Breakfast with Adrian Ellis
'Good morning, Adrian, thanks for your time. We are overlooking the lobby, here on this lofty mezzanine level, at the business lounge. Three quick questions to warm up:
Q. You are British, an expatriate in Hungary, however, a European working in Europe. What’s the greatest barrier? I guess the language barrier - I am trying to learn, but slow progress and it would be great to communicate better in Hungarian.
Q. What's your motto in life? Be positive and where there is a will there is a way.
Q. And your preferred breakfast? Scrambled eggs
Ok, here we go: Q.:The hotel is really busy, down there, at the reception, sometimes I observe people queuing to check in. With over 400 rooms you can accommodate over 800 people. Given these numbers what can you do to offer the single guest the feeling of being special?
We always ensure that our Guest Relations team is around to help during busy periods so that all individual arrivals receive special care and attention. In addition we have an excellent exec floor service whereby guests reserving our Exec bedrooms can check in privately at the exec club check-in area.
Q. You have recently reopened the spa, with one of the most beautiful in-door pools in the world (above) dating back to 1886. Certainly one of the most historic venues. Are hotel guests using it a lot? With one word: does it make profit? Yes.
Q. When I started researching the hotel's history, I learnt that the Royal Café was one of the most important venues for the intellectual society of Budapest. Now you reopened it. I immediately checked the Dobos Torte, a legendary Hungarian cake, maybe the only one to rival the Viennese Sacher Cake. It is the best Dobos Torte I have eaten in 40 years - and I am an expert in Dobos Cake! Congratulations! But your ‘Kaffeehaus‘ is run by a legendary Hungarian coffeehouse operator and confectioner. It is doing very well. Do you regret that you do not operate it yourself? Not at all, it is great to have a famous Hungarian institution, such as Szamos Marczipan who are experts in this field and providing a cafe that it is perfect compliment to the style and heritage of our beautiful hotel.
Q. Is history an important element in your marketing actions, or is it rather difficult to sell a historic hotel? No history is key and in particular for our leisure guests from around Europe and the USA, this is a key selling point.
Q. Is it difficult to find staff in Hungary, to train them and to adapt them to the level of this environment? For some positions it is difficult to find staff and we spend a lot of time to train and develop the quality of hospitality we are looking for in a 5 star hotel. However the staff adapt very quickly and we are proud of the service quality we provide.
Q. What would you never like to be changed at the Grand Hotel Royal? The ambiance and tranquil environment that the Hotel creates. Although we are a large hotel, the design and ambiance created always means that we have a very elegant and serene atmosphere that is appreciated by all our guests.
Q. Do you support female traveler friendly environment. Yes we are proud to accommodate many female travellers and provide the ideal comfort, luxury and security which is required
Q. Do you personally read guest comments? Yes every one
Q. Do you ever personally "testdrive" your hotel? I live in the Hotel so I 'testdrive' it every day!!!
In short: ADRIAN ELLIS: Born in London / Welwyn garden city Married / no kids GM for last 18 years in 5 different hotels
CORINTHIA GRAND HOTEL ROYAL, BUDAPEST Facts in brief: Number of Rooms: 414 Suites: 20 MICE square metres / rooms: 2500 Expatriates working in hotel:2 Staff in total:300 Staff / guest ratio: 0.75:1