The competitiveness of the hotel market in Scotland’s capital city is well documented. Radisson Collection Hotel Royal Mile Edinburgh, named ‘Scotland’s leading boutique hotel 2019’ at the World Travel Awards, is one of a growing number of destinations that welcome guests from these shores and overseas.
In a constantly evolving and challenging sector, hotel operators (and others in the spectrum of Scottish hospitality and tourism) always strive to be attuned to trends that can influence where their potential guests choose to sleep, eat and drink. From ‘wellness’ retreats, embracing sustainable practices and cooking up delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes to offering carefully crafted gin and hyper-local cultural tours, there’s evidence aplenty in our sector of innovation to attract visitor spend.
Within this heady mix of visitor experiences, I’d argue ‘style’ has its own special place. As the US fashion designer Rachel Zoe once opined: ‘style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.’
Cool and beautiful are often descriptors ascribed to the personality of a hotel. At Radisson Collection Edinburgh, I believe it’s the fusion of individuality and style that is a fundamental element of its market offering and in my own opinion, also serves to convey a key point of difference with competitors.
As a case in point, on the day I write Radisson Collection Edinburgh has hosted a workshop by Hatti Pattison. The beautiful works of the Edinburgh-based artist and textile designer adorn the Garden Paradise suite and Castle suite, two of nine individually designed suites within the 136-bedroom hotel on George IV Bridge.
In my opinion, in today’s fast-paced, ever evolving hospitality industry where superficial fashions all too frequently come and go, it’s the ability of such individual art and design to engage guests and perhaps instil a feeling of affinity with where they choose to eat or sleep, that is an important factor for achieving long-term success.
By connection I mean more than a quick appreciative gaze of the intricate and emotive individually designed sketches and murals on bedroom walls. In the case of Radisson Collection Edinburgh, these stunning contemporary designs and artworks hopefully also convey a sense of place and belonging to the well travelled, discerning guest. Through this ‘living’ art, inspired in part by the city skyline beyond the window, guests are reminded that the very foundations of their chosen hotel are set in the historic Old Town of the culturally rich city they have come to experience and explore.
However, to truly engage guests, the individual style adopted by the hotel must run deeper than the artwork and design on walls and soft furnishings. To work, it needs to permeate the ambience in the foyer and inform every aspect of the hotel operation. In addition to interior design, the food menu, drinks and even protocols around the guest welcome and check-in process can convey much about the hotel’s particular style.
Consequently, in Radisson Collection Edinburgh considerable time is invested in training staff to project the values and style of service expected by guests. It means that in the Epicurean Bar, the colour, presentation and service of the cocktail is just as important as its refreshing taste.
Equally, the front-of-house team must not only be well versed in the best cultural ‘hot spots’ for guests to seek history and entertainment but also to feel empowered to make on-the-spot decisions that they are confident will positively heighten the guests’ experience in or as an extension of their stay at the hotel.
At every turn, the aim is to ensure the design-led hotel offers guests every opportunity to embrace individuality and to make connections between the hotel and the rich seam of local heritage and culture beyond the front door. In a highly competitive sector, overseas and domestic visitors have no lack of suitors keen to gain their affections. In today’s tourism sector, even before crossing the threshold of the restaurant or hotel, a potential guest will invariably have perused social media reviews, websites and potentially made a quick call to reception to help inform their decision. And I’d suggest that question of style will also be a factor in determining if a particular destination is to his or her taste.
Richard Mayne is Cluster General Manager for Radisson Collection Hotel Royal Mile Edinburgh and Radisson Blu Edinburgh