When the idea of using St Ermin’s Hotel as an official press lounge for the Royal Wedding was initially discussed, my many years experience told me I was mad to say yes. The hotel would have only just opened, and I was inviting the world’s press to take up residence for a day.
However I had and still do, great faith in our product and team – so agreed on the spot. One of St. Ermin’s’ main points of difference is its attitude towards service – difficult to sum up in words, so I thought the best way of demonstrating our warm, welcoming, attentive but not pestering service, was to put it into practice and allow these influential journalists to experience it for themselves, which on 29th April, was what did to all 109 of them.
Following three month’s preparation, boundless headaches – mainly technical – wiring up 6 TV’s for simultaneous overseas news coverage and the installation of a 100 meg broadband, not to mention the installation of a CAT5 lines to enable a live broadcast for LBC, we were finally ready to welcome the world!
It was a truly memorable day – one that I will never forget, from the moment we welcomed our first journalist at 6.30am until we closed the doors at 8.30am, the hotel was a hive of activity, with the St. Ermin’s team going above and beyond the call of duty. St. Ermin’s didn’t just offer up Will and Kate cupcakes and Mojitos, we also dispensed advice to some journalists on ‘who’s who’ in the Royal Family.
I was incredibly proud walking through the bar watching the team help the journalists throughout the day. Our Italian and German speaking employees were in particular demand helping journalists from those countries post their stories, and the Hello team were particularly grateful being given the run of the Caxton Bar – hopefully not the last time the bar will play host to the society pages.
Our head Chef and his team also rose to the challenge, producing a constant supply of delicious canapés throughout the day – finishing off the event with an abundance of Whitstable oysters (local and seasonal are the bywords in our kitchen) served in a giant oyster carved out of ice.
We have had wonderful feedback from all the journalists, thanking all at St. Ermin’s for their personal hands-on approach that made a possibly stressful day pass by without too many hitches and headaches. We look forward to welcoming them back – but hopefully only one at a time.