RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Hilton Hotels keep Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ‘in the zone’

23rd September 2010 Print
The Conrad Centennial Hotel

As the Formula 1  circus moves to Asia for the final part of the 2010 season, the Conrad Centennial Hotel in Singapore, situated right next to  the circuit, has been gearing up for an unusual weekend.

100% of the hotel’s 507 guestrooms will be full with F1 related guests this week and with that in mind the Conrad, part of the Hilton Worldwide Group, has introduced a set of special measures for this week only, which will allow the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team to function comfortably within the hotel whilst remaining on European time.

Now visiting Singapore for the third consecutive year, Formula One’s fraternity is well versed in the logistical peculiarities of remaining on European time for the duration of this unique race weekend. With the Singapore Grand Prix a night race, the timings on track may move forward seven hours from European Standard Time (EST) but the body clocks for those at track remain the same as they were two weeks ago in Monza.

For the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, staying at the Conrad Centennial Hotel, it’s a surprisingly easy transition to make: No jet lag, just the ability to ignore the city’s natural rhythm and a hotel that’s happy to go the extra mile to keep them in the right time zone. That means breakfast in the afternoon, a night at track feeling as though it’s a day at work and dinner at dawn.

As Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principle, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes explains: “Vodafone McLaren Mercedes made a conscious decision when we first came to Singapore to stay on European time for the duration of the race weekend. It makes the fact that this is a night race much easier to cope with logistically. Rather than tackle jet lag and what would then be some extremely late nights, we all remain on a timetable that allows us to work throughout the night and sleep during what is day time for the rest of Singapore.”

For the 500+ staff at the hotel however, that means an unprecedented level of attention to detail. Imagine most of those staff switching to EST too. Breakfast chefs that will start work at lunchtime and cleaning staff used to morning rounds, now on duty from late afternoon. A whole raft of special measures have been implemented, which include; Dedicated staff members remaining on standby for the team and its drivers throughout the night; All the hotel’s facilities staying open and staffed 24 hours a day; Extra staff employed to run the hotel at night exactly as it would function during the day; Maids instructed to block all sunlight from driver suites during daylight hours; A team of chefs serving breakfast at 1pm and dinner from midnight and extra security guards ensuring the drivers’ floors are not accessible during the day when they are asleep. And on top of all that, an extra 50 staff dedicated to running the Amber Lounge event that the hotel will host this year.

“We are delighted to welcome the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, including their two drivers and reserve driver, to the Conrad Centennial this week” explains Heinrich Grafe, General Manager, Conrad Centennial Singapore. “This weekend we are particularly mindful of the role we will be playing to ensure that the drivers get the rest they need at the time they need and that all our facilities are available to them day and night. Working on European time certainly brings its challenges, but all our team members are more than happy to go that extra mile.”

A complicated system of staff rosters ensures that for those on European time, the hotel functions exactly as it would by day throughout the night. And for those guests not requiring a switch in time, the hotel also runs with no discernable difference to them. The General Manager will work all day and all night with very minimal time off in between shifts in order to ensure this happens.  Small wonder the hotel starts planning for the next Grand Prix the day after this year’s race is over.

This level of service is something that Hilton Racing actively encourages throughout the Grand Prix season. Since the sponsorship began in 2005, Hilton’s partnership with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team has continued to extend past on-car branding and into a true partnership, with support of this kind offered at all races where Hilton properties are located. With over 30 Hilton hotels in 17 Grand Prix locations, Hilton are continuing to increase the number of hotels in new and existing markets and look forward to offering continued levels of support not only to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes but the F1 community and its fans in general.”

More Photos - Click to Enlarge

The Conrad Centennial Hotel