08 Jun We speak to Exclusive Hotels about their exciting re-opening plans!
If you have ever been to an Exclusive Hotel, you know how magical they are. Like so many of you, the Exclusive Hotels are some of our absolute favourites and we are super excited to hear that they are now planning to re-open their doors in the next few weeks.
We caught up with the fabulous Dominique Edmonds to talk about her role within Exclusive, their re-opening plans, all things Meetings & Events and what she has been up to during lockdown.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your role at Exclusive Hotels, and how long you have worked for the group.
I’m Dominique and I manage all of the Exclusive Collections’ corporate accounts for West London . I’ve been working for the group for 5 1/2 years now and enjoyed every moment of it!
2. What do you love most about your role?
Foremost, I love what I sell – all 11 propositions! That really drives my passion.
In terms of the day to day role, I enjoy the variation. One day I can be in the Cotswolds with a client showcasing the Manor House, the following day I might be in London on appointments or exhibiting at an industry event. There is the administrative side too and figures to meet but what I’m getting at is that no one day is ever the same. Its great managing my own diary, I work with a super- supportive team and my clients are a joy to work with too!
3. How many venues are currently in your collection?
We have 6 hotels, a championship level golf club, a pub, a cookery school and 2 world class spas. We also have our very own falconry and a Karaoke Klub at two of the hotels which are pretty excellent too. Still family run, Exclusive have grown from one 17 bed hotel to 11 totally unique propositions in 39 years which speaks volumes. It’s a fast growing business and my MD’s a bit of a visionary which keeps things colourful!
4. Do you have a favourite venue and why?
Simply put, no. There’s a season/ reason for each one. In terms of chocolate box beauty and charm, the Manor House. the Karaoke Klub at Fanhams because epic proportions of fun and guttural laughter. The food at The Spa at South Lodge, is divine… I love the general manager (and conference facilities) at The Royal Berkshire. Debbie makes it feel like a true home from home. Give me an occasion and I can answer that properly. I have a huge affection for all of them though – truly
5. Tell us about the types of events that you host at Exclusive?
What don’t we host! Meetings, incentives conference and events is my remit, (though I have been partial to selling a wedding in my time!) but everything from team building/board meetings/ all manner of parties (themed/ Christmas/ summer) award ceremonies, L&D programmes, car launches, exclusive takeovers, corporate spa days, golf days, fine dining…- produce a spec and we will source best Exclusive property and devise a bespoke proposal for you – all in the space of 24hrs!
6. Is there a stand out event that you have organised and are really proud of?
Yes many. We held a Charlie and The Chocolate Factory party at South Lodge and I was in the planning team (I have a new found respect for event planners as a result). We turned South Lodge into Wonka’s factory and had a chocolate river, edible menus, lickable wallpaper – no detail spared. I’ll never forget how the patisserie took the theme to the next level.
7. How have you been spending your time in lockdown?
I have been volunteering in food outreach for a local homeless charity called the Camberley All Night Cafe. I have spent every other minute outdoors in the balmy sunshine, gardening running cycling or reading. I have also had hours of fun dressed as a mermaid for my young nieces (who are in Paris/ Australia/ Herts and Devon) and read them books on Zoom. It’s been a thoroughly diverse and nourishing experience 😉
8. Your hotels are currently closed like the rest of the country and events are on hold, how have you stayed connected to your community, guests and bookers?
I have to say the Exclusive Sales and Marketing contingent have been amazing at evolving in the climate and shifting everything so that it’s online and accessible. We have so much talent within the collection, mixologists/ chefs/ beauty therapists/ PT’s to name a few. They have been injecting our social media channels with all sorts of masterclasses / challenges etc. The team have really had to address what MICE will look and feel like moving forward so have come up with a plethora of inspired ideas and some great LinkedIn/ magazine articles have come out of this as a result. Watch this space.
9. Do you have a date you are planning to re-open the hotels at this stage?
The Manor House Golf course is currently open to members and soon to the public. We look to open the Manor House hotel, Pennyhill and South Lodge in July followed by Lainston, Fanhams Hall and The Royal Berkshire a little Later in the summer. They have all had a good makeover over the course of lockdown and the grounds have really come alive too!! 🌼🥬🌞🍎
10. What plans and safety measures are you putting in place when your doors re-open and you welcome guests and event bookings back to your venues?
Please click on the link below for a full list of the Exclusive Hotels safetey measures.
11. Are you currently still receiving enquires for late 2020?
I don’t believe they ever fully stopped!!
12. Are your venues fully equipped to host fully virtual and Hybrid events?
With over 20 years of experience with Exclusive Collection, our Hybrid meeting specialists will be working with us to ensure every solution to ‘keep meeting’ is possible. With the ability to support across multiple platforms (teams, zoom etc) to over 500 locations, worldwide or fully facilitated through Webex, Platinum Productions are on hand across all six hotels to provide a bespoke quotation for your needs. Should you need to stream your meeting across multiple event spaces to keep people meeting, this is also an easy solution for Platinum, Productions to discuss with you.
13. Do you think event bookers will always prefer live events to virtual events or do you think virtual and Hybrid events will become the new norm?
There is certainly a place for virtual meetings and events but there will always be a market for live events. In my opinion there is no comparison to a tangible experience, especially when you have a truly unique and charming offering. The day people prefer virtual over live is the day we lose our souls! Besides, who wouldn’t want to eat delicious, nutritious food, soak in an spa with breathtaking views, sit in a meeting environment surrounded by history and nature and be waited on!
I jogged to Pennyhill the other day because I live locally and I missed its presence. It was a scorching hot day and the place looked glorious. Silent. There was something quite eerie though – particularly as the usually bubbling and lively spa is sat waterless and motionless at the moment!
Economically & socially it’s been a drain (to put it lightly) and it was so sad to see so many events reschedule/ pull. Lest we forget those grieving from death due to the pandemic and the outstanding dedication from our key workers. However, there have undoubtedly been many positives. It’s made us stop and slow down and appreciate the world around us- the natural world is just remarkable. It’s certainly challenged us and forced us to reset. So many have used this time to get creative and innovative and the strong sense of camaraderie has been incredibly reassuring.
I am looking forward to seeing the hotels come back to life though – make no bones ; )
Thank you so much to the wonderful Dominique for her passion and positivity which really showed in her responses above. Inspiring!
For full re-opening details of all hotels in the Exclusive collection, please click on the below link.
For more information on booking any Exclusive Hotel for your next event, get in touch with Miss London Concierge on firstname.lastname@example.org
Receive a complimentary overnight hotel stay at any Exclusive Hotel with Miss London Concierge Rewards. Click below for details.