I’ve been receiving a lot of sad phone calls today … from people I’ve worked with and collaborated before … telling me that Marco Battistotti, ex-GM of the g Hotel, has passed away.
Not only was I insanely shocked by the news, but I was/am deeply upset.
Many years ago (2008), I was not a fan of the g Hotel. In fact, I wrote a blog post about it – proclaiming the g Hotel to be one of the 3 worst hotels in Malaysia. At that time, if you googled “g Hotel Penang,” my review would come up on the first page. Naturally everyone working in the hotel was not too happy to receive a write-up like this.
One day, a very good journalist friend of mine told me the hotel had a new manager and journalists from all major newspapers were invited to stay the weekend at the g. I was like super snarky and said, “Haha … good luck.”
Later on that evening my mate called me and said, “Hey this place is pretty awesome! The service is so good, the rooms are so nice etc etc” and I replied, “You’re a bloody journo, of course they’re gonna treat you guys super good.”
My friend asked me to go to the g and have a drink with him at the bar because it was so nice. I reluctantly went. When I walked into the g Spot, all the marketing staff knew who I was (I guess they had read my write up hehe). Marco walked up to me and introduced himself. “Hi Ben, I’m Marco. I know you don’t like the g Hotel very much, but I’m new here so please give me a chance to change your perception of the place.”
A few weeks after that meeting he called me and asked me if I would be interested in working with him to enhance the environment of the hotel as well as assist him with some marketing endeavours.
And then, I became one of the g Hotel’s strongest ambassadors. Occupancy at the hotel went up and the g Hotel had the highest occupancy rate in Penang for 3 years running.
During the 2 years that we worked together, we did all kinds of crazy things. I wanted to do a pool party, so Marco built me a DJ booth IN THE MIDDLE OF THE POOL. He wanted to have a DJ in the lounge so we created the g Lounge. Marco wanted better sound in the lobby so I designed an audiophile-level sound system for him with handcrafted speakers from the U.S. hidden into the ceiling. He wanted a unique soundtrack for the hotel so I hand-picked different music for every part of the hotel and designed the delivery system which is still used to this day. The music policy was a hit and soon other bars/restaurants began copying the stuff we were playing and people started to refer to it as the “g Sound.” I didn’t think the things that their in-house designer did were classy enough so I revamped their whole design identity and created a “g look” for the hotel.
Marco and I created an incredible environment at the g … one that had never been seen in Penang before. I really put a lot of effort into creating a unique sound experience for visitors to the g Hotel, and the parties that we threw are still talked about to this day.
I’ll always remember how he stood at the doors of the hotel and stop police coming to raid the pool parties because they received noise complaints. That was Marco. He took care of everything else so I could do my job uninhibited. It was a wonderful experience working with him and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.
Marco Battistotti was a legend and a daredevil.
May he rest in peace.