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Mandarin Oriental Gets A Flash New Website

November 1, 2012 at 9:15 AM | by | ()

We’d like to think that there isn’t much debate about the importance of having a decent hotel website these days. Yet, some major hotel groups still get it wrong, with limited imagery, poor design, and inconsistent room descriptions (InterContinental, we’re looking at you).

Browsing around Mandarin Oriental’s fancy new website, we’re happy to say there’s a lot to love. Particularly the lush, plentiful images. Aside from the ability to easily find practical information and make a reservation at the right rates, a hotel website should give us two things: a comprehensive idea of what the property looks like, or, if without immediate travel plans, a serious case of wanderlust. How could the below shot of the terrace at Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi (Chiang Mai) not make you want to pack your bags?

Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai

A bug bear of ours is when certain room categories (particularly entry-level) have no images, or a convenient close-up of a nightstand. Not so here. We only spotted a few cases where two room categories shared the same picture (although we do wonder why we should be convinced to fork over nearly $2,000 more for a Premier Central Park View room in New York when a regular Central Park View room looks the same and is the same size?). With all rates, Mandarin Oriental promises those offered on its site to be the best available anywhere.

Each room comes with a comprehensive description of features, amenities, and useful details like maximum occupancy, bed types, size, floor number, and views. Practical elements like maps & directions, as well as concierge tips, are all covered.

In terms of upcoming hotels, we were surprised to see only two listed: Guangzhou for 2012, and Pudong, Shanghai for 2013. Remembering a much longer list from before, we had to find out what was going on. If you thought this meant lots of abandoned projects, fear not – Mandarin Oriental will show up all over the place in the next few years. Behold:

2013 Taipei, Milan

2014 and beyond: Abu Dhabi, Beijing (following that unfortunate conflagration a few years back), Bodrum (Turkey), Chengdu, Costa Rica, Doha, Grand Cayman, Maldives, Marbella, Marrakech (attempt number two), Moscow, St Kitts, Dellis Cay (Turks and Caicos)

One property that didn’t make it back on the list? Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya, which closed in 2011 for “necessary improvements”, but since has become the all-inclusive BlueDiamond resort.

Also featured prominently on the site? Famous fans, and we don’t mean the various designs of the hotel’s logo. We’re talking celebrities, like Jane Seymour, Sigourney Weaver, Christian Louboutin, and I.M. Pei (whose most famous hotel design is perhaps the Four Seasons New York). The advertising campaign spans a decade (!) and includes a donation by Mandarin Oriental to the celebrity’s charity of choice.

This had us thinking: we all know celebrity endorsements work. You name it and some celebrity has tied their name to it with great success. But what about hotels? Do you like MO’s (S)he’s a fan? Does it influence your staying habits?

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