Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another

The Regency Hotel

The Regency Hotel

I have always thought certain songs can best sum up a hotel, I will always remember the Cumberland adopted the song “Perfect day” as its theme, well until someone pointed out the line “And we keep you hanging on”, although that was possible the most honest line in the song. And for the Regency hotel, South Kensington, I believe the most appropriate song just has to be the Time Warp, it really is the most relevant song that sums up the hotel. So why do I say that, well for two main reasons, one the routine way of the Time Warp dance is a real reminder of the routine way the staff work in the hotel, don’t ask for anything different, it has to be done in a way that matches the set routine, it is that way or no way, the second reason is that the style of the hotel is from a time of long ago, set in the Time warp of 20 years ago.

In marketing terms the style of the hotel would be described as “Traditional”, but for some that is a word best replaced with old fashioned. The decor, the style, the furnishings, are all very old fashioned and in most cases simply old. The hotel is possible one of the best maintained properties in the London hotel market. The philosophy is look at it as much as possible rather than replace it, and in another 20 years when all the furniture is officially antique it may just prove to be a genius idea.

What I found from my brief time in the hotel, is that the thought that it is the people who work there are the ones who really make a hotel has never been so perfectly proven. This place shows how even a few really good staff can lift a hotel above the average, and equally how a only a few bad ones can drag it down. However the best example of the unusual service attitude is the hotels policy on name badges. The Regency is the only hotel I have ever worked in that does not issue name badges to the staff, and the reason being, “we don’t want to get personal with the guests”!!!

Another example of the Time Warp mentality is the provision of Wifi, the Regency is a rare hotel nowadays in London in that it still charges for Wifi internet connection. They see it as a revenue stream for the business rather than a service their guests need or something that would help them sell their rooms. The other example of the same policy is their Gym, the hotel charges their own guests for using the gym rather than allowing them free access, but the advantage of that is that the gym is always empty so easier to use.

The real plus point to the Regency is the quality of the housekeeping, this is a very clean hotel, and a lot of effort is put into the smooth running of this aspect of the hotel. The other positive is the restaurant food, although the restaurant is a bit cold and uninteresting, the food that is served is actually quite good. But the Regency is a hotel that has given up on trying to compete with the outside restaurants and it does really show. The one area of food that is not great is the breakfast, the choice and selection is dull and unthoughtful which is a real shame. And remember don’t ask for anything out of the ordinary because this hotel has its routine, “The Regency way”, and so even asking for toast can be a challenge and inconsistent.

This hotel, known affectionally as “the one opposite the Jury’s” has lived in the shadow, it floats along almost oblivious to the rest of the market, ignoring the industry trends, or hotel innovation, has a wonderful place in the London hotel selection. You know if you stay you will get a clean room, robotic check-in and out, and a host of additional charges if you use the facilities, and a real commitment that their set routines, which are more important than you are, will mean that it is efficient if not personable. But remember although I suggest the Time Warp song as the anthem for the Regency, please don’t think that at any point will you be entertained or even given a laugh, I am quite sure that smiling and certainly laughter is banned, but it will be clean and efficient. This is a hotel that I only worked at for a very short time, I was deemed "not suitable", and in hindsight, thank goodness, I am not sure I would ever really want to be suitable to somewhere with no allowance for personality or individualism. 


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© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.