Lanesborough’s Head Concierge Simon Thomas on the taste that’s London
The Lanesborough makes the life of a concierge easy. Because the hotel has so much that’s amazing in-house, we’re able to offer guests amazing options without even leaving the building. A favourite of mine is the Garden Room, it’s renowned as one of London’s best cigar bars. What makes it very special is that although it’s outdoors, it has a fireplace, underfloor heating and an overhead canopy, as well as superbly luxurious furnishings.
It looks and feels like it’s indoors but it is outdoors. You’re very comfortable while enjoying a cigar and it doesn’t feel like you’ve been annexed to a smoking area. The Michelin-starred restaurant, Céleste, is a wonderful draw for guests. London is truly a treasure trove of delights and a centre for gastronomy. London food culture is coming more into focus recently with room for international cuisines to flourish in the city and be truly appreciated.
It’s not a simple matter of my team of six Clefs d’Or Concierge knowing which restaurants and shows in town are hot and popular. It’s our job to have a personal opinion and personal experience. That means that when our day is done at the Lanesborough, we’re still not done. We need to go ourselves to be educated and see he new shows in the theatre, try all of the restaurants in town, and have a personal opinion. This allows us to give genuine and personal guidance to our guests. It is a full-time job keeping up with everything going on in London, so you do truly have to love theatre, dining, and seeing the city in order to do this job. In order to do a great job, we also need influence to get the best tickets and restaurant reservations in town.
We try to pre-empt guests requests, making suggestions and being proactive. For instance, knowing that a regular guest’s stay is coming up, we would make standby reservations at favourite places or get tickets for a show we know they’d like. It’s all about personalised treatment and relating to them personally as well. That’s why the Lanesborough is known as London’s finest residence rather than as a hotel.
In terms of things to see in London, there’s really a vast selection. I love the West End, but sometimes you want to get away from that level of high polish. London has so many districts – I love the East End for young and upcoming artists and galleries, the area is a bit edgy but with my advice, guests will stay safe and see some truly interesting places. Canary Wharf area is new and has some interesting shopping and restaurants. An amazing thing about London is that there is massive history everywhere you go. It’s amazing to be downtown and see the city on the weekend when business people are gone. You can turn a corner and be in a courtyard that takes you back to the 17th century. There’s really nothing like it.
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