. We have invited colleagues to come and see how we work in Singapore and they became like our ambassadors here. This transition has been very smooth. The best one I have ever done. The current managers have been very open and cooperative – it’s been really nice. It’s been about mutual respect.

What is the timeline for the hotel’s rebranding under a Fullerton badge? We will introduce the brand overnight. It is the most magical moment of doing a conversion. It’s even more exciting than a new opening. It’s about a smooth transition for those that check in on the day before will automatically feel something different on the 18th starting with the lobby which will be brighter and more welcoming.

What changes will guests see? Our two hotels in Singapore are very well known for food and we have invested a lot in creating a destination for food lovers. You can find everything from Italian, French Singaporean, Japanese and we wish to do a similar concept here in Sydney.

We have started with the restaurant downstairs (now the Mosaic) which will be called The Place. We have two chefs from Singapore working side by side with the local chefs to bring Singaporean dishes such as chicken curry, laksa and satay to the menu We are also bringing in the High Tea we are famous for along with our take on Singapore’s iconic cocktail. It will combine South East Asian and Australian gin to create a new Sydney Sling.

What can event planners expect? It will be fantastic to have something different. We are able to offer a variety of activities and spaces. The ballroom can accommodate over 1400, and we have a heritage ballroom. The flavours of spaces complement different offerings such as coffee breaks in an Asian style.

We are blessed to have a property in this location. You can just walk to everything – restaurants, parks, museums, galleries. It is a great honour to be in the heart of the city. It’s like Fullerton Singapore, and I’m sure the two properties will work well together.

We will look at activating spaces – such as New Year Eve countdown parties. We are already having conversations with the council about a Christmas light up. That’s the DNA of Fullerton – it’s about enjoying everything the city has to offer.