four seasons hotels continues strategic growth and expands global portfolio

Long-term investments in innovation, including the appointment of renowned design leader Isabel Pintado, drive industry-leading product and unmatched guest experiences at the Four Seasons
Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Editor In Chief at The Executive Magazine

A global leader in the luxury hospitality industry for 60 years, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is looking ahead to the future with a growing portfolio of luxury hotels, resorts and residential developments, and further expansion of its product offering in 2021 and beyond.

“In a time of unprecedented change and challenge for our company and the entire hospitality industry, we continue to innovate, remaining flexible in our plans and nimble in our ability to capitalise on opportunities, while maintaining momentum towards our long term goals,” says John Davison, President and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

“The impacts of the pandemic continue, and we are tackling these issues as they come. Yet more than ever, we are confident in the long-term success of the company and the dedication and resilience of our people who bring the Four Seasons brand to life each and every day. Our focus on the guest experience is steadfast, as is our ability to embrace new opportunities and continue to evolve.”

Adds Davison: “As we mark the 60th anniversary of the opening of the very first Four Seasons this month, it’s an opportunity to reaffirm the values upon which the company was founded. We are growing with great intention, never losing sight of the values of respect, care and excellence that have always defined Four Seasons. As we look ahead, we remain singularly focused on the luxury segment, responding to the changing needs of our guests and building upon the well-established trust and credibility of our brand.”

Leadership in Design and Innovation

To help lead Four Seasons into its next phase of growth, the company has appointed Isabel Pintado to the newly-created position of Senior Vice President, Design and Innovation. In this role, Isabel will advance the brand’s design vision and aesthetic across its global portfolio, while also engaging cross-functionally throughout the organisation to enhance Four Seasons programming at every touchpoint.

“We are thrilled to welcome Isabel to our team as we embark on our next chapter of innovation and growth. Isabel’s exceptional talent and creativity is matched by her collaborative working style and global design expertise,” says Christian Clerc, President, Global Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Isabel’s skills and knowledge will be critical as we look ahead towards our long-term product, design and innovation goals. A deep passion for design has fuelled her impressive career and we are delighted that she has joined Four Seasons to help bridge the worlds of innovation and design in a way that will be uniquely Four Seasons.”

Pintado has a breadth of global experience, leading several top design studios around the world prior to joining Four Seasons. In 2020, Design Middle East magazine ranked Isabel #1 on its annual Creative 30 Power List.

Commenting on her move to Four Seasons, Pintado says, “Four Seasons has always been at the forefront in the design space with a legacy of industry-leading innovation that is firmly grounded in the guest experience, and an authenticity further shaped by the locations in which it operates. I am optimistic that we are on the cusp of an exciting period for the luxury hospitality industry, as we continue to create inspiring and exceptional design experiences for our guests, residents and employees.”

Evolution of the Guest Experience

Four Seasons has a long history of anticipating the evolving needs of guests, and in the process, continually raising the standard of luxury hospitality at every touchpoint. In 2015, the same year that Four Seasons unveiled the industry’s first fully branded Private Jet, it introduced the Four Seasons App, placing the ability to customise the guest experience in the palm of one’s hand. Two years later, the Chat function was added, connecting guests to Four Seasons employees in real time, and in 100+ languages.

Built with best-in-class technology, with continued enhancements to improve user experience, the Four Seasons App and Chat allow guests to customise and control their experience from the moment they start dreaming of a trip to opting for contactless check-in, booking spa appointments, planning activities with the help of the concierge team, and so much more. In 2020, Four Seasons received more than six million Chat messages – a record annual number – despite reduced occupancy caused by the global pandemic.

As the company quickly responded to evolving guest expectations, it launched its innovative and enhanced health and safety program in May 2020, Lead With Care. Grounded in the trust the brand has built over six decades, the program focuses on genuine, intuitive service, ensuring a luxury experience with health and safety top of mind. Working with leading medical experts, the program enhances guest comfort and care while also ensuring employees feel safe and confident at work, equipping them with the tools and training they need to feel secure.

“Four Seasons commitment to innovation has never wavered. Our response to the global pandemic is a testament to our ability to introduce new, meaningful innovations, such as Lead With Care,” says Clerc. “Our goal has always been to stay one step ahead of the needs of our guests. Today, our approach to innovation is all encompassing, as we look to enhance the Four Seasons experience at every phase of the guest journey – from the lighting in a guest room and how that impacts sleep, to creating restaurant and bar offerings that become a destination in their own right, to maintaining a distinctly human touch with the Four App and Chat functionality. Ultimately, each innovation creates a better platform on which our guests can experience the highest levels of care and exceptional service in the moments that matter most.”

Accelerated Residential Development

Four Seasons brand expansion has also been achieved through the success of the company’s entry into branded residential offerings more than 35 years ago. Today, nearly 90% of upcoming openings and pipeline developments include a residential component, and Four Seasons remains one of the only hospitality companies to also act as the property manager for its residential owners. Four Seasons continues to enhance the residential experience, and most recently introduced a residential digital experience, built on the same platform as the award-winning Four Seasons App, for homeowners to opt for contactless services or manage and maintain their home from afar.

This year, following the very successful opening of Twenty Grosvenor Square, Four Seasons will unveil three new standalone residential projects, including the first Four Seasons residences in Los Angeles, as well as new residential offerings in San Francisco and Marrakech. Currently, Four Seasons has a five-year pipeline of USD 6 billion in gross sales value comprising 30 projects around the world, with 14 due to commence sales this year alone.

Now more than ever, travellers are looking for additional space and privacy, and Four Seasons Private Retreats offer a luxury rental experience with more flexibility and exclusivity. With exceptional homes and villas in more than 20 destinations around the globe, and another 16 locations to be added by 2025, guests can choose multi-bedroom villas, penthouses and chalets to reconnect with extended family, friends and loved ones. Private Retreats also often include fully equipped kitchens, pools and outdoor spaces, and always include access to the services and amenities of the neighbouring Four Seasons hotel or resort. Four Seasons Private Retreats are included in the Extend Your Stay program, where guests are invited to live, work, learn and play at Four Seasons for 30 days or more.

And for those spending more time at home than ever before, the brand also makes it easy to capture the feeling of a Four Seasons stay at home with its online retail offering, first introduced in 2019 and growing in scope to include  a range of signature linens, bed and bath items, gifts and more – including the legendary, fully-customisable Four Seasons Bed.

Strategic Portfolio Growth

Four Seasons approach to development and growth has been intentional and focused, opening in key destinations, setting the standard for luxury in each new market it enters. No matter the location, Four Seasons success is grounded in its partnerships with hotel owners, who share the brand’s vision for creating the pinnacle of luxury with each new hotel, resort or residence. In 2020, Four Seasons signed nine new hotel, resort and residential projects, tying a record for the most new deals in the company’s 60 year history.   

Most recently, Four Seasons announced its expansion in Europe with an exceptional Mediterranean property. In Italy’s southern region of Puglia, Four Seasons will be one of few beachfront hotels with direct access to the sea, developing an all-new resort with views from Italy’s stunning Adriatic coast. And, following the opening of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Madrid in late 2020, Four Seasons will continue to expand its Spanish portfolio with a resort in Mallorca, as the brand will manage the historic Hotel Formentor, introducing it as a Four Seasons experience in 2023.

The strength of Four Seasons portfolio continues to build upon the brand’s momentum in 2020, when it opened a number of landmark properties. Recent new openings include an expanded presence in Tokyo and San Francisco, as well as the brand’s spectacular return to Thailand’s capital in Bangkok.

“With each new property, our goal is to create the best luxury experience in that market by offering a product of exceptional quality combined with unparalleled service. Each new hotel, resort and residence is a unique reflection of its local market while also representing the future of what Four Seasons will deliver for years to come,” says Clerc. “This momentum continues in 2021 and beyond as we open new properties globally and continue our drive towards an elevated service experience grounded in trust, care and authenticity.”

Offering a mix of state-of-the-art new builds and historic restoration projects, upcoming Four Seasons openings will provide unique opportunities to explore some of the world’s most exciting destinations. In the United States, Four Seasons will enter new markets such as Napa Valley, New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale, Minneapolis and Nashville with new hotels and Private Residences. In Taormina, Italy and Cartagena, Colombia, Four Seasons is bringing new life to historic properties while maintaining their legacy and charm. Adding to a growing resort portfolio, Four Seasons will introduce an all-new secluded oceanfront oasis in Tamarindo, México.

Four Seasons also continues to focus on innovative restaurant and bar concepts for travellers and locals alike that build upon the brand’s reputation for culinary excellence, including a record number of Michelin-starred restaurants. For example, whether beachfront dining at Taverna 37 at Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens, French cuisine inspired by the Japanese terroir at est at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, or custom curated cocktails at BKK Social Club at Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River, Four Seasons continues to elevate its food and beverage offering through dynamic drink and dining experiences.

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