Taj London Gears Up For 2019
With its newly renovated 100 rooms categorized as premium rooms, Digvijay Singh, Area Director, UK & GM, Taj 51, Buckinghamgate Suites & Residences & St James’ Court, London on his recent trip to India, discussed a few challenges & advantages of running a luxury property in the UK.
SINCE OPENING its doors in 1902, St. James’ Court, A Taj Hotel in Westminster, London has symbolised union between Taj’s Indian heritage and timeless British pedigree. The hotel has launched its newly renovated rooms at the Almoners Townhouse, as part of a multi-million pound renovation. “We’ve renovated about 100 rooms and categorized these as premium rooms. And it is this exercise we have strongly positioned in the market,” said the UK Area Director and GM, Digvijay Singh, on his recent trip to India.
Hosting over a 100,000 travellers every year, the renovation marks an exciting new era for the hotel to serve the ever evolving needs of the modern traveller.
The iconic hotel in London, footsteps from Buckingham Palace and St. James’ Park, close to the West End and Mayfair is perfectly positioned to explore the city, for business or pleasure. It is a discreet Victorian masterpiece, with architectural features indicating its illustrious past; maintaining an equilibrium between the historic design features and a fresh contemporary finish in recent renovations.
The new rooms are designed by the award-winning architects and interior designers, Dexter Moren Associates, alongside interior design consultant Sue Freeman. The renovation will also see the opening of new Jiva spa in November with menu offering from the Temple Spa.
St. James’ Court houses four restaurants - Bistro, Kona, Bank and the Michelin-starred Quilon along with two bars - Hamptons Bar and Zander Bar. Adjoining St. James’ Court is the historic Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites & Residences which is the perfect address in London for longer stays.
With the Taj legacy to its advantage, the property has hosted the Prime Minister of India, Indian cricket team, Bollywood & Hollywood celebrities and many other State Heads. “Being the preferred choice for most Indians who travel to London including corporate companies, we serve the best Indian food with the best butler services and especially the Tajness that brings back our loyalists to the brand,” said Singh.
Talking about the unique places in the area, he explained us about the courtyard which is one of the unique places in the hotel, “And that kind of a space is not available in any hotel in London,” said Singh.
A hidden Victorian gem in the heart of the capital, St. James’ Courtyard is the perfect magical setting for themed events in Wonderland, with majestic turrets and a cherub-adorned fountain surrounded by a turn-of-the-century red brick frieze, depicting sylvan scenes from Shakespeare’s plays.
Taj 51, Buckinghamgate Suites & Residences still remains the jewel as it is positioned much higher with the longest signature suite, the cinema suite, designed by Sabyasachi Mukherjee and the evolution Jaguar’s rich heritage in-suite. Overseen by Jaguar Design Director, Ian Callum; the suite is edgy yet luxurious.
Discussing a few challenges and advantages of running a luxury property in the UK, Singh points out that staycations in the hotel have increased. With the increase in Chinese business to the UK, we have seen the rise in potential number of travellers in the US market. Brexit has propelled more leisure business into the city. Four-star and the BNB has all across given a kind of a scare to the industry.
But London is a completely different market for Singh and there is no comparison with other countries. Even the reservation cycle is quite different from India. So Singh has learnt to be patient “as you are the one coming into this system not the system coming to you,” he smiles.
With the World Cup 2019 and Wimbledon upcoming in London, Singh seemed excited to host a large inventory of dignitaries as the host country and is quite geared up with his team for the busy months of May, June & July. “We will be introducing special menus during the events and have to be extra careful about our inventory as ICC, BCCI and ECB (English Cricket Board) will be around. The bookings have already started. Plus Brexit will allow businesses and others to prepare for the moment when the new post-Brexit rules between the UK and the EU begin,” he said.
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