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In the 18 months since the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane was launched following a £125m refurbishment, the property has established itself at the top of its competitive set. Not only has it achieved some of the highest occupancy figures and average room rates for the capital, but it has also consistently impressed the guests who have been eager to visit the new-look hotel.
In nominating the 193-bedroom Four Seasons for the accolade, Peter Lederer, chairman of Gleneagles Hotels, said: "It is clear for all to see that the investment has created a world-class physical product, and has also resulted in the development of an outstanding group of people."
The judges agreed, recognising that general manager John Stauss had prioritised its 417 employees as the hotel's mot important strategic asset by overseeing the recruitment, training and induction of a team that has delivered outstanding service from day one.
To this end, Stauss has hired people predominately on attitude and an ability to be insightful, rather than technical ability. This, he believes, has helped the hotel exceed guests' expectations and hence stand out from its competitors.
There was much about the facilities and look of the refurbished hotel that wowed the judges. Highlights include a stunning spa, fitness and lounge on the newly created 10th floor, with panoramic views of the city - a real coup when so many hotels bury such facilities underground.
Meanwhile, most of the ground floor is taken over by Amaranto, a flexible food and beverage concept that allows guests to choose from a variety of menus throughout the day and select whether they eat in the lounge, bar, restaurant or outside dining space. The design by Pierre-Yves Rochon is sophisticated without being over-the-top opulent and totally in keeping with the hotel's Park Lane setting.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
"Every now and again you see something which is exquisitely exercised and the reopening of the Four Seasons is just that - it is simply meticulous and it is rare. The hotel has been carefully designed around its clientele, which it clearly understands perfectly."
Gordon Campbell Gray, Campbell Gray Hotels
"The great hospitality and service John Stauss's teams have always delivered is now matched with a great product. With its repositioning, the property is now placed right at the top of the London luxury market - where a Four Seasons hotel should be."
Andrew McKenzie, The Vineyard Group
â- Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
â- Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
The JudgesRaymond Blanc, chef-patron, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
Gordon Campbell Gray, chairman, Campbell Gray Hotels
Stephen Carter, chairman, De Vere Cameron House on Loch Lomond
Giovanna Grossi, group area manager, AA Hotel Services
Andrew McKenzie, managing director, The Vineyard Group
Marvin Rust, senior partner - tourism, hospitality and leisure, Deloitte