Thomas Kochs, until recently general manager at Claridge's, has been appointed managing director of the Café Royal, London.
It will be a challenging role for Kochs, who is regarded as one of London's most charismatic and highly respected hotel general managers. As well as a number of high level departures in quick succession, including that of executive chef Andrew Turner in August last year, the hotel has endured a succession of disparaging reviews.
However, it is a role that Koch is "thrilled" to undertake. "I am excited to be joining the team at Café Royal, one of the most beautiful buildings in London with fascinating heritage and history to work with," he said.
"Café Royal is already 'London's living room', a place for minds to come together and creativity to flourish, where guests can connect to and enjoy the hotel's offering.
"Café Royal as a hotel is three years young and at this point is clearly ready to take the next step in its journey. There are exciting things to come, which I am thrilled to be a part of".
The hotel is one of three properties within the Set hotel collection - alongside the Conservatorium in Amsterdam and Hotel Lutetia in Paris (due to open in 2017) - owned by Alrov Properties, an Israeli company owned by property and design entrepreneurs Alfred and Gerorgi Akirov.
Georgi Akirov, chairman of the Set, said: "We are delighted and enthused for this latest appointment to our senior team at the Set hotels. We look forward to working with Thomas to continue our journey towards achieving our vision of creating stimulating and 'beautifully composed' experiences for our guests".
Kochs left Claridge's in November 2015 after five years in the role. His surprise and sudden departure came seven months after Coroin, the holding company of Maybourne Hotel Group, the owner and operator of Claridge's hotel, was acquired by Constellation Hotels, owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Holding.
Born in Germany, Kochs eschewed a career in medicine to undertake a hospitality training programme with the Steigenberger Hotel Group. He arrived in London in 2000 as banqueting operations manager at the Hyatt Carlton Tower (now the Jumeirah Carlton Tower), before joining the Maybourne Hotel Group at the Berkeley, where he initially worked in banqueting, becoming head of events and subsequently food and beverage director of the hotel in 2005.
From 2007 to 2009, Kochs was hotel manager at the Connaught before moving to Claridge's in the same role in 2009. He was appointed general manager of Claridge's in 2011 and over the next five years increased the profile of the hotel by welcoming in TV cameras for the first time during its 159-year history for a three-part BBC TV documentary. Inside Claridge's was well received both inside and outside the industry for providing an insight into the exceptional service standards at the property.
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