David Ecija, GM at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok and DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, tells us why he loves living in Asia while he shares what’s new and fun at both properties he manages.by Laurence Civil
David Ecija, a Spanish national, started his hospitality career as a graduate management trainee with Intercontinental and had two management roles within the company in Spain before joining Hilton in 2000. He arrived in Bangkok in May 2014 as the general manager for both Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok and DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.
“For the past eight years I was hungry to work in Asia,” says Ecija. “Travelling through Asia, I was always transiting through Bangkok as it’s one of the two major hubs in Southeast Asia. I am a city guy, and Bangkok has the perfect buzz for me. And, as a hotelier, it’s a dream to work in a city where people are smiling and have the attitude to please – the core values of hospitality.
“One of the benefits of working in the hospitality industry with a group such as Hilton is that we can do the same job anywhere in the world. They have consistent standards and procedures. As a manager I need to offer leadership and respect everyone who is working with me, irrespective of their job role as they all play a part in the overall guest satisfaction.
“Asia is the future global economic leader,” he adds. “My son is only five years old but he is starting to learn Mandarin at his school in Bangkok. When I was his age in Spain I was looking to learn another European language. The world has changed in one generation.”
Ecija takes care of two very different brands from the Hilton’s portfolio of 14, which are interconnected on a common site that stretches from Sukhumvit Soi 24 to Soi 26. Essentially, Hilton targets the business traveller while DoubleTree by Hilton offers a more relaxed experience for the leisure market and families, and is most definitely “kid-friendly.” No matter which of the two locations a guest chooses, they can charge services in either hotel to their room.
“Every month we have a food promotion reflecting different cuisines from around the world,” he says. “It’s purely coincidental that our executive chef Lluis Cantons and I are both Spanish, and in January we are promoting Spanish cuisine in Dee Lite, at DoubleTree during which visitors can buy a glass of Spanish wine and the second will be with our compliments. On arrival we will serve brava potatoes, deep-fried wedges topped with a spicy sauce. Then, you can help yourself from the buffet to typically Spanish delights such as tortilla de patatas, Serrano ham carved on request and served with fresh tomato bread. Our must-try main course dish is almejas a la marinera, which is mussels with a seafood fisherman’s sauce and paella mixta that consists of a Spanish rice mix of seafood and chicken.”
He continued: ”There is nothing better than preparing you own burger just the way you want it,” he says. “This is why Dee Lite is offering a DIY burger promotion. There is a choice of four buns and six different patties: fish & chips, minced prawn, Indian vegetarian, the ‘classic’ beef, imported turkey, and chicken all served with eight different toppings. The value added benefits are a complimentary glass of Chang beer with every burger ordered, and a 15 percent discount off the total bill for parties of six people or more.”
“Sunday Brunch is a phenomenal success in Bangkok – it’s almost an institution,” he says. “We wanted to offer our diners the flexibility of having brunch either on a Saturday or Sunday, so that they can optimize how they plan to use their precious weekend time. Throughout January, Scalini is offering a Saturday and Sunday a la carte brunch by Bollinger Champagne. The price per person is THB 2,200 with flexible add-on Champagne packages: by the glass (THB 850), by the bottle (THB 4,250) and, for those in the mood to celebrate you can enjoy freedom and total flexibility to suit your individual needs for THB 5,000 per person.”