Text of speech by Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh
The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur is YTL Corporation’s latest addition to embroider the iconic Bintang Walk with a tapestry of quality assets complementing the newly launched Starhill Gallery representing all that’s best in an urban neighbourhood. The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton provide Kuala Lumpur with yet another icon.
It is no accident that the YTL group has persistently chosen international iconic brands as its partners. I have on many occasions reminded many that we should not commoditise passion.
Like 18th century essayist and novelist Oliver Goldsmith, "I love everything that's old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine". More than that, I adore old hotels. In fact, I adore them so much that when I travel abroad, if at all possible I prefer to stay at hotels more than 100 years old.
While this hotel is brand new, The Ritz brand is more than a 100 years old. César Ritz, the founder, was indeed a passionate hotelier. He was a perfectionist in everything he did.
There were some things that he insisted on doing himself. He would, for example, personally answer the private bell that informed the staff of the arrival of royalty or other important guests by placing a fresh white carnation in the buttonhole of his jacket on the way to the lobby.
He was the master of protocol, of seating, of housekeeping, of every detail. Did Grand Duke Sergei prefer his turbot prepared in a certain way? It would be done. Did Lord Baltimore fancy a particular type of drinking glass? It would be provided. Did Lady Carlisle have a fondness for a certain waiter? He would be assigned to her table. He was such a legend that today we describe something grand and opulent as ‘Ritzy’.
The Prince of Wales, who would become King Edward VII, was a great fan; he said, “Wherever Ritz goes, I will follow”, and indeed he was the guest of honour at the opening of the Hotel Ritz in Paris more than a 100 years ago and it was the first hotel in the world in which every room had a private toilet and bath.
Your Majesties, your presence today reminds us of the past historical event but it is also creating history as well. The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur is the first to be housed in the whole of Asia. I owe much gratitude to Bill Marriott, the owner of the Ritz-Carlton brand and also the President of Ritz-Carlton, Simon Cooper for entrusting us with this prestigious brand. While the neighbouring Ritz-Carlton hotel established in 1997 is very popular with royalties from Malaysia and also from abroad, I pray that the Residences at Ritz-Carlton will also find favour in their eyes.
The Ritz-Carlton Logo
Many of you may find it interesting that the lion and crown Ritz-Carlton logo is a combination of the British royal seal (the crown) and the logo of a financial backer (the lion). This logo was actually designed by César Ritz.
The Cobalt Blue Goblet
Ladies and gentlemen, many of you would have noticed by now that every Dining Room and Café at Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts worldwide set their table with the signature cobalt blue glasses. For as long as The Ritz-Carlton, Boston has been in existence, blue goblets have been parts of the place setting. These goblets were designed to match the blue Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers in The Dining Room where they still hang today. Coincidentally, blue glass was considered a status symbol in 1920s Boston. Window glass imported from Europe underwent a chemical reaction when hitting the Boston air and turned blue. Blue glass windows meant the homeowners could afford imported glass. The Ritz-Carlton, being quite fashionable, ordered glasses in this colour.
The Ritz-Carlton redefines the concept of an elegant lifestyle with the debut of The Residences. In addition to their spaciously proportioned condominiums, owners will enjoy all the legendary amenities and service points that have been a hallmark of The Ritz-Carlton from our very beginning:
- Dedicated Concierge
- Gourmet Dining
- Butler Service
- Prestige of living at The Ritz-Carlton
I hope to welcome all of you in this prestigious address and you can have a selection of any of the fifteen Chefs from the fifteen different restaurants available at the Feast Village, Starhill Gallery to cook for you in the privacy of your own residences.
You will also find that our well trained Concierge will do their best to fulfil your requests whatever it is as they are reminded of what César Ritz said, “Never say no when a client asks for something, even if it is the moon. You can always try, and anyhow there is plenty of time afterwards to explain that it is not possible”.
We are indeed proud that once again Kuala Lumpur is the first city in Asia to house such a prestigious asset. Once again we would like to thank your Majesties for honouring us with your presence, the government under the leadership of our beloved Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Badawi and also the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur for their support and encouragement to bring this project to fruition.
Much credit must also be given to my brother, Dato’ Mark Yeoh and his team for their hard work and also to my wife and her team for their passion in carrying out the interior design. Most of all I thank my Lord Jesus for pouring His blessings on this project.
God bless you and thank you very much.
Speech delivered by Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh
Managing Director, YTL Corporation Berhad
at the Opening Ceremony of
The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur
on September 01 2005