Carly de Jong, the curator of Radisson RED Rosebank, a yet to be launched Johannesburg hotel, chats to IOL Travel about the new hotel and her travels. Picture: Supplied.
Carly de Jong, the curator of Radisson RED Rosebank, a yet to be launched Johannesburg hotel, chats to IOL Travel about the new hotel and her travels. Picture: Supplied.

Curator gets candid about the BTS of soon-to-be-released Radisson RED Rosebank

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Jul 21, 2021

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Can you share some details about the BTS that went into launching the hotel?

This hotel is truly a testament to what can be achieved when people get creative to overcome circumstances. Due to the pandemic, the design teams, architects, and developers worked remotely for most of the project build. Technology and communication were a massive part of building this hotel. I moved up from Cape Town in January and immediately hit the ground running. My priority was to get to grips with a new city and to immerse myself in the amazing culture of Africa’s financial hub.  The next step, arguably the most important, was picking my team. This took a lot of time and consideration, but I’m very proud to be at the point where we are almost ready to open our doors and welcome our first guests.

What can travellers expect from the new hotel?

It is a unique and bold offering. The hotel is built on culture and stirs up a vibrant blend of relaxed, social and flexible spaces for our guests. Whether it be a food tasting, art exhibition or rooftop DJ event, there will be a buzz of activity.

How did you enter this profession?

The profession found me. After completing my studies in Cape Town, I moved to London. I found a job at a big corporate hotel near Reading, working at the front desk. I fell in love with the adrenalin of hospitality. I worked my way up from reception before moving back to South Africa. The 2000s were an exciting time to join the local tourism industry.

Describe a typical day for you?

In hospitality, there really is no such thing. My days are never the same and are a constant reminder to be ready for the unexpected. However, some elements remain consistent. These include touching base with all of the staff, walking through the property on inspections and consuming at least four cups of coffee. No matter how crazy days get, I always incorporate productive conversations with my management team.

What has been your biggest achievement?

There are three that stand out: When the hotel I was running won the award for best Revenue Growth improvement in 2019, the time lectured part-time at a hotel school in Cape Town and the opening the first Radisson RED in Johannesburg. It is a huge achievement and responsibility that I’m proud of.

What is your favourite holiday destination and why?

Bali. Besides being absolutely beautiful, it just has so much to offer, from beaches, culture, spirituality, great weather, friendly people and fun activities. It’s a great place to relax.

The one thing you cannot live without while on holiday?

Wi-fi.

How do you unwind after a long day?

I love to unwind through cooking and preparing meals.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I want to live some of the dreams that I put on hold in the past 15 months. For now, I would like to see our relevant markets regain their foothold to levels before the pandemic and then implement the valuable knowledge that we have gained during this time.

What is your advice for people wanting to get into a career in the tourism industry, especially during the pandemic?

It’s no secret that the pandemic has had a massive impact on the tourism industry. However, there is still opportunity and hope. My main piece of advice is to be flexible and resilient.

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