PR Log - Jan 30, 2012 - London Hotels Insight recently announced the launch of its free venue-finding service for companies to help them make sense of the wealth of options available in the UK capital's best hotels.
Our expert hotel bloggers are therefore inspecting various London meeting venues to identify the ones that best meet our demanding checklist of criteria. As a prerequisite, all the venues we inspect must offer free WiFi - since we are also campaigning against luxury hotels in London that clobber their guests with unexpected extra internet charges (without making this clear before they book).
The latest free WiFi hotel visited by the London Hotels Insight team was the Rubens at the Palace, a luxury boutique hotel near Victoria station.
We met the hotel's meeting and events team a few days ago and questioned them on the pros and cons of their facilities before taking a tour to assess them at first hand against our extensive checklist.
Here are the findings:
- Located directly across Buckingham Palace's Royal Mews, the Rubens at the Palace is not only easy to access (less than 5 minutes walk from Victoria station) but also makes a play on its royal connections by incorporating a certain regal elegance to its decor, bedrooms and public spaces. This provides meeting delegates with an inspiring atmosphere far-removed from the typical sterile surroundings of a big chain hotel.
- The decor in the hotel's meeting rooms focuses on tiny details, reflecting the service philosophy of tiny noticeable touches which its parent company Red Carnation Hotels is famous for. For example, meeting amenities are often customised around the specific preferences of delegates - a Danish company was recently delighted by the fact that they were provided with their favourite liquorice sweets; and another organisation was impressed to find that their delightful cupcakes presented during a coffee break had been branded with their company logo.
- The hotel’s staff like to go above and beyond expectations and this is reflected in the amount of repeat business that the hotel’s meeting rooms receive from corporations in a plethora of industries including transportation, banking, travel and others. Companies appreciate the fact that they'll be assigned a dedicated account manager at The Rubens who is accountable for all aspects of their meetings experience - they are never palmed off into other departments. This single point of contact from beginning to end is vital in giving companies peace of mind that their meeting will be properly handled in all aspects.
- The Rubens at the Palace puts a lot of emphasis on designing personalised services for each company and tailoring their product to the organisation’s needs. No detail is overlooked. For example, facilities can be combined, partitioned into break-out areas and re-deployed for a variety of events. Participants at an intimate dinner at this boutique London hotel will therefore never find themselves in a large banqueting room with lots of awkward empty space. There is even a raised area for business lunches on one side of the Old Masters restaurant. Similarly, the Leopard Champagne Lounge is popular for champagne fish and chips and intimate business networking events.
- Furthermore, there is always an extra WOW factor that many other hotels and conferencing venues wouldn’t be likely to provide (or would charge extra for) - whether that be a complimentary third course for a business lunch or the staff dressing up in costumes to support a themed event. Because of the exceptionally guest-focused organisation culture at Red Carnation Hotels (all its hotels are in the upper echelons of the TripAdvisor rankings), they do their best to go the extra mile for their meeting delegates as well as regular guests.
- The hotel offers 6 different versatile function rooms that can be used for meetings, conferences, weddings, private dinners and receptions with the restaurants and bars also available for exclusive private event bookings. The largest conference facility, the Van Dyke Suite, is able to sit up to 90 people and accommodate up to 130 people in a standing reception. Several of the meeting rooms of this luxury hotel near Victoria have natural daylight and are self-contained with separate toilet facilities.
- The modular nature of meeting facilities at The Rubens is a big selling point. Companies sometimes book the larger rooms and let the conversation spill over after the meeting by reserving several smaller rooms to fit all the delegates. When we visited, we liked the fact that the various public areas like the Leopard Champagne Lounge and sections of the Old Masters or Library restaurants could also be cordoned off into fun and inspiring business meeting and banqueting areas. We know from our own dealings with conference organisers that companies like flexibility and in the meetings and events world, one size definitely doesn't fit all.
- The General Manager of The Rubens at the Palace also likes to invite corporate clients to special events like the hotel's recent Burns Night party. There is an ethos at The Rubens of seeing meetings and events clients as long-term partners - certainly the way they tend to include unexpected value-added freebies for corporate meetings is consistent with a hotel taking a long-term view rather than one trying to maximise short-term profit. This is in itself quite rare in our experience. The hotel's flexible conference and events staff certainly go out of their way to cater to every request and the London Hotels Insight team was given various real-life examples to back this up.
The complimentary WiFi seems to be seen as a basic part of the conference offering (which many other luxury hotels in London would bill as an extra) and there are many other reasons why companies would want to organise events at The Rubens. We think it would be particularly suitable for a high-profile flagship event where a company has little room for error - the staff's attention to detail and dedicated personal account management would certainly minimise the risk of this occurring.
We're thinking for example of an annual general meeting presentation or perhaps a critical board meeting - or even a corporate party to reward long-serving staff or an anniversary dinner to celebrate an important business or personal milestone. We're confident that events such as these and many others would be immaculately handled by The Rubens.
London Hotels Insight therefore has no hesitation in recommending The Rubens as an exceptional conference venue thanks to its unique location, fabulous atmosphere and commitment to exceed expectations; as well as the versatility of its facilities and the friendly and courteous staff.
For organisations that are interested in holding a meeting or a conference at the Rubens at the Palace, we suggest that you contact the hotel directly by calling 020 7834 6600 or by e-mailing email@example.com. Alternatively, please feel free to get in touch with London Hotels Insight if you require further guidance and advice in choosing your ideal London meeting venue - remember that we are London hotel experts and have an intimate knowledge of most of London's best hotels. - - -
London Hotels Insight has established itself as the most trusted source of up-to-date and unique information on London hotels. The blog’s writers often get exclusive direct access to staff working at London hotels to gain additional insight “behind the scenes” of leading London hotels. It is often also the first to report on special offers, changes in TripAdvisor rankings and new amenities and services at London's leading hotels.