Last updated on November 16, 2016
An insight into the world of luxury lifestyle brands.
Classic beauty and flawless customer service. The attention to detail must be refined. The concierge must be knowledgeable. The food must be beautifully prepared and exactly executed. You must feel that, at all hours of the day, your room is your quiet oasis of peace, tranquillity, and cleanliness.
This is a 5 star hotel. One that offers you nothing but resplendent amenities and top service which makes you feel comfortable at all times.
Beneath that calm surface and the peaceful hotel areas such as the restaurant, bar and spa, there is a loud rumbling underneath it all behind the walls with hundreds of hotel workers preparing, serving, cleaning, dictating, accounting, cooking, and expecting your every last request around the clock.
A 5 star hotel is a carefully oiled fined tuned machine and I was one of its clogs. This is really where employing the services of a company like JPR Media is of paramount importance for many hotels in London as the competition really is fierce.
The first time I worked for a hotel was when I worked with Woodland Retail, started by brothers Henry and George Graham of Wolf and Badger. They won the contract to take over the retail brand concessions, luxury brand contracts, placing products in glass vitrines, starting a luxury magazine from scratch, an in-house Shopping TV commercial which would be placed in every hotel room, and initiate the running of the personal shopping for The Savoy Hotel.
When they won the contract over Harvey Nichols, the Graham brothers offered me to take charge of that project and work in-house at The Savoy Hotel for a year. My job was Sales and Marketing Director of the SHOP at the Savoy and it was fabulous. Not only was it an eye-opener to how a 5-star hotel ran, it gave me the freedom to instigate luxury brand partnerships, the magazine and shopping TV channel which were never done before. We invited an architect in to The Savoy to redesign the glass vitrines with lighting facets which would make luxury products the focal point within the hotel lobby and by the gorgeous Tiffany blue ballroom. The attraction for the luxury brands was perfect positioning, hundreds of affluent travellers got to see specific luxury products on display within the hotel then readily buy them via the concierge.
The brands I signed on were fantastic – Hublot, Audemars Piguet, Bang & Olufsen, Etro and Mark Giusti took prime positions. It was like retail letting without the rental costs within a prime tourist destination and a captured audience.
The Savoy Hotel magazine was gorgeously designed by FMS publishing which also look after Quintessentially and Sunseeker magazines. The shopping TV channel was done by a great young team who produced a top quality glossy commercial. What was most interesting was how The Savoy Hotel ran. The concierges were incredible. It had a corporate feel with a brilliant approach to service, led at the helm by head concierge Sean Davoren.
My experience at Hotel Café Royal was very different. With one of the most gorgeous spas in London (second only to the Corinthia), Hotel Café Royal was transitioning into a different brand and offering.
The hotel was taken over by an owner who wanted to offer a 5 star hotel with entertainment, an invitation for celebrities to stay, and a cool crowd. My job was as a PR consultant to the owner before they launched their private members club.
Hotel Café Royal has the challenge of being situated in bustling Soho close to the theatres whilst demanding top tier prices for club and spa membership and hotel suites which are typical of Mayfair.
Location is everything. With top competing hotels such as The Berkeley, Claridges, Corinthia, Brown’s, The Dorchester, The Ritz, The Bulgari, The Mandarin Oriental, The Lanesborough, Rosewood, The Jumeirah, and many others – each top hotel needs to stay on its toes to remain the best.
That means your food, service, amenities, staff, concierge, accessibility, atmosphere all need to be the best. Customer service is so important.