Monday, May 20, 2024

The dull London hotel that’s been voted the ‘best in Britain’

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Can this really be the best hotel in the whole of the United Kingdom? Does charm, character, history, a beautiful location count for nothing? As for value, while the hotel’s standards, including cleanliness, are high, and hotels in London are more expensive than ever, there are other similar properties in the area that come at a lower price and even Tripadvisor fans mark it slightly down on value for money. 

I think two elements though (none of the aforementioned, obviously) have raised the Resident to this pinnacle. The first may lie in the hotel’s engagement with Tripadvisor. If you look at its website, you’ll see that the homepage immediately trumpets its high ranking; if you look at its listing on Tripadvisor, you’ll see that every review posted receives an appreciative reply from the hotel. Some hotels care about Tripadvisor and its algorithms more than others; those that do, like the Resident, tend to attract more reviews and score more highly.

The second secret of success stands in a smiling row in the lobby: the front-of-house team, who inject warmth, personality and a genuine desire to help to an unusually high degree. David Orr, the chief executive of Resident Hotels, has plenty of experience injecting the human touch into no-frills, affordable hotels, starting in 1999 with City Inns which became Mint Hotels, and in 2020 launching Resident (formerly Nadler) in Covent Garden, Soho, Victoria, Kensington, Liverpool and in the summer, Edinburgh.  

Patricia Segurola, the ebullient general manager, heads a team that is not only immediately, reassuringly, genuinely friendly but also a mine of information about London – culture, nightlife, restaurants, bars, shopping and so on – even taking an in-house “inside knowledge” exam during their training. Most guests are tourists, many from the US, but the team of 13 does its best to help them feel, as the hotel’s name suggests, like residents during their stay and to make up for the hotel having no restaurant of its own.

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