Travel | Diary of a Somebody

Olga Polizzi

The hotel designer’s day is enlivened by lunch with the grandchildren – and work on a cherished school project

Olga Polizzi

August 03 2011
Olga Polizzi

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

I hate waking up early, though I often have to when I’m travelling to our various hotels. Today, my alarm rang at 8am. I had a quick shower and then a bowl of berries in the garden with my husband. I usually drive to work, but am determined to walk to work at least three times a week from now on. When I’m on holiday I go on a mad exercise catch-up which involves running on the treadmill, playing tennis, swimming 20 lengths, and then I get home and nothing. So at least a walk across Hyde Park to our offices in Jermyn Street would be a start, as once I get to my office I rarely move.

I am in the office for about 10am and have a quick update over an espresso with my long-serving PA Judy who sits opposite me. I am feeling a little bit out of touch with what’s been going on, having travelled a lot in the past month.

At 11am I have a meeting with my team to discuss progress with some of our key projects, which include the refurbishment of bedrooms and public areas at The Balmoral in Edinburgh and Hotel Astoria in St Petersburg, a new restaurant at the Augustine Hotel in Prague which will be based around photography by Lord Lichfield, and some small design updates being made at Brown’s Hotel in London and Hotel de Rome in Berlin.

I manage to pop out for lunch at about 1pm and head to Inn the Park in Green Park with my daughter Charlie and my three grandchildren, Finn, Molly and Connor, who are on school holidays. We all sit outside and enjoy the glorious weather while the children have a good run-around. I have Shetland salmon and smoked haddock fishcakes and poached eggs which is delicious. I leave the kids feeding the ducks and head back to the office.

Our PR team remind me that I have promised to do a telephone interview at 3.30pm with US magazine, Town & Country, about our property in Prague, the Augustine Hotel. I have a quick sit-down with them to go over what the interview is about and to gather my thoughts. The journalist is writing a feature about historic hotels around the world and wants to talk to me about the interior design challenges of decorating a converted historic property.

The Augustine Hotel is one of our most stunning properties, having been created from a converted 13th-century Augustinian monastery. We wanted the hotel to reflect the strong cultural heritage of Prague. We have incorporated many of the original features of the building, including vaulted ceilings and 18th-century decoration, with interiors inspired by the Czech cubist movement.

At 4.45pm I have a meeting of the Landau Forte Academy. It was one of the original Academies with money given by my father, Lord Charles Forte and by Martin Landau. Baroness Heather Brigstocke, the former head of St Paul’s Girls’ School, put it on the right track, and it now has children clamouring to join. We are now taking over a failing school in Tamworth. I really enjoy being involved with this marvellous school, a change from bathroom planning, air conditioning and carpets.

I then head home for a quiet evening with my husband which I am really pleased about as it’s been quite a busy month. We have a glass of prosecco in the garden and I cook some green vegetables and grilled fish.

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