August 04 2011
I wake at about 8am and have a quick shower. For breakfast I have some yoghurt and fresh fruit with a coffee, and manage to have a quick glance at today’s papers. I walk fast across Hyde Park to the office. The park is fairly deserted, as is most of London in August, which is great. I spend a rather frustrating 10 minutes attempting to cross the road by The Ritz. They are reconfiguring the whole road layout in Piccadilly and the result is chaos – nobody has thought about the pedestrians.
I make it into the office for 10 and have an espresso and catch-up on some paperwork and e-mails for an hour.
At 11am I have a meeting with our brand marketing team to review some artwork for new brochures for Verdura in Sicily and Hotel de Russie in Rome. We are looking at adopting a new style for our brochures which looks pretty good.
I go into another meeting at 12 with our project services director as he has just come back from visiting our new property in Abu Dhabi, The Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi, due to open later this year. The hotel is shaping up well, although there is still a little way to go. I have actually just planned a trip out there myself at the beginning of October, where I will start to set out the furniture and make sure everything is styled correctly ready for a pre-opening photo shoot.
This will be our first hotel in the Middle East, which is a new chapter for the brand. This will be followed by a 159-bedroom property in Jeddah in 2012, hotels in Cairo and Luxor in 2013, and all-suite Golf, Spa & Villa Resort in Marrakech in 2014.
The hotel will be very striking and is housed in a 12-floor curved glass structure, designed to represent the dunes of the Arabian desert and waves of the Arabian Sea. One of the highlights will be a Sky Bar, suspended on the fifth floor of a 10-storey atrium with stunning views of the city and coastline below.
I meet a friend for lunch at 1.30 at Hix at The Albemarle and have my usual crab salad. The restaurant is buzzing, which is great to see. After lunch I have a quick espresso and catch-up with general manager Stuart Johnson about some extra vitrines and putting down some wood flooring by the outside service areas, as carpets need to be constantly changed.
I have a 4pm meeting with lighting designer Sally Storey to discuss lighting options for the new Lichfield restaurant in the Augustine Hotel, Prague. I enjoyed doing The Donovan Bar at Brown’s Hotel as Terence was a great friend, and now I’m enjoying looking through the extensive Lichfield library of photos and choosing what to have.
I leave the office at about 7.30 to meet my husband and some friends for dinner at The Wolseley, which is a favourite restaurant of mine. The food is easy, the service good and the atmosphere is always buzzy. I am a great admirer of Chris Corbin and Jeremy King and think they’re great at what they do. I choose a plum tomato and basil soup to start, followed by a salad niçoise.