London's iconic Savoy hotel has found alternative work for 97% of its staff ahead of the start of restoration work this Saturday (22 December).
The hotel, part of the Fairmont Group, has now closed for a £100m, 16-month makeover and will open its doors again in May 2009.
During this time, the hotel cannot afford to keep its 500 staff on the payroll so, for the past two-and-a-half years, has been working to help its team find alternative work.
As part of this, the Savoy hosted one of the capital's biggest ever career fairs this summer.
The majority of staff have found work elsewhere within the hospitality sector, with notable successes including the Savoy's head doorman, who was offered five posts across London and accepted a role at the Lanesborough.
One of the hotel's cleaners, with Fairmont's support, has decided to strike out on her own and set up her own cleaning company.
Eugenio Pirri, regional director of human resources for the Savoy and Fairmont Europe, said: "We had a commitment from the beginning that our number one priority was to find suitable re-employment for 100% of our colleagues.
"We held CV workshops, confidence training and a careers fair with 58 employers and are immensely proud of our achievements so far. We are determined to continue until we reach our goal."
A spokeswoman for the hotel said around 30 employees were still pursing alternative work adding Fairmont will continue to help them in any way it could.
Today saw the start of a three-day auction of hotel memorabilia from the Savoy by Bonhams, which has so far seen a pair of chandeliers from the Thames foyer go for more than their guide price of £10,000 to £15,000 a piece.
By Chris Druce