We sat down with the Mark Passmore, the general manager of The Opposite House, and discussed how he maintains their famous standard of service at the pioneering boutique hotel in Beijing
Position: General Manager
Hometown: Taunton, Somerset, UK
How did you arrive at your current position?
I’ve been with Swire for about 10 years, and I used to work for them in the UK. After a couple of years I decided I wanted to do travel and visit places I had never been to. I took a long holiday, and I ended up in Beijing. I traveled all around China and fell in love with the culture. When I returned to the UK I managed to take up a position with Swire in Asia – first I was in Hong Kong and then Sichuan before coming to The Opposite House last year.
What was your first impression of China?
The scale of it. I’ve been to a lot of cities, but in China when you arrive it just seems endless. Also, the diversity of places in Beijing sticks out in my memory. I remember arriving at the Summer Palace on a sunny day and taking a boat out on the lake to just look at all the scenery.
What makes The Opposite House unique?
It’s an institution and a feature in Beijing. There was nothing like it when we opened in 2008. Very early on, it set the tone for intriguing options for restaurants and bars, with a big focus on design. The building was designed by Kengo Kuma, a famous architect, and features rooms with a minimalist design.
Art and design have stayed a key part of the hotel’s environment and we regularly feature the work of Chinese artists. Even though we receive lots of feedback about the style, there’s always an emphasis on the service that keeps people coming back.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Surround yourself with amazing people. If you can find interesting, passionate people to work with you, the rest becomes a lot easier.
Have you read any good books lately?
I just finished reading “Midnight in Peking” by Paul French. It was a turbulent and interesting book, but being here in Beijing really made me enjoy it that much more. I was able to walk around to the places mentioned in the book and really connect it with my life here.
Why did you decide to join AmCham China?
The events. When I was in Chengdu, our hotel was very involved. They were memorable events and I always met interesting people – it made me feel very connected to the business community and the city.
AmCham China members can present their membership card for a 10% discount on all restaurants at The Opposite House, including Sureño, Jing Yaa Tang, and Village Café (reservation required). In addition, members can enjoy a buy one, get one free deal at MESH Bar from 5 – 9 PM. Call them at 6410 5009 for more information or to make a reservation.