Global Traveler: Tell us about your background in the hospitality industry and the interesting anecdotes that you have collected in your career as a general manager.
Willy Weiland: During the recent visit of Donald Rumsfeld — (former) U.S. secretary of defense — his security mentioned to me that he loves to jog to keep fit. When Mr. Rumsfield arrived at the hotel, I thought I was making a joke when I welcomed him and asked if he preferred to use the elevator or emergency staircase. He looked at me and asked, “How many floors?” I told him it was six and he said, “Let’s go,” much to my surprise and the surprise of his security officer.
GT: What distinguishes InterContinental Berlin from other quality hotels in the city? What sets the InterContinental chain apart from other quality hotel brands?
WW: InterContinental Berlin, often acknowledged as the best business hotel in Germany, is ideally located in the government quarter, close to the historical center and just a few steps away from the renowned shopping district Kurfürstendamm. It is the perfect location for leisure and business travelers. A major modernization of this leading five-star hotel added guestrooms and modern suites, bringing the total room count to 534 rooms and 50 suites.
Guests can choose from fine dining at Hugos, a one-Michelin-star restaurant with 360-degree views of the city, L.A. Cafe for international and Chinese cuisine or the ever-popular Marlene Bar. The hotel’s 37 conference rooms and 62,000 square feet of event space offer up-to-date technology. The 10,700-square-foot Vitality Club, our award-winning spa, is the perfect place to restore the equilibrium of body and spirit. Our stringent security standards ensure safety for international gatherings and events, making InterContinental Berlin the preferred hotel among state leaders visiting Berlin.
The world’s first truly international hotel brand, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is constantly fine-tuning its product to set standards in the hospitality industry. One example is the new Concierge Program InterContinental, a series of two- to three-minute online films profiling InterContinental properties including information about neighborhood destinations.
GT: InterContinental is justly proud of its superb concierge staff. What can the concierge at the Berlin hotel provide for the sophisticated, experienced international traveler?
WW: The InterContinental Berlin concierge staff delivers an authentic and enriching introduction to this fantastic city with its unique history of being divided for so many years — East meets West; classic meets modern. We give guests the information they need to feel like a local. We contact guests before they arrive and we relay information via our specially designed Web site, which provides insider information about the city. We make sure our guests experience Berlin as an individual, not as part of a crowd.
GT: Tell our readers about Club InterContinental and how it differs from other executive-floor programs.
WW: Guests staying in the 70 rooms and suites exclusive to our Club InterContinental experience the ultimate combination of luxury and security expected in a “hotel within a hotel.” The club floor appeals to travelers who have particularly high expectations with regard to individuality and personal service. It has a separate access control, a separate check-in point, a lounge bar, a library stocked with newspapers, magazines, books, videos and CDs, a work area equipped with state-of-the-art technology, and an exclusive conference room. Food service includes breakfast and snacks throughout the day.
GT: Without divulging any corporate secrets, what innovations can our readers expect to see at the InterContinental in the near future?
WW: The company will focus even more on the individual experience of each traveler. InterContinental goes out of its way to deliver an authentic and enriching experience. These days, hotel guests are looking for more than a luxury environment and consistent service. They want a brand that genuinely understands that true luxury is about the experience. Our staff, especially our concierge staff, meets that demand.
With more companies around the world becoming more environmentally friendly, American Airlines recently announced it committed to set a science-based target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This move will sharpen the company’s strategy for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and aligns its path with the global imperative of limiting temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Deep Dive Dubai, home of the deepest swimming pool for diving in the world, opened in Dubai, in the Nad Al Sheba neighborhood. Guinness World Records verified the pool as the world’s deepest swimming pool for diving at a depth of 60.02 meters, or almost 197 feet, holding 14 million liters of water, equivalent to six Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Family gatherings are extra special this year and we chose to celebrate a milestone birthday in New Orleans. The JW Marriott New Orleans, across the street from the historic French Quarter, is ideally situated for exploring the city. Streetcars roll in front of the property and are especially fun for first-time visitors. Within a ¾-mile radius, we could walk to the National WWII Museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Sazerac House, Harrah’s Casino, the Shops of Canal Place and numerous restaurants.
You probably didn’t know you needed to visit the Dominican Republic until you learned about the new, beautiful, modern, all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana.
For the third year in a row, Regent Seven Seas Cruises broke the company’s world cruise opening day booking record. The 2024 World Cruise sold out around 11 a.m. on July 14, after going on sale that morning at 8:30 a.m. Fares started at $73,499 per guest for a deluxe veranda suite, up to $199,999 per guest for a master suite.
Now is the time to get out of the house, soak in the sun and try something new. From bread making to learning the latest TikTok dance, Americans picked up new hobbies since the COVID-19 pandemic. As travel gets busier, keep the momentum going with paddle boarding that can travel with you anywhere in the world.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
As the vaccine rolls out and travel picks up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Okinawa with us.