Anthony Lee has left the Hotel Café Royal in London, nearly two years after joining the luxury 159-bedroom hotel on Regent Street, London.
His departure comes four months after Andrew Turner departed from the hotel as executive chef. Turner, who had headed up the kitchen since prior to the opening of the hotel in December 2012, is yet to be replaced. In the meantime, the kitchen is being led by chef de cuisine Armand Sablon.
A spokesperson for the Café Royal said that Lee, who joined the Café Royal from his role as general manager at the 406-bedroom May Fair hotel, London, had left to pursue new challenges. The recruitment process for a new general manager is now under way.
"During his tenure as general manager, Mr Lee has established Café Royal as an iconic hotel on the London luxury scene and his work will continue to be built upon by the hotel's dedicated team following his departure," she said. "The team will be led in the interim by Francois Xavier Schoeffer, director of operations."
Lee arrived at the Café Royal following a difficult opening for the hotel, which resulted in a succession of disparaging reviews. Upon his appointment, Lee said he recognised the challenges that lay ahead for the hotel and told The Caterer: "I intend to slap it on the bottom and let it cry. Tweaks will be made and the hotel will be warmed up.
"It is not unusual for a new hotel not to get everything right the first time, but I have absolutely no doubt that the Café Royal is part of a new breed of ultra-luxury hotels in London, such as the Connaught, the Bulgari and the Lanesborough, which are set to take a prominent place on the world's stage."
Originally opened in 1865 and once the home of the National Sporting Club, the Café Royal was bought in 2008 on a 125-year lease from the Crown Estate by the Israeli company Alrov Properties, run by property and design entrepreneurs Alfred and Gerorgi Akirov. It underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment before launching as a hotel in 2012.
The Café Royal is one of three hotels - alongside the Conservatorium in Amsterdam and the soon-to-open Lutetia in Paris - to belong to the Akirovs' collection of hotels called The Set.
Andrew Turner to leave Hotel Café Royal >>Anthony Lee intends to wake-up the Café Royal as its new general manager >>Café Royal reopens as 159-bedroom luxury hotel >>Anthony Lee appointed GM of the May Fair hotel >>Looking for a job? See all the current hotel vacancies available with The Caterer Jobs >>
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