Martin Schnider on the Magic of the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur

Martin Schnider is the man behind one of the most luxurious accommodations in Kuala Lumpur. Set amidst the expansive flowering gardens of the KLCC Park and the dramatic heights of the Petronas Twin Towers, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur offers impressive views from its elegantly designed rooms and exquisite suites.

Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Martin Schnider, general manager of Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur

Starting out as a food and beverage trainee at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore in 1994, Martin Schnider would eventually work his way up the corporate ladder to become assistant food and beverage manager at Mandarin Oriental, Manila before joining Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur in 2000. Schnider moved from his role as food and beverage manager to resident manager five years later. Today, Schnider holds more than 20 years of experience at Mandarin Oriental hotels in the Asia-Pacific region. Overlooking elegant rooms and suites set in a tranquil atmosphere alongside stunning views at the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s city Centre, Schnider ensures that each guest at the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur experiences a personalised stay steeped in luxury and hospitality. Renowned for focusing on excellence in all aspects, Schnider has a record for maintaining superb hotel service and product quality.

LUXUO sits down with the seasoned hotelier to discuss the evolution of Kuala Lumpur in recent years and how the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur differentiates itself from its competitors.

You left Doha to come back to Malaysia in 2023. Clue us in to your experience in hospitality.

Hospitality remains a very competitive industry and our guests continue to evolve at the same time in terms of their needs and wants.

How does it feel being back at the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur after your first job two decades ago?

It feels great to be back in Malaysia after a long time and I will always reflect fondly on my experience in Kuala Lumpur from March 1999 to October 2005. This hotel holds a very special place in my heart.

Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur facade at night

How have you seen Kuala Lumpur evolve over the years?

It is almost a completely different city from when I was working here back in the early 2000s. From my perspective, it has changed and matured in the sense that there are a lot of new buildings, hotels, people, and of course, free-standing restaurants.

Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
The Royal Suite’s Living Room at dusk

What is the DNA of the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur hotel and how does it differentiate itself from other high-end hotels in the capital city?

The DNA of Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur will always be steeped in class and high-quality service. With the increasing standard of service across the industry, it is important that we maintain the way we do things in the hotel.

Read More: Mandarin Oriental unveils plans for Mana’olana Place in Honolulu, Hawaii

What do guests love most at the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur?

Our guests always appreciate the prestige and recognition that staying here brings. We reciprocate this by ensuring that all their needs are met and that they are kept happy regardless of if they are staying for one night or more. Therefore, everything we do must revolve around an experience that cannot be matched. If we are able to give guests this experience, they will continue to appreciate what we do for them.

Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Lai Po Heen

On the fine dining side and as a food lover yourself, tell us more about what the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur currently has on offer.

Our hotel has many things to offer from a business perspective to a leisure perspective. For business needs, we are strategically located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur where several key businesses are. It is also conveniently located next to venues like KLCC Convention Centre, the PETRONAS Twin Towers, and many luxury branded shops. We also have the largest Club Lounge in Kuala Lumpur. Our MO Club Lounge is an ideal place for guests who want a relaxing and quiet space to work. It also offers one meeting room as well as a boardroom for bigger groups. These spaces can be used for private discussions, presentations and more. At the same time, the 270-degree view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline also provides a stunning backdrop for work or casual discussions. Our dedicated colleagues are always on standby to cater to guest needs whether it’s a simple cup of coffee or a meal.

Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Spa’s Single Treatment Room

For leisure, we have many options such as an award-winning spa at Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, Peter Burwash International certified tennis courts, an infinity pool overlooking KLCC Park, a well-equipped fitness centre and many top dining outlets.

All these make Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur more of an urban resort as opposed to the more traditional business hotel.

Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
The Mandarin Cake Shop

Your hotel’s durian pancake at the Lai Po Heen Chinese restaurant has become something of a culinarily icon. Are these among your personal favourites?

To be honest, I’m not a fan of durian, but the pancakes are decadent. However, I do enjoy sweets once in a while.

Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Lounge on the Park Patio

As general manager, what are your plans for the hotel from 2024 to 2025?

My focus is always on delivering legendary service and exceptional experiences. I believe that when it comes to the hotel industry, especially for Mandarin Oriental, what truly sets us apart is our passion for quality service. These are the things that guests remember along with amazing facilities, amenities and dining options.

Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Royal Suite’s Dining Area

To cap off this interview, indulge us in one secret that you have never shared about the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur? Perhaps a hidden location or a secret experience?

When you book an MO Club Room or Suite, you will have one of the most exclusive MO Club experiences in the city. Benefits include flexible check-in and check-out times, an airport fast-track service, priority bookings and of course access to the MO Club Lounge, the biggest Club Lounge in the city.

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