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Interview with new GM of Chiswick Moran Hotel.

by Andrea on October 11, 2010

Chiswick Moran Hotel is a hotel hidden away in the leafy suburb of Chiswick - good value for those who don't mind being about 20 minutes west of central London

If you live and work in central London, it’s easy to forget that not everything of interest is confined to three or four square miles.  And since this blog likes to uncover every facet of London’s hospitality business, we today put the spotlight on a hotel you may not have heard of but which is nonetheless quietly and effectively going about its business.

Say ‘suburban hotel’ and people often think of a Fawlty Towers-style guesthouse with lace doilies and heavy oak furniture – or at best a half-decent Travelodge with its consistent but slightly bland efficiency.

Well take a look at the Chiswick Moran Hotel and you may have to think again.  It’s got fab retro styling – from the blue-glass grid of the outside to the bright spacious interior – located in a leafy riverside neighbourhood.

I spoke to Josh Cameron, who has recently taken over as General Manager.  He told me: “I’ve only been here a few weeks and am already loving it.”

Josh considers inspiring design to be one of the hotel’s key features – “It’s a design-led hotel with funky decor.  And in terms of customers, we get a rather discerning crowd who want something a little bit different.”

Check the best rate for Chiswick Moran Hotel from 30+ hotel booking sites

Rooms at the Chiswick Moran are stylish and spacious

The client base is predominantly corporate – the BBC is a big customer – but leisure travellers are also attracted by the location which has good transport links to both central London and Heathrow Airport.

The hotel also gets thoroughly involved in its local community.  For instance, Josh has already helped out with a local street party; “we had a pig on a spit, a hog roast for 200 people – and amazingly it didn’t rain!” he says.

That helps win local business; many local firms use the bar for drinks with staff or customers and at Christmas the hotel runs “joiner party nights” where families or smaller firms which lack the resources to rent a function room can book a table and still benefit from the party atmosphere.

Josh is also proud of the cocktail list at the Globe bar and the extensive wine list in the Napa restaurant.  The latter features modern British cooking, with a menu that changes significantly to reflect the season.  The restaurant website also highlights a recipe of the month for those who want to recreate some of the many eye-catching dishes at home.

The dress code at the hotel is relaxed.  “It’s not a pretentious or stuffy hotel in any way,” says Josh, despite the hotel’s four-star status.

He does not envisage making drastic changes at the hotel which currently ranks in the top quartile on TripAdvisor for London.  “It’s more about maintaining what’s already working,” he says, adding: “I personally really like the style of the place.  If anything, I’ll be trying to do even more local activity, continuing to build a strong connection with the local community.”

Check the best rate for Chiswick Moran Hotel from 30+ hotel booking sites

Chiswick Moran has a boutique-y feel without fancy central London prices

This approach of integrating the locality is also practised by other London hotels, notably the Andaz Liverpool Street in the underrated East End.

He also mentions that the Chiswick Moran has a good record in retaining staff, pointing out that staff longevity is important when you’re trying to give your customers the best service possible.  As he puts it himself:

“Knowing who your customers are, giving your service a personal touch, being a face that people know – these are all important factors, in addition to a top quality and well priced product.”

Recent TripAdvisor reviews seem to back up this assertion, using words like “stylish”, “good value”, “friendly” and “refined” to describe the hotel.

Check the best rate for Chiswick Moran Hotel from 30+ hotel booking sites

Josh has already worked with Moran Hotels for the best part of a decade – he comes to Chiswick from the sister Crown Moran hotel in Cricklewood.  “Moran like to go the extra mile and think outside the box,” he says, and adds; “I don’t think I’d have stuck with it otherwise!”

His previous CV is colourful and includes a stint at a wildlife park.  Though he worked on the management side, he admits: “I did have a few up close and personal experiences with the animals” – and certainly hasn’t lost that roll-up-your-sleeves pragmatism when it comes to running his hotel.

But try as I might, I couldn’t draw Josh on the similarities between running a hotel and running a zoo…

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Photo credits: Chiswick Moran Hotel.

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