Why service at The Beaumont is becoming the best in town
By Giles Gordon-Smith, Founder, Penshee
I don’t hide my belief that greatest competitive advantage in a hotel is its people. Great people make great hotels. Go to any five star hotel in London – how can you not be impressed by what is on offer? Cumulatively, the various constructions, titivations and re-developments in London’s five star market over the last few years bound into the nine figure bracket. The physical impact of this sort of capital investment is inevitably significant, whatever your taste. However accustomed to the finer things in life that you might be, I’d challenge you to eliminate the word ‘wow’ from your vocabulary on a show around of The Ned (for example). The bench is extraordinarily high, and is increasingly tight for space, so what really makes you stand out?
I’ve had the privilege of spending last night at The Beaumont, which certainly ticks the ‘wow’ box. I am deeply satisfied in this respect, but that’s not the point, and it’s certainly Gilesnot this alone that makes a hotel worthy of the prestigious Independent Hotel of the Year 2017 award, and other accolades. True service excellence is about delivering the seemingly ordinary with care, consistency and empathy – a foundation upon which the extraordinary can flourish. I find it reassuring to see a long-held belief so clearly delivered at The Beaumont and it’s got me wondering, what’s going on behind the scenes at Corbin and King’s Mayfair hotel that brings this to fruition?
Service excellence cannot exist without the right culture, and that culture cannot exist without buy in from the top. I can’t emphasise this enough. In my considerable first-hand experience of luxury service delivery around the world, the hotels where the GM is hungry to know about the feel of their hotel, are invariably those that feel terrific.
I was first introduced to Jannes Soerensen last year by a former colleague, who suggested that there was something unique about his approach to hospitality. I was due to meet Jannes for the first time in the hotel and as I approached the entrance, was greeted by name with such warmth and kindness by the doorman, Julien. To be clear, I wasn’t there to stay, I’d not previously visited the hotel and considered myself an insignificant contributor to the hotel’s footfall that day. Yet somehow in those few moments, I felt as though the hotel existed just for me. The Beaumont made its positive impact before I’d even crossed the threshold into its beautiful lobby.
Inside, Jannes awaits and approaches confidently, seemingly aware of who I am (Googled perhaps?). The first thing to ponder is his age. At 36 years old, Jannes is the youngest GM of a London 5* deluxe hotel by several birthdays, and it’s testament to Messers Corbin and King that they took what could be perceived as a gamble in recruiting him in January 2016.
We spend a fascinating hour sharing ideas and experiences and I left wanting to know more about Jannes and to experience the hotel properly. Several visits and a glorious stay later, I feel better placed to share, with his kind permission, some insights.
Jannes is resolute in his quest to create exceptional memories and experiences for his (he would of course say ‘our’) guests. Frederick the Great (bear with me) once uttered the powerful words; “I am first servant of the State”, a marked contrast to Louis XIV’s “I am the State”, and it strikes me that as a fellow Berliner, Jannes’s leadership style would certainly emulate the former.
In this spirit, what I am about to reveal is not the result of Jannes or the Beaumont’s doctrine but rather, my interpretation of the foundations of their benevolent culture…