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The Cumberland Hotel London

Does size really matter? This is a question that has stressed people for a very long time, and in the realm of hotels it also applies. The Cumberland is a beast of a hotel and with more than 1000 bedrooms it certainly is a great example of bigger being better. At this hotel size really does matter. Everything is bigger, and especially the ego’s of those who have ever worked there. It was always the belief that one year at the Cumberland was like 3 years working anywhere else. Yes of course there are one or two even bigger properties, but none quite like the Cumberland.

A number of years ago, the hotel went through a refurbishment, and the basement and ground floor changed beyond recognition. It is now a real matter of taste if you like it or not, and for me I simply do not. However I am sure the man who paid the bill on it loves it to bits and that’s his right. But for me it lost so much. During my time at the hotel 1.3 million people a year came through the hotel, and that was just one of the elements that added to the buzz and energy of the hotel.  The hotel is somewhere you either love or hate, it is busy, it is sometimes like a major train station, but also it creates its own energy, it is also somewhere you can stay at and just disappear.

During my time at the hotel there were so many amazing moments, and during my time at the hotel I had so many different roles, 16 in total, however I always felt distanced from people, sometimes misunderstood, a lot of the time disliked, and regularly used, but that was me and in some ways that was my role. Looking back on it now, many years later, I know why I was seen in the way I was, and more importantly I know just what I gained from my time and experience at the hotel, but equally I know just how crap I was treated by certain people and that was hard. But as my old mum said at the time, “Paul it is character building, so just get on”, she was quite the straight talker. But for me it is quite a paradox that the hotel that treated me hardest, was also my greatest love.

Loving my time there was easy, so many individual superb memories, so many mad moments, so much laughter, loyalty, team spirit, friendship, naughtiness, adventure, learning, creation, and even the bad or sad times were like no others. Hotels may be a business, but they are a business based on emotions and the Cumberland was based on every emotion you can think of.

One of the pictures on this page shows me dressed as Ginger Spice, it was just one of the many times I had to dress up for this hotel, although my maddest moment happened when I had to undress!, for an event called the Catering Princess and we did the Full Monty in a packed club in North London. But in some ways the unusual was usual, and that was made the hotel just so special.

While I had spent a lot of time feeling isolated in my work at the hotel, it was also a place where friendship and being part of a team were vital, for the sake of survival as much as anything else. And deep in my heart I will never forget certain people at the hotel. Equally there are those I would happily forget, if only I could, but there are far more good ones than bad. On my Facebook page I have started to find a lot of ex-staff and it is indicative that this hotel has so much on that site, it really shows the community of the place.

There are just so many memories from the hotel, perhaps I will need to do a second page for my site on this time in my life, and equally I will post the individual story of things like the Full Monty or a team visit to Amsterdam, but for now, and to simply sum up the Cumberland hotel, I loved it, loved the people (even the bad ones), loved the guests, loved the building, loved the adventure, loved the things I did, Loved the things I learned, loved the energy. It is a special place and will live on in my heart forever.  

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