An optimistic entrepreneur, Winnie Chiu, President and Executive Director of Dorsett Hospitality International, is all about cultivating inspiring spaces and experiences for Dorsett Hotels guests. Here she tells Sophie Harper why art is so important in that mission and the benefit of having a platform in which to share different cultures…
Dorsett Hospitality International is one of Asia’s fastest-growing hotel groups. With headquarters in Hong Kong, the group has an international footprint in 27 major cities worldwide with a total of 56 properties, including Dorsett Hospitality International’s three core brands: Dorsett Hotels & Resorts, d.Collection, and Silka, as well as strategic partners TWH and AGORA Hospitality, each with their own distinct identity and offerings. Since the group’s establishment in 2007, Dorsett Hospitality International has grown substantially with hotels across China, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Australia, the UK, and Europe with more properties in the development pipeline.
Winnie Chiu, the group’s President and Executive Director since 2011, has been listed as one of Asia’s leading businesswomen, and is a passionate leader championing new and inclusive ways for the group’s brands to engage with their customers. This year, Dorsett Shepherds Bush, London, was the exclusive partner to the Affordable Art Fair, which to Winnie as an art enthusiast was the perfect pairing. “We are very excited about being the exclusive hotel partner for Affordable Art Fair this year and how it aligns with our brand philosophy, Dorsett Discoveries, where we discover the local vibrancy from city to city so we are always surprising our guests with what’s new around the world,” says Winnie. “Along with my personal passion for art, I truly appreciate a great platform like Affordable Art Fair that allows Dorsett Hospitality International to not only help promote and discover up-and-coming artists to fair visitors, but also elevate the travel experience for global Dorsett guests with various hotel art programmes from social media,
on-site event workshops and even getting tickets to the fair from our newly launched membership programme – Dorsett, Your Rewards.”
Winnie tells me how Dorsett Discoveries is one of the most important service commitments of the Dorsett Hotels brand and their tagline, Stay Vibrant. “We look forward to fulfilling our commitment to travellers around the world through Dorsett Discoveries by connecting them with local communities,” she says. “We constantly recommend and offer interesting new discoveries in the popular cities of Dorsett Hotels around the world, including local culture, art and food to inspire our guests and enrich their journey. This year’s collaboration with Affordable Art Fair allowed people who love art and travel around the world to discover Hong Kong art and artists.”
As well as being the group’s President and Executive Director, Winnie is the Chairman of the Hong Kong Art School. “I’m really grateful to be able to use my resources to support many young and talented art students,” she says enthusiastically. “It can even inspire some young artists from around the world to showcase their work. This is definitely our continued commitment and enthusiasm in the future.” And it doesn’t stop there, Winnie is also a member of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. With government funding, the Arts Development Council has more than HK$160m (almost £16m) of funds each year to support local arts. With the sponsorship fund increasing every year with the support of the government, the Arts Development Council also cooperates with sponsors who share a similar vision and values. “The Hong Kong Jockey Club is an excellent partner, it is one of the oldest institutions in Hong Kong and a premier charity and community benefactor,” says Winnie.
From their partnership with the Affordable Art Fair this year, the Dorsett group collaborated with art duo Stickyline to create an art installation inspired by the three Dorsett Hospitality brands: Dorsett Hotels & Resorts, d.Collection and Silka Hotels. “The duo took our brand story to create three birds created from FSC eco-friendly paper in the three different brand colours,” Winnie tells me. “The Dorsett Hospitality International birds represent the fun and lively personality of our brand – she travels and enjoys exploring. She is sociable, mixes with other birds from different cities and feels at home wherever she goes.” She adds, “Art can be diverse and very personal, which is why we never limit a certain type of art, and [instead] focus on promoting new artists through different channels through our own hotel brands, or with authoritative organisations such as the Affordable Art Fair.”
Winnie speaks of the deep roots art has in the culture and heritage of every society and believes that by working with artists, Dorsett Hospitality can tell a more authentic story about the brand and its origins in Hong Kong. She goes on to say, “Through connecting with art students, via my role as Chairman of the Hong Kong Art School, I have been able to introduce talented art students to our guests through Dorsett Hotels around the world, even to inspire some young artists from around the world to showcase their work too. We remain committed to continuing facilitating these introductions as we continue to open more hotels.”
Wanting to create a more memorable environment for guests, Winnie says art within hotel spaces, particularly that of local artists promotes a healthy community of goodwill and support as well. “Hotel groups are increasingly seen as lifestyle brands, and Dorsett’s authentic connection with art arms us with a unique identity.” She adds, “It certainly gives us a great satisfaction and we want to continue the momentum. As one of the fastest growing Asian hospitality groups, we believe that art, culture and photography in our properties enhance our guests’ travel experiences, adding more meaning to their stay.” And with a shared philosophy with the associations and artists the hotel group works with, Winnie’s aim is to not simply provide beautiful accommodation for their guests, but to create memorable experiences and share cultural values. “We hope that the artists we identify will inspire our guests around the world, so that more people can be closer to art and make it a part of their lifestyle,” she says. “When you stay with Dorsett, you are staying with art.”