The glh-owned Four-Star brand launched its first Charing Cross site in 2014, which has since risen to be ranked the fourth best hotel in London on TripAdvisor.
Ahead of the launch of the second Amba UK hotel – a 692-room site in Marble Arch in November – Atkins told BigHospitality that the brand’s early success was largely down to its response to customer feedback.
“Rather than sit around a boardroom table and decide things, we asked guests what was important,” she said.
“We did research in seven countries around the world and asked ‘what’s important to you?’ and ‘how much would you pay for that?
“I’m not sure some people in the hotel industry are so objective. You can look at things from an operator’s perspective, but that doesn’t always resonate with what a guest wants."
Atkins said a number of small changes - such as providing larger bottles of toiletries and installing an iPad in every room so guests can order room service for free - were key to boosting Amba's TripAdvisor ranking.
“In terms of food and beverage people want to be able to have what they want, where they want, when they want it,” she said.
“You don’t have to move someone to the bar if they want a beer, why can’t they have it where they want like they would at home?"
Atkins told BigHospitality that while future Amba Hotel openings in Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace Road were ‘firmly on the agenda’, the group was aiming to consolidate the success of its existing sites before expanding further.
"It was always the plan to convert some of our own hotels then go out to other investors and owners and show them what we’ve achieved," she said.
“Amba Hotels is a brand that resonates in large cities that have that meetings and events and conference and banqueting opportunities.
“The likelihood is that we will expand to key cities, whether these are Manchester or Glasgow or New York and Paris is [what we are deciding] at the moment."