Anthony Lee, former general manager of the Connaught, has been appointed general manager of the five-star, 406-bedroom May Fair Hotel in London.
Lee replaces Charles Oak, who is going to launch a new country house hotel, the 70-bedroom Heckfield Place in Hook, Hampshire.
After leaving the Connaught in May, Lee considered several job opportunities in Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi and Geneva, before deciding on the position at the May Fair.
"It is a fabulous hotel that has a great deal of potential," he says. "But I don't think it is well known enough, especially in the USA, so there is a lot of work to be done on marketing the property. In time I believe it can go from being a very good five-star hotel to become a superb, world-class five-star hotel."
Immediate plans for the May Fair include the replacement of its Amba restaurant with a new eaterie headed by chef Silvena Rowe in March 2011. Designed by Martin Brudnizki , whose other London projects have included Scott's and Dean Street Townhouse, the restaurant will serve a menu of seasonal UK produce with Eastern Mediterranean influences.
Other possible plans for the hotel, which is owned by Jasminder Singh - owner of Radisson Edwardian Hotels - include the installation of a Champagne bar on the top floor, with views across London.
Lee left the Connaught after 31 years at the hotel, having joined in 1979 as a receptionist. "After seeing the hotel through a £76m refurbishment, I felt my job had been done and I needed something else to challenge me," he said.
"The May Fair is, and always has been, synonymous with the film and entertainment industry," Lee said. "The hotel hosts film screenings and premieres every week in our 201-seat private screening room, as well our own monthly Film Club, and welcomes film stars and the wider industry every day. The hotel even played a part in Clint Eastwood's latest film, The Here After.
By Janet Harmer
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