The Corinthia hotel in London prepares to welcome a VIP guest – a Saudi princess with a dog whose needs are almost as demanding as hers.
A team of staff, including two butlers and a florist, are engaged in a military-style operation to prepare the £ 15,000 a night Hamilton Suite.
Keen eyes scrutinize the Italian bedding – each sheet costs £ 1,000 – carefully for folds, ornaments straightened, floral arrangements one last check.
There is a designer dog bed on the marble floor. Organic apple pie flavor treats are nearby. “The dog will also feel like royalty,” explains one team member.
A new series with three separate parts shows how The Langham and Corinthia in London and Chewton Glen in Hampshire are preparing for their VIP guests. Pictured: The £ 1 million chandelier at The Corinthia
The preparations for the arrival of the Saudi princess are unveiled in Britain’s most luxurious hotels, a new three-part series that gives an insight into the painstaking efforts made to meet the vagaries of the rich and famous, as well as the ups and downs that establishments have dealt with. during the pandemic.
The hotels listed are The Langham and Corinthia in London and Chewton Glen in Hampshire.
The first impression is the key to all three. The centerpiece in the lobby of The Corinthia (‘beloved of global megastars’) is a chandelier made of 1,001 Baccarat crystals worth £ 1 million.
The best hotels, it seems, are all in the details. “We write our welcome cards with an ink pen,” said Thomas Kochs, CEO of The Corinthia. “It’s a layer of appreciation.”
The princess duly arrives and Dominic the butler is assigned his first task: taking her fluffy white Pomeranian for a walk. Dominic is often asked to run errands for guests.
“The most expensive thing I had to pick up was a watch,” he says. “It was £ 500,000.” Jochem Meijerink, the front of house director who is promoted to hotel manager during the series, says that they often receive unusual requests in the short term. “Our head concierge was once asked to go to Geneva to pick up a package.”
The most expensive suite in The Langham (pictured) costs £ 25,000 a night and features six bedrooms, a dining room and a grand piano
At The Langham, manager Nick Davies goes out to make sure everything is correct – ‘flags straight, neat, okay’. He says to the porter, perfectly in his bowler hat, “Big smile, the first impression counts.”
The level of cool luxury in the suites here matches that of The Corinthia. The most expensive suite costs £ 25,000 a night and at 4,500 square meters is six times the size of the average UK home.
It has six bedrooms, a dining room and a grand piano ‘with a pianist just a phone call away’. The wallpaper is hand painted and has 9ct gold panels.
Nick Davies comes for inspection. He is not happy. “We have fingerprints here, it looks like a scene from CSI,” he says.
“The first ten seconds that someone arrives is super important,” he later explains. ‘It walks in and makes sure the doors are polished to a high gloss, there are no fingerprints on the copper, everything looks great so it is the very best experience on arrival. We have a specific scent: a ginger lily flower scent that is pumped through the building. ‘
Darren Venables, Chewton Glen’s estate manager, said you can hear birdsong all over the hotel. Pictured: Treehouses at Chewton Glen
Langham’s Palm Court afternoon tea has been a household name since the hotel’s opening in 1865. A champagne tea costs £ 83 per person and a nostalgic menu has been devised – a luxurious take on old favorites, the fig roll, chocolate digestif, iced tea, Bakewell cake and pastry cream. The waiting staff, back from leave, have a trial session.
Cheese scones are square, sweet is round. There are 18 teas for one garden and three sparkling wines. Michel Roux Jr oversees fine dining in the hotel’s restaurants, where a tasting menu of fine wines costs £ 160 per person.
He’s about to try a custard pie – and confectioner Andrew Gravett looks terrified. “Oh my god, that’s amazing,” says Michel. Relief!
In Hampshire, the five-star country house hotel Chewton Glen is set on 130 acres. The atmosphere is luxurious in the middle of nature.
Amanda Holden, James Martin and John Barnes are among celebrities who have stayed at the Chewton. Pictured: Interior at Chewton Glen
‘You can hear birdsong all over the hotel,’ says estate manager Darren Venables. Staying in one of the recently built, ultra-luxurious tree houses can cost £ 4,500 per night. Guests receive champagne and freshly picked grapes from the vegetable garden, with a wine list of around 2,000 wines.
The hotel is a celebrity favorite. Amanda Holden is a guest at an on-site Halloween party, Chris Evans can be seen and former English footballer John Barnes comes for lunch.
Celebrity chef (and Weekend columnist) James Martin has an on-site restaurant and cooking school, The Kitchen. The hotel business is of course about making the customer happy, but it is also about making money.
“One minute you’re looking at what the sugar bowl looks like, the next you’re making a decision that could bring you another million pounds of profit,” said director Andrew Stembridge.
No wonder they’ve been desperate to throw those high-gloss polished doors open again.
Britain’s most luxurious hotels, tomorrow, 8pm, Channel 4.