London has some of the world’s finest luxury hotels – with “luxury” defined as much by great service as by architecture, location or comfort.
And as any successful hotel manager will tell you – the key to a thriving hotel is the quality of its staff. But what specifically do top London hotels look for when they recruit? Here we take a look at four big luxury hotel names and explore the London jobs they are currently looking to fill.
Four Seasons Park Lane
Four Seasons’ founder and Chairman Isadore Sharp once said: “We look for employees who share the golden rule – people who by nature believe in treating others as we would have them treat us.” This recruitment philosophy is echoed further by the hotel chain’s careers website, which says “we believe that attitude counts as much as skill.”
A successful hotel is built on the diverse skills of many individuals, often doing technical (and often quite obscure) jobs behind the scenes.
This is reflected in some of the openings currently advertised at the Four Seasons Park Lane. For example, there is a vacancy for an experienced Seamstress: duties include repairing and altering staff uniforms to meet the hotel’s high standards. The fact that such a role even exists gives you an idea of the attention to detail which a 5 star hotel needs to have.
As one of London’s new wave of upscale hotel openings, the Four Seasons Park Lane also has several Commis Chef vacancies at the moment, highlighting the critical role of kitchen staff and good restaurants in the reputation of a top hotel.
The company’s philosophy is to hire motivated people and train them to the hotel’s standard, using dedicated ‘learning managers’ with the role of “developing and enhancing the skill levels of employees.” It’s impressive stuff – and Four Seasons is clearly a great badge to have on your CV if you aspire to work in the upper echelons of the hotel business.
An instantly recognisable icon of elegance by the Thames, the Savoy recently underwent a £220 million restoration. And it also recognises the crucial role of its staff in maintaining its reputation. As part of the Fairmont chain, the company acknowledges that, “to offer our guests the best in hospitality and service, we first need to offer our employees the best.”
This blog previously noted how it had managed to poach the creme de la creme of London hotel staff, including the former head butler at the Lanesborough and the award-winning barman (Eric Lorincz) who previously plied his trade at the buzzing Connaught Bar.
In Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill, the hotel is currently recruiting a Sous Chef to act as deputy to the executive chef. The successful applicant will be responsible for managing and training staff, as well as coordinating the kitchen’s efforts with those of other departments.
The Butler Coordinator meanwhile, “acts as the relay point between guests and butlers.” Perhaps as another indication of what top hotels look for in their staff, the vacancy has a strong leaning towards the kind of people who get things right first time and who have stringent standards.
Claridge’s in Mayfair is always on the lookout for staff with “exceptional energy, passion, dedication and professionalism.”
The hotel’s restaurant is currently looking for Commis Chefs and a Senior Chef de Partie to join its kitchen team. Those with a nervous disposition should beware though – it’s run by no less than the fiery Gordon Ramsay.
The hotel is also looking for a Room Service Manager, described as a “strong, motivated individual” with a passion for hospitality. Meanwhile, Evening Room Attendants are also being sought – a key job which helps maintain the hotel’s high standards of cleanliness.
Echoing Claridge’s recruitment philosophy, the Lanesborough are looking for, “energetic, passionate and committed people,” to join their team.
A luxury hotel where personal butlers take centre stage, the Lanesborough aims to “deliver exceptional services to both our guests and employees.” The hotel offers numerous benefits for staff, including a free annual five night stay at any St Regis hotel. In return, employees are expected to show an unfailing dedication to serving their guests, and to “create work for themselves” as the hotel’s Managing Director Mr Gelardi likes to say.
The Lanesborough has a range of opportunities currently for individuals who share the hotel’s values of hard work and exceptional service, and vacancies include the jobs of Butler, Wedding Planner, Head Waiter and Spa Beauty Therapist.
The above hotels are united in looking for passionate individuals who care about providing high levels of service and who are prepared to work extremely hard to delight their guests, time and time again.
As one hotel MD once told me, hotels are a bit like theatres where the staff members are the stars – you’re only as good as your last performance and the hardest aspect is to maintain impeccable standards every single day.
The “performance” analogy is certainly taken literally by the W London with its “Hollywood casting call” approach to hiring staff.
A career in luxury hospitality is therefore not for the timid but can be tremendously rewarding for those who are willing to go the extra mile. If you are one of the special individuals ready to meet this challenge, then London Hotels Insight wishes you luck in your jobsearch.
Photo credits: Savoy Hotel, The Lanesborough, Four Seasons Park Lane, Claridge’s (Maybourne Hotel Group).