By Brad Foster
Newly appointed general manager of the Crown Towers Sydney, Chris Kemlo, isn’t sure what type of opening event will be at the property in December but is remaining positive that there will be something.
The long-time Crown Melbourne staffer relocated to Sydney with his young family recently and is now knee-deep in a recruitment drive for 1600 employees.
At a time when the hotel sector has been decimated this is wonderful news for those displaced by COVID-19.
‘We’ve put some advertisements out there for key roles and have had no shortage of applicants,” Mr Kemlo said.
“We are going to have some amazing talent who will be able to deliver on what will be a premium product.
“One of the challenges is that we have 1600 staff that we have to recruit and no real space to induct them and train them before the site is going to be done.”
That could be music to the ears of nearby venue operators who have, like the rest of the city, been hit hard by COVID-19.
In terms of the build, the property is on track, with the lower half almost completed. The residential side of the tower will follow, with an anticipated opening of April 2021.
Mr Kemlo describes Crown Towers Sydney as an integrated resort and one that will be more of a destination for events and socialising rather than conferences.
Two swimming pools, 14 food and beverage outlets – with some big name chefs already booked in to run restaurants – a rooftop bar “with the best views in Sydney”, a wedding venue, and of course gaming, all on the city side of Darling Harbour at Barangaroo should see the property one of Sydney’s newest hotspots day and night.
“We don’t have a huge footprint of meeting and event space. We have a grand ballroom for about 400 for banquets. We really see the venue as a social event space. We [also] have a couple of small boardrooms.”
Mr Kemlo is understandably unsure what the December soft opening will look like given the impact of COVID-19, nor even what 2021 will be like in terms of business.
He is hopeful that Crown Towers Sydney will attract the local market as has been the case at Crown Towers Perth in recent months.
“I think we will see a pretty strong local market because people can’t travel. I think it’s a good thing that people are exploring what’s in their own backyard.
“I was speaking to one of the BDMs at ICC Sydney recently and they said the pipeline for 2021, 2022 and 2023 is very strong. There’s a lot of hope out there.”
Exceptional dining options
As is the case at Crown Towers Melbourne, the Crown Towers Sydney will be a dining mecca, with plenty of food and experiences on offer.
Already confirmed is internationally renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa who will open his third Nobu restaurant in Australia at Crown Towers Sydney in December.
Also confirmed is an Italian eatery by Ormeggio’s Alessandro Pavoni, a modern Australian restaurant to be run by Ross Lusted of Bridge Room, and Core by UK chef Clare Smyth who worked for Gordon Ramsay before branching out on her own.
Long-time readers of micenet may have seen the Kemlo name in our pages before, with that name belonging to one of our regular contributing writers, Graeme Kemlo. Christopher, or Chris as he prefers, is Graeme’s son. During my interview with Chris he told me that travelling a lot as a child, and one particular round the world trip when he was about six or seven, sparked Chris’ interest in working in the hospitality sector. Early on he wanted to be a chef until he discovered what hours a chef worked and switched his focus to hotel management. And look at him now!