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SPOTLIGHT ON Zoltan Payerli, General Manager, Nobu Hotel Chicago

9 December 2020
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Zoltan talks about how the pandemic has affected their property and innovative ways they are delivering experiences while still staying safe.

Congratulations on your new role as General Manager of Nobu Hotel Chicago. Can you tell us about the impact the pandemic has had on the opening of the hotel?
Thank you. The pandemic impacted us from a few different angles, starting with pre-opening. During the construction phase, we were faced with travel and shipping restrictions from all over the world. This pushed our team to be creative and innovative so that we could open the hotel effectively and efficiently.

The pandemic also caused us to strategize about safety and sanitation for our guests and team members. We invested in PPE items, an electrostatic spray gun, and hand sanitizer stations for each guest floor and in public areas. Ultimately, it’s all about making sure our guests will feel safe and ensuring they can enjoy their experience. Our talented team has been executing the needs of our guests flawlessly alongside our stellar accommodations. That combination has helped our guests enjoy their “mini escape from 2020.”

How have you prepared your operations and team for the next few months until there is a vaccine?
We have prepared our team to gather information about each guest and the stay experience they are seeking. We understand that there is an emotional and mental aspect to health and wellbeing, and a correlation why people may want to escape their homes for a short period of time. We want to deliver on this safely. Implementing social distancing, hand sanitizer stations, and capacity restrictions in areas such as the fitness center and elevators are just a few of the many measures we are practicing.

We also recognize that guests are still looking for a way to safely celebrate the holidays this year. We have launched an intimate holiday gathering package bookable in the Sake Suites or Nobu Villa. Each featuring separate spaces for sleeping and entertaining, the package is complete with a holiday bento-box meal to be enjoyed among loved ones.

The power of positivity also goes a long way to ensure that both our guests and team members are cared for. After all, that is what hospitality is all about; people helping people.

What are some of the new programming features you are implementing?
For the first time, we are offering Nobu To-Go for a memorable dining experience. Guests can order “take out style” from the famed Nobu Restaurant and savor signature dishes from the comfort of their hotel room. This allows our guests to enjoy peace of mind in a clean and intimate setting, while enjoying exceptional individually wrapped dishes and bottled cocktails. We also just launched a Minibar Delivery where guests can select their favorite libations from a special Minibar Menu to be delivered to their room. Guests can place these orders with our text messaging system for contactless communication with our team.

Can you tell us about Nobu Restaurant? What can guests look forward to?
It’s truly a world-class experience. As a native Chicagoan, watching our hotel grow and develop has been an amazing experience, and it’s appreciated to see the investment the restaurant team puts into each table setting, dish, cocktail, and service. I grew up on a lot of meat and potatoes, but Nobu certainly has opened my mind to a whole other world of flavors and textures where the quality is just intoxicating. The ambiance of Nobu Restaurant sets the mood for a dining experience you’ll never forget from start to finish. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to photograph each impressive dish just as much as you want to devour it.