While many luxury hotels in London have postponed opening till September, you opened rather early. What was the motivation?
Firstly we couldn’t wait to get back to doing what we love, we all greatly missed greeting guests and providing the excellent service we have become renowned for. It was a decision we thought long and hard about and there was a great deal to put in place to ensure we had left no stone unturned when it came to adhering to the new COVID Secure health and safety measures. Being a smaller hotel allowed us to reopen at a time when we knew market demand would be low, and it was a good opportunity to test this demand and find ways to adapt the offering to suit the current climate. We have an incredibly strong food and beverage offering, which we knew would be a draw for the local community as they started to go out and about again after so long. Finally, we had absolute confidence in our ability to reopen under the current guidelines and ensure our employees and guests felt safe and taken care off. It was the right time to do so.
Which were the major challenges and opportunities of re-opening early?
Our priority when we reopened was to make sure our employees felt comfortable with returning to the hotel and that the new guest experience was as seamless as possible. It was very important for us to find new ways to ensure the guest has the same perfect stay as they had before, as the majority of our guests are regular and they have come to expect a very high standard. The exceptional service is one of the main reasons why our guests are so loyal, so this was a top priority. The opportunity of course was that there were so few hotels open and we were able to welcome new guest as well as many of our regulars.
With key international feeder markets such as the Middle East and the U.S. unlikely to return to London this year, how has your guests profile changed, if in any way.
We are remaining very positive that will be welcoming our international guests back soon. We are of course seeing a fewer number of guests from countries further afield, however we are pleased to be seeing strong domestic pick up in room bookings. We have stayed in touch with many of our guests over the last few months, and are thrilled to be seeing them return.
To what extent you are still catering to local patrons?
The local community is very important to us, in particular for our bar and restaurant. We are passing the Government’s support of the industry directly on to our guests with a reduction in VAT on accommodation, food and non-alcoholic beverage. We also took part in the government’s Eat Out to Help Out campaign throughout August, and have extended this until the end of September.
You launched an outdoor al fresco terrace. Tell us more.
We launched ‘CUT Out’ just in time for the August sunshine, which is accessed through a new private entrance, where we serve all your favourite dishes from our famed restaurant CUT and cocktails from BAR 45. CUT Out is open for dinner every day from 6pm. It’s a perfect mini oasis on Park Lane, and I highly recommend ordering the Shallow Negroni from the outdoor Negroni Bar!
Are guests nowadays more focused on safety and hygiene in regards to Covid-19?
Guests are absolutely more conscious about the safety and hygiene of any hotel or restaurant they are visiting, and it is our job to ensure our heightened procedures are clearly outlined and communicated to guests at every stage of their journey with us. From the moment they visit our website to book, our guests can be confident that they are going to be well looked after and protected.
What are your expectations for the rest of this year?
We are really excited about the rest of the year at 45 Park Lane, with a new state-of-the-art gym and pool launching later this year. We will be sharing more details on this soon.
We will also be welcoming the extremely talented Jamie Shears as executive chef, who will be joining us from 45 Jermyn Street. Lots of exciting things to come at 45 Park Lane so watch this space!
How delicate is training of staff on Covid-19? How do you alleviate pressure so that all employees instil a safety feel to guests?
Our team have had, and continue to receive, regular training to ensure they are confident on the new standards regarding COVID-19 health and safety protocols. An even more personalised service was introduced as part of the guest experience which now includes contactless check in and out and every guest receives a special ‘Protect Me’ amenity to use throughout their stay, with everything they might need including hand sanitiser and sanitation wipes.
What novelties we should be expecting? Tell us more about your recently launched FAME art exhibition
We are really excited to be launching the FAME exhibition, which will be on show until 12th October. In partnership with Box Galleries, the exhibition will be a showcase of 30 celebrity portraits captured over a span of 40 years by renowned photographers Terry O’Neill, Douglas Kirkland and Andy Gotts MBE. This really is a unique opportunity to see the collection of rare, off-screen moments in the lives of some of the world’s biggest stars. This is a really beautifully curated new exhibition and not one to be missed!
Following this exhibition, our fantastic art curator Lily Ackerman from Ackerman Studios has planned a programme of exhibitions emerging artists Raul Castillo and Clarissa James.
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