The Wellesley in Knightsbridge, London, is known as a boutique-grand hotel. Named after military leader and former Prime Minster, Sir Arthur Wellesley, the hotel has been restored in 1920s’ Art Deco style with a modern twist.
Despite its appearance and origin as Hyde Park Corner Tube station, the hotel is at the forefront of adapting to guests’ desires. This includes the growth of interest in exercising and sport participation in the country. Recent research has found that the average executive exercises four times per week, and with busy work-life balances, some are completing more activities even while staying in luxury hotels. The Wellesley, opposite the 350 acres of Hyde Park, has adapted its offering to suit this change.
“We pride ourselves on the personal service we offer to our guests, and the new Running Butler concept is an example of this,” says Stefano. “There’s been an increase in demand for general health, fitness and wellness services at the hotel, so this was a great opportunity to offer something new in this area while making the most our location opposite Hyde Park.”
The hotel’s Running Butler is on hand to tend to the runner’s every need – from waiting with refreshments and home-made protein snacks, to preparing a bubble bath for post-gruelling runs. “We have already had guests express an interest, especially with several big runs coming up such as the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon in October. This personal service helps us to stand out among the competition, and we are always looking for new and inventive ways to demonstrate this to our guests.”
Stefano explains how they always try to take onboard feedback from their guests. “We strive to fulfil any fitness and well-being service requests. Recently we have created a partnership with Grace Belgravia, a well-being club for females, which we implemented as the demand for spa breaks and in-room spa treatments has grown.”
“Personal service helps us to stand out among the competition, and we are always looking for new and inventive ways to demonstrate this”
The Wellesley has also recently brought in WhatsApp to improve communication with global guests. The hotel is using the messaging service to communicate with guests for reservations and enquiries.
“While the interior of The Wellesley is reflective of the 1920s era, our approach to technology is modern. We understand the needs of the modern traveller and offer state-of-the-art technology. We aim to be at the forefront of 21st century travel, and the WhatsApp offering is a reflection of this.
“Our reservation teams have access to the app when the reservation lines are open, meaning someone is on hand throughout the week to answer enquiries. They can also help with additional requests, such as transfers, by passing these to the relevant teams within the hotel.
“The service has been well received by both existing and prospective guests. We have taken bookings through the app, and we’ve had positive feedback from guests on how helpful it has been before and during their stay. It is very much an addition to our existing communication channels, and we encourage guests to use whichever medium they feel most comfortable with. Our teams are at guests’ disposal via phone or email too – we are just ensuring that we offer as many options as possible,” says Stefano.
“In a world where technology is becoming more ingrained in our everyday lives, luxury hotels need to continue to offer a personal customer service – travellers will continue to seek that human encounter, which is something we will never deviate from.”
Stefano believes indulgence still plays an important role despite some of the changing desires from guests. “There has generally been an increase in demand for well-being travel, but we believe in offering a balance, and indulgence isn’t something we would shy away from. Our guests still enjoy fine Italian cuisine in our Oval Restaurant, or afternoon tea in the Jazz Lounge. We are also home to Europe’s largest hotel humidor, with heated terraces for those who enjoy a cigar. It’s important to the hotel to be able to offer our guests options, so they can tailor their experience to their own taste.”
New technology is changing how a hotel and guest interact. Smartphone access and universal mobile coverage allow guests to communicate in any place and at any time. As well as expanding technology, the increase of breaking away from the stresses of life is growing and more are looking for exercise and well-being plus occasional indulgence. By matching and responding to these changes, The Wellesley is ensuring it can provide its guests with what they really want.
Simply by listening to customers, it has introduced new initiatives that are from the result of customer feedback and can surely only ensure positive experiences.