How I Got Here: Elli Jafari

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here with The Standard hotel's London general manager Elli Jafari

Related tags: Hotel, London

The Standard hotel's London general manager on her love of hospitality, the value of hard work, and fears over what the future holds for the industry.

Why hospitality?
Since I can remember, I was always fascinated by the travel and experience industry. Some of my favourite childhood memories took place in hotels and restaurants, so these places hold a special place in my heart. This affinity to create meaningful experiences and memories for others definitely set me on this path. 

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
To not to worry so much and to trust that hard work pays off.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
In London my favourite restaurants are Kiln, Brat, and Jean-Georges at The Connaught.

What motivates you?
My amazing team and to deliver excellent guest experiences that people will remember.

What keeps you up at night?
Like the rest of the world, I am troubled by the uncertainty we all are going through at the moment and not knowing what the future holds for our industry. I take comfort though in the passion of the people in our industry, the inventive pivots that we see and the undeniable resilience our sector has shown time and time again in the face of crisis.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
I worked with Sirio Maccioni for three years, he was the most brilliant mentor I could have ever asked for and has shown me how to be a mentor myself to my team, whom I always treat as family.

What time do you wake up?
6:45am.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee.

How often do you check your email?
Every hour or so, depends on the day.

How do you let off steam?
By biking. A bike ride in the park is just the best, and I love going to a good soul cycle class too.

Do you prefer a night on the tiles or a night on the sofa?
Both! If I’ve had a successful ’smooth sailing’ week I love to go out to celebrate. If, on the other hand, it’s been a testing long week, a night on the sofa could be exactly what one needs.

What’s your signature dish to cook at home?
That would be a spaghetti cacio e pepe.

Typical Sunday?
Yoga in the morning. Afternoon meditation followed by a nap. Early dinner at either Cow in Notting Hill or at Kiln in Soho followed by an early night cap at the Connaught.

What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Paragliding in the morning on my 40th birthday morning - I almost s** my pants, but it was amazing.

Favourite holiday destination?
Ponza in Italy is absolutely fantastic.

What are you currently reading?
Green Light by Matthew McConaughey.

What boxset are you currently watching?
Once Upon a Time in Iraq on BBC, it has taken me a while to get through the series as each episode is so emotionally intense and takes time to process.

What was your dream job growing up?
To be a flight attendant, actually.

Worst business decision?
In the past, having worked for a business owner that I did not think were sharing my ethos. It was a great lesson and a pre-requisite for me from then on to work with people that share a collective vision.

Best business decision?
Moving to London.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
My advice is this: there are no shortcuts to success. There are no quick hacks to climb to the top without the learnings you collect as you climb. You need to fully embrace, take stock and learn from each work experience before rushing on to the next best thing.

Bio

Born in Tehran, Iran, Jafari studied hotel management at Golden State University in San Francisco, US, when she was 18. She began her career working as executive food and beverage director for W Hotel on Miami's South Beach, before going on to becoming corporate food and beverage manager for the Morgans Hotel Group. Having briefly worked as director of hotel asset manager for Global Holdings, Jafari eventually joined The Standard, London, in 2018 as hotel manager. She was promoted to general manager in March last year. 

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