Henrik Muehle is the managing director of the St James’s Hotel and Club in London, and the sole UK representative of the Althoff Collection in the UK. He spent seven years as general manager of the Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge.
I find myself busier now than at the Capital Group, as when I started St. James’s had been closed for a major two year renovation. I now have to work hard to establish it as one of the leading small hotels in London.
I often see hotels where the management is not visible and I think that is a mistake.
I worked for many years in France and I wish I had also worked in Italy and Spain as I adore those languages.
I was amazed at how quickly I felt at home here.
I chose William Drabble as head chef of Seven Park Place because of his reputation as a great British Chef who uses British ingredients. This fits in perfectly with the style of the hotel and the guests.
I am always very much focused on attention to detail and am a very hands-on person. I think in the current climate it is very important in these type of properties to act as a real host
Managing directors must have a sense of humour.
The Preferred Hotel brand is confusing as there are four different brands under one umbrella. The brand, Small Luxury Hotels, describes exactly what it is and describes our hotel perfectly.
I don’t think anything is wrong with the London hotel industry in the four and five star sector. I believe we should all be very proud of what we have done.
Room rates are already heading back up and we are seeing a very strong last quarter in 2009. I believe the next two years, running up to the Olympic Games, will see a positive impact on occupancy and rates alike.
I am a huge believer that during challenging times you can actually refocus. It gives you the opportunity to go back to basics, to re-examine procedures, see if you can do things better and look for new markets and outlets.
We are currently looking for a second property in London under the banner of the Althoff Collection and hope to find one very soon.