segara: 2021 marks a major milestone in the history of Zannier Hotels – how do you look back on the last ten years?
Arnaud Zannier, CEO and owner of Zannier Hotels: 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of Zannier Hotels and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far. The 12-suite mountain retreat of Zannier Hotels Le Chalet was our first project. In a sense, this project has been a perfect lab for me to experience and finetune my hospitality vision. It was small but challenging (due to the associated fame of the original building and the high competition of luxury hospitality in the area), in the heart of a cinematic and iconic ski village. And it paid off. The product worked very well since day one.
How did it all start with Le Chalet – was it a coincidence or well planned? What feelings do you get looking back at the opening of Zannier Hotels Le Chalet?
I discovered Le Chalet through a family trip. I immediately saw the potential of this place, that inspires both serenity and genuine conviviality. This is not only due to the proximity of nature but also because of the architecture and coziness of the place. I thought this was a good time to realize a personal dream and enter the hospitality industry with Zannier Hotels. Working in the luxury fashion industry, and travelling a lot for my work, I was lacking the authenticity and simplicity that guests often require when travelling. The day we opened I was not anxious but very much excited to see this project coming to life after so many months seeing it in my head.
Has your vision changed from the birth of Zannier Hotels to today?
To be totally frank, it hasn’t changed much. Our DNA has always been very clear and strong and did not change over the years. The approach we initiated ten years ago – with human scale properties offering a sense of the aesthetic, authenticity and comfort while respecting their surrounding environments – now became the norm. I don’t mean to be a pioneer in this ever-changing industry, but I am pleased of where we are today. I am excited now to have reached another development pace, with more and more management contracts.
The most recently opened property is Zannier Hotels Bai San Hô featuring Zannier Residences for the very first time in the Zannier history. Are there more projects like this in the pipeline and why did you choose to also offer residential villas?
Since the beginning of Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô, we wanted to include a residential project on this beautiful land in order for our guests not only to stay with us, but also to offer them the possibility to purchase a villa and enjoy repetitive stays. Building on our ten-year reputation for understated luxury and the increase in demand we foresee for residential projects especially in Asia and America, we decided to launch Zannier Residences. The idea is to offer fully furnished private homes, located besides Zannier Resorts with an interesting return on investment, and giving access to a multitude of services and enriching experiences that characterize our group.
Another residential program is currently being developed as well as some other exciting projects that will be announced soon.
Looking ahead now – what is your ambition for Zannier Hotels moving forward? Where do you see the brand in another ten years?
Who can say what will occur in the ten following years? In the current situation, and when we see the major changes over the last year, hard to say! At Zannier Hotels, we aim at pursuing our development, keeping our values and our own vision of hospitality. This is our credo, our objective, and it will remain our target. I prefer to consider a controlled development, in line with our core values that respect the place and the people. We have worked on ten projects over the past ten years. Let’s hope we can work on ten others…
Why is it so important to you as owner to be involved in every single step from finding new locations to actually get the hotel up and running?
I enjoy all the creative parts; whether it is deciding on the architecture, find a concept or recreating the atmosphere from a period or culture in each destination. I really love all the conception and innovative components. At Zannier Hotels, we strive to arouse emotion through architecture, atmosphere, and bespoke service. I like working closely with the architects and decide of each piece of our interior as well as defining the storytelling of each place. My team and I always try to find inspiration from what we find onsite. We also relay a lot on antics, which share amazing stories, and we heavily opt for locally made or locally sourced objects. Our interior decors feature an understated elegance drawn from local traditions and completely dedicated to guests’ wellbeing.
Zannier Hotels are known for local and authentic design offering decoration items handcrafted or even sourced on local flea markets. What made you take this decision rather than getting renowned designers and internationally known brands on board? Why is the local craftmanship so important to you?
Through the fashion industry, I have developed my eye for details and developed a real passion for the work of craftsmen. This is a rich heritage I carry and try to apply in my (new) life. I wanted the same for Zannier Hotels. In my opinion, relying on locals is the key for Zannier Hotels. Rather than promoting big names, I prefer to highlight the authenticity and creativity of genuine artists. Craftsmanship is a core element of our DNA! Zannier Hotels operates a diverse and inclusive company culture around the world aiming to curate the world of skilled people. Our genuine and warm hospitality is built from a desire to share the beauty and traditions of the countries where we operate. Community development and educational projects ran by our hotels are some examples of our commitment to perpetuate traditions and support local communities.
What is your personal most memorable souvenir?
I believe my most memorable souvenir has been when I have finally been able to discover Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô in November 2020. Because of the covid crisis, I have not been able to physically visit the property during the construction phase, as I am used to do. I have been following the construction remotely, making all my feedback and placement via webcam. So, when I have finally been able to enter Vietnam and discover the resort completely build, it has been an incredible emotion. A mix between the apprehension, the joy and the pride of having achieved something unique (opening a hotel during a pandemic is a great achievement). The end result was above my expectations. Bãi San Hô is really an incredible place, where the vegetation and the local architecture transports you into a new world. Being able to meet the teams who worked so hard was also a great reward and an unforgettable souvenir.
Last but not least – how would you describe the brand Zannier Hotels in three words?
Our concept could be summarized in 4 words: independence (we are not mainstream), authenticity (we master beauty and simplicity), enrichment (we offer enriching and inspiring experiences) and empowerment (we promote wellbeing and culture).