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Recently I had two weeks holiday in Singapore. For the first 9 nights we stayed at the Hotel Vagabond.  It’s been open for less than 12 months and created by pulling together a line of shop-houses.

We’ve stayed in Singapore a couple of times – in the city and also over towards Chinatown, so we were interested in trying a different area. This particular hotel is located on the edge of Little India, not far from Haji Lane and Arab Street, a pretty eclectic area, if you know Singapore at all.

We chose it initially because it was a luxury boutique hotel, it’s location and one website listed it as Adults only.  Now I love children but since we’re past that stage, this classification had me intrigued. I googled the hotel, loved what I saw and booked.


From the beginning of the stay to the end, the experience was extraordinary. Let me walk you through some of what happened:

Creating the customer experience

  • Sit down and relax while you check in – coffee or wine perhaps? they ask
  • Harpreet Bedi, the General Manager arrived while we were checking in (it was a Saturday).  She came straight over, sat down and introduced herself. Over 15-20 minutes we chatted about where we were from and all sorts of other interesting topics including how we found the hotel. She didn’t know about the “Adults Only” listing.  I suggested it was a great idea considering there was a market out there (pre-children, no-children, empty nesters and the list goes on).  When I saw her in the next couple of days, they were working through every listing for the hotel changing it to “Adults only”.
  • There is complementary afternoon tea from 3-5pm every day.  But this one has a difference. For a start Harpreet is usually there to speak with guests. There are employees available to have a chat to you about your day or if you would like any further information about where to go or what to do.
  • The hotel is the only one in Singapore with a Resident Artist Program. Whoever is in Residence at the time – it could be an Artist, a Clothing Designer, an international DJ or perhaps a Chef or two.  You’ll see them in the Salon during “Lady Boss Afternoon Tea Time” to chat with you or showcase what they do.
  • An employee is available to show you through the different styles of rooms explaining about the designer, who made the amazing animal pieces that act as the reception desk or are scattered throughout the Bar and Salon, or the artworks of which there is over 1,000 pieces from traditional art to moving video.
  • On Saturday late afternoon/evening they show an arthouse movie in a curtained off area in the Salon.
  • and much much more…

The whole concept is mind-blowingly opulent, relaxing and friendly. It focuses 100% on the guest and how the hotel can make their visit unique.

Customer service on steroids!

In my first week there, I was contacted by Origin Energy to put in a proposal to speak with their women’s groups in Adelaide, Melbourne & Sydney and they wanted more information about my elearning modules.

I wasn’t remotely organised to do any business, but the hotel gave me a super modern ipad, I connected to their free wifi, sat in their Salon and with a glass of wine beside me (well I was on holiday!), put my proposal together, sent it off, finished my wine and went back into holiday mode.

I’ve stayed in many hotels around the world and the Vagabond has to be one of my favourites, if not my favourite.  It’s all about Customer Experience and being Confident enough to do things differently and we loved it!

And by the way, I got the job.  I’ll be road-tripping to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and perhaps Brisbane speaking to Origin Energy’s women’s groups about Confidence, spending an hour with their top Execs in each region workshopping their issues around diversity and they’ve signed up to put all their female staff on our Corporate elearning membership.

Since I’ve just had the full on Customer Service experience I’m now full of ideas. Upon my return I was speaking with Origin and I mentioned perhaps they should look at what training money was left in their training budget for this year. As we know if you don’t use it, you often lose it from next years budget.

As it’s so close to the end of the financial year, we even instigated Credit Card facilities to make it easy for them to get it paid before 30 June.

Perhaps I should go on holidays more often! I’ve come back energised, focused and obviously full of good ideas.

So next time you’re looking for a speaker for your Conference or Women’s Group, consider giving me a call.  I’d love to have a chat.

For more information go to

Until next time.

Glenise is the Owner and Director of SR Group and Self Confident Women. Her passion lies in increasing confidence and emotional intelligence levels for individuals and teams, creating higher productivity and happiness.  She is a Speaker, Trainer, Advanced Consultant in Extended DISC , Coach & Mentor

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