Word-of mouth is spreading: Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park’s F&B outlets are sizzling with innovative dining concepts, great value promotions, not to mention classy ambiance and genuinely hospitable service.
By Percy Roxas
Excitement is in the air these days at Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park, especially in the F&B department, where a youthful F&B manager is spreading his passion for great food, fine wines, and living it up in the most stylish of hotel lifestyles. Mexican-born and Swiss-educated Bernardo dela Garza – just six months at the hotel – lends his own personal excitement and passion to making Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park the dining destination to beat in the city. Easier said than done, of course, but this early, Bernardo is already proving that he can do the walk as much as the talk, so to speak. Lookeast Magazine caught up with him recently to experience the seeming metamorphosis – F&B-wise – that the five-star luxury hotel has been undergoing lately.
“Yes, I’m the one in charge,” says Bernardo referring to all areas of food and beverage in the hotel. “I’ve been here for just six months, but it’s been exciting so far. With the many projects we plan to do, with the many promotions we want to launch – you can say we want to deliver a new style of F&B in Bangkok. Opening a new outlet; getting everything done from zero all the way to seeing it open and running takes a bit of time to get done but its very exciting at the end of the day. “
In fact, it should not come as a surprise to find Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park among the top favorites of discerning foodies in the city soon. While the hotel has three restaurants only – Panorama Restaurant on Level 23, the Chinese restaurant Xin Tian Di on Level 22, and Short Cuts on the ground floor – a cursory visit at them can easily convert first-timers into loyal guests.
For example, the all-day dining venue Panorama — which offers panoramic views of Bangkok – is a delight to the senses with its classy contemporary but still laidback ambiance, its innovative dining concepts, and a service that is characteristically Crowne Plaza. The restaurant was given an edgy twist last January when Bernardo and his team introduced a new Latin concept to help the place sizzle during dinnertime. The restaurant – besides preparing the best of Thai, Asia, and International cuisine with the freshest products in an open kitchen environment – can now make those people yearning for food favorites from Mexico, Peru, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, and other South American countries happy. A totally new vibe has infused Panorama, with the well known Latino passion and love for life – music, atmosphere, and all. And the great thing is they have kept the prices very affordable for all even to the wine list.
Bernardo’s personal goal was to see Panorama really sizzle (read: busy) at night. “I would like to see lots of people in the restaurant enjoying wines, which we now serve at prices starting at Bt98 a glass; probably the most affordable wine in the market for their quality. And of course our outstanding food offerings.” Panorama’s lunch buffet has a little section on Latin food, but it’s at dinner that it really comes to life.
Panorama also offers many different promotions that value-seeking guests should find very attractive, such as the “Ladies Nights” every Wednesday when for every four ladies that come in get a free bottle of wine, and the “Mojitos Thursday” when you can sample lots of mojitos with different food combinations for only Bt600 (or Bt150 per individual mojito).
Another project Bernardo is excited about is the transformation of The Finishing Post, their cigar and whiskey bar. “We’re about to launch a range of whiskies to add to our very big collection and we’re working things out with several companies. We will probably have around 70 to 85 different kind of whiskies in The Finishing Post. We’re also working on bringing in a larger amount of cigars and looking at the at regulations to see what can be done to have it completely a smoking venue because it’s a beautiful place for cigar smoking, but these things are still in the pipeline.
We want to focus on whiskies and cigars but obviously if a guest wants to order something else, we’ll be able to do it as always. The Finishing Post will be different than other similar places in that you don’t need to be a member to avail of the facility. “The Finishing Post is geared for the high-end market, but it offers free access to anybody,” he says.
The hotel also just opened the Short Cut’s Deck (which serves dinner and perfect for afterwork hours’ relaxation) at the outside terrace of the main entrance, and the Short Cuts deli on the ground floor, which serves breakfast and lunch. “Short Cuts is an ideal place for informal meetings, quick lunch, or just plain relaxation with friends,” says Bernardo. “It also offers take away options for the busy businessmen.”
Bernardo says other F&B enhancing projects are also in the pipeline, all geared to make people give the hotel’s F&B outlets a second look, come, and return. “We have just launched a new Sunday Brunch as well, with a new live band — among other things. And there’s a long line-up of activities we’ll be doing until the end of the year, so watch out for them.”
“We’re now working harder to try to get more people to come through some special promotions, and other areas to drive revenues, without compromising guest experiences,” he says. “I think we have some of the most underrated restaurants in Bangkok, especially Panorama, and it may take some time before we really see the fruits of our current labors here, but with distinctive culinary concepts, an informal yet sleek setting, and our ‘always there for you’ service, I think we will make it.”
Make it what? “To make Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park a true dining destination,” he says. “Again, we have great F&B outlets, even if it’s me saying it, but not too many people know about them or that we serve good quality food and deliver such good quality service. My end result would be to see the hotel become a place where people love to come to enjoy a couple of wine glasses, savor the excellent food, and experience a totally grand time, alone or with a company.
“It’s very challenging in Bangkok with so many hotels and so may fantastic restaurants – so you have to be more innovative, you have to be a bit different, and more unique than the next place — but we’re actually doing very well in the F&B.”
“I am inviting people to come down to really see and experience for themselves the best of what Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park has to offer. They will be surprised at what we do here. I can guarantee they will not be disappointed.”
Crowne Plaza Bangkok
Bernardo dela Garza says he fell in love with hotels when he was 13. “My family moved from Mexico to Indonesia, and I remember the hotel we stayed there for two weeks,” he recalls. “I got to play around in the hotel, tried the kitchens, met the chefs, saw the rooms — I was everywhere. That really opened my eyes to this career. “
After getting his bachelor’s degree from the Glion Hotel School, he started doing internships, including one at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok. But his career really started with the Hyatt as a management trainee in 2008 before becoming an assistant restaurant manager at InterContinetnal Hotel Doha (Qatar) before his eventual promotion as acting outlets manager.
Then he joined the Six Senses and was at Six Senses Phuket although he also went to Vietnam and Oman to help out with the opening of a hotels and support operations.
Later, he joined Hotel Muse Bangkok “and then I decided to explore new possibilities and then I came here at Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park.”