Welcome Back: Chat With Robert Whitfield, Regional Director UK and General Manager, The Dorchester

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Overseeing one of the crucial iconic lodges in London, The Dorchester on Park Lane, and its sister property throughout the road, 45 Park Lane, as nicely the countryside counterpart, Coworth Park in Windsor, Robert Whitfield has his pulse on how England’s luxurious hospitality trade is navigating COVID-19.  London correspondent Emily Goldfischer had a meet up with him now that every one three Dorchester Collection properties have reopened after lockdown within the U.Ok. 

First, how was the lockdown for the lodges?

We adopted the U.Ok. authorities’s steerage and shut down in March. We had been in a position to reopen Coworth Park within the countryside sooner, over summer time, than we did right here in London. We’re joyful to say we now have retained all our staff throughout the corporate throughout lockdown; it’s the folks that make the magic occur and our precedence was to maintain them employed. The U.Ok. authorities gave us assist, which was nice, however within the instances the place it was lower than the traditional wage, we topped the staff as much as make their full pay.

Now that you’ve got reopened all over the place, how is it going?

Our workers are thrilled to be again and we are attempting to maintain issues as regular as attainable: No stickers and minimal signage; all distancing steerage is completed via staff stationed all through the lodges and by the elevators. It’s working nicely—we’re sustaining social distance; in some areas, staff are sporting gloves and a few meals and beverage servers are sporting masks. So, whereas we’re following authorities protocols, we now have managed to do it in a discreet approach. Additionally, visitors get it by now, so it’s fairly simple to handle. I suppose the largest, most seen change is that we now have hand sanitizer all over the place!

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How is occupancy?

Relies upon. Within the countryside, Coworth Park had one of the best August within the historical past of the lodge. The autumn is well-booked and we anticipate extra last-minute reservations, although we do have numerous bookings already for Christmas. Folks need to have fun however stay involved in regards to the ever-changing quarantine restrictions. Most bookings are taking place inside 28 days. We’ve got seen a reverse sample within the metropolis, the lodges are busier on the weekends with U.Ok. visitors driving in for celebrations or to get pleasure from London. 

You’ve not too long ago introduced a number of meals and beverage adjustments, was that as a consequence of COVID-19?

No, it’s simply coincidental however we now have a “new” government chef in Mario Perera, who truly first joined The Dorchester over 18 years in the past and has risen via the culinary ranks, most not too long ago working instantly beneath his predecessor Stefan Trepp. In his new function as government chef, Mario has accountability for overseeing the brigade of greater than 100 cooks inside The Dorchester’s six kitchens, serving The Grill, The Promenade, The Bar, personal eating and occasions, in-room eating and The Spatisserie at The Dorchester Spa. Over at 45 Park Lane, Jamie Shears has joined as government chef, overseeing the culinary path of the lodge, together with Wolfgang Puck’s famed restaurant CUT at 45 Park Lane. For the time being, we’re identified for one of the best steak in London, Jamie will develop CUT’s menu to have fun domestically sourced components with an emphasis on fish from his house city in Devon, in addition to highlighting vegetarian and vegan dishes, additional enhancing the lodge’s dedication to high quality produce.

How are the eating places doing?

Rather well, truly—individuals need to get out and eat nicely! We’ve not too long ago opened new terraces at each The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, which have been an enormous hit. China Tang has been open since July, the three Michelin-star Alain Ducasse has opened for lunch and dinner, and we simply reopened The Grill. Our ever-popular Afternoon Tea is again in full swing; we’ve even added a really interactive “scone trolley” with a choice of scones and selfmade jams rolling via the foyer. Friends like it. Additionally, as authorities steerage nonetheless permits weddings and non secular ceremonies for as much as 30 visitors, we now have been fairly busy doing small gatherings in our occasion areas. 

Have you ever opened the spa at The Dorchester?

Sure, the spa and gymnasium have reopened by appointment, largely for lodge visitors, although there are some native members.  The protocol is to scrub in between every visitor, which is working nicely thus far. We’ve got seen locals coming in for facials and massages, so enterprise on the spa is selecting up. In just a few weeks time we’ll open a brand new 10,000-square-foot spa at 45 Park Lane, at the side of the 24 new Mayfair Park Residences, which have been developed adjoining to the lodge. The spa is unbelievable, state-of-art services with a 2,250-square-foot, state-of-the-art gymnasium, 20-meter (65-foot) heated swimming pool, separate sauna and steam rooms, hydrotherapy and private coaching.

What else is new?

We’re making an effort to make the lodge extra interactive for visitors coming into London. We’ve got added some new “behind the scenes” experiences, from historic strolling excursions of Mayfair with our head of selling, to unique wine dinners, cooking lessons with the cooks and even small floral arranging programs with our in-house florist Philip Hammond.

For inquiries about VIP Bookings on the Dorchester Assortment UK properties, electronic mail Alison Rutherford, regional gross sales director [email protected]

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