THE NEXT STEP
Dear Friends of The Most Famous Hotels in the World;
How do our hotels survive the current crises? I want you to meet the innovative managers and to learn how they cope with this unprecedented situation. I will introduce you to the ideas of the general managers of one of The Most Famous Hotels in the World.
And we start with Claridge's in London. General Manager Paul Jackson sent me these lines:
A 2020 Résumé by Paul Jackson
Claridge's Hotel, London
A NOBLE GESTURE
- bespoke Claridge’s masks
- at teatime the piano plays again and the champagne bottles pop
- the particular absence of US guests results in lower occupancy
- we had to be creative in putting packages together collaborating with partners
- we have learnt to move fast and be adaptable
Honestly, Paul, how was 2020?
Covid 19 and the global pandemic has meant 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in Claridge’s history. We had to close our doors for the first time ever, we had even remained open throughout world wars.
We had a lockdown of two halves. The first half we had a duty to step up and support London, as we provided food and a comforting refuge for NHS doctors and nurses (what Paul in all his modesty isn't saying: "they used their empty rooms to welcome 40 NHS workers from St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington who needed to self-isolate for free. The VIP guests were treated to dinner and breakfast every day, and the hotel provided over 500 packed lunches for NHS workers and community support teams throughout the capital. A NOBLE GESTURE that those key workers will remember long after this is all over." THE HANDBOOK, June 2020).
The second half we had a duty to support our business and we started to do take away meals ...Claridge’s Fried Chicken to Go* became an Internet sensation, selling out every day.
On the anniversary of VE Day we held a socially distanced performance in our Foyer, with one of our favourites singers giving a recital of Vera Lynn** classics ...not a dry eye in the house and a very moving moment.
We are now fully open (apart sadly from our event space) and our bars and restaurants have been busy with guests eager to try and find some kind of normality in their lives ...so at teatime the piano still plays and the champagne bottles still pop which is reassuring to see. In terms of rooms the particular absence of US guests has meant occupancy is lower and we have had to be creative in putting packages together collaborating with partners from Selfridges to Gagosian Art Gallery, adding extra layers of interest in visiting the capital and encouraging staycations.
THE NEXT STEP
We have benefited from being long-established, reputable hotels*** so guests do feel safe with us, and while we of course follow all government safety guidelines and all guests get their own bespoke Claridge’s masks and hand sanitisers etc we still want them to feel the magical joy of staying at a hotel like Claridge’s. Our staff have been amazing throughout it all, volunteering to help during lockdown, and now just determined to ensure we warmly welcome back our guests, some of who have been visiting for many years.
Let’s see what the next few months bring, we have learnt to move fast and be adaptable which will make sure we are well placed for challenges ahead.
The Man: Paul Jackson
Position: General Manager
Address: Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4HR
The Hotel: [url=http://www.claridges.co.uk]http://www.claridges.co.uk[/url]
* Claridge's Fried Chicken: "The five-star Mayfair favourite have launched a to-go menu, serving up London’s poshest (and probably more expensive) fried chicken." The Handbook, June 2020. Go to the Handbook's article
"Humm's CFC or Claridge's Fried Chicken was an immediate hit on the bar menu and they've parlayed that into an operation that works well for delivery ..." Go to HOTDINNERS review
** Dame Vera Margaret Lynn was an English singer, very popular during the Second World War. The songs most associated with her are "We'll Meet Again" and "There'll Always Be an England".
*** Opened by independent hotelier Charles Clardiges in 1854, the hotel is today part of the Maybourne Hotel Group including THE BERKELEY, THE CONNAUGHT and THE MAYBOURNE BEVERLY HILLS