A Rainy Night in Londontown

I’m shown here at the Park Hyatt New York with chef, restaurateur and food writer, Yotam Ottolenghi.We were in London, trying to find our way to a restaurant I’d spied earlier in the day during a walk around the neighborhood. I thought I’d remembered exactly where it was but we were lost. Then we came upon a familiar site, it was The Goring and even though the hotel’s doorman was at a four-way intersection trying to hail down a cab for a guest (did I mention it was raining?), I called out to ask him where the restaurant was. As I write this I feel bad that I did this but at the time, it was just the New Yorker in me assuming he would want to multi-task, in the rain. “It’s just down there,” he told me, waving his arm as he guided an oncoming cab toward the hotel. “Then make a sharp left and you’ll see it.”

Pictured: I’m shown here at the Park Hyatt New York with chef, restaurateur and food writer, Yotam Ottolenghi.

Grateful, we moved on with confidence. But as we got to the corner, I realized the doorman, who had safely delivered his guest into the cab, had come all the way down the street to walk us to a proper location where he could direct us to the restaurant. He walked aside us and then there it was, lit beautifully in the most inviting way for the evening. After pointing out where the front door was, he said good night.

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I found this to be a remarkable experience because I was clearly not a guest at this gentleman’s hotel, and yet, he had made it a point to help me.

The following day, when I interviewed David Morgan-Hewitt, The Goring’s managing director, who is Luxury Travel Advisor’s General Manager of the Year for 2015, I told him about the experience with the doorman. He didn’t appear to be surprised at all that someone on his team had gone out of their way to assist a stranger, nor did he brag that that’s how everyone at The Goring is. Instead, he acknowledged my comment and continued to tell me about his passion for excellence at The Goring and how he loves the dynamic between his hotel guests and the hotel staff. This is a man who is doing exactly what his passion led him to do and he’s incredibly happy that it led him to The Goring, a five-star, family-owned hotel in London that regularly hosts the Royal Family for social events.

David’s passion for excellence and authentic hospitality is obviously apparent to his team at The Goring, who in turn use his example to develop their own service mantras. And David’s fine traits are evidently obvious to the luxury travel advisors community, which voted him the top general manager of a luxury hotel worldwide. Please join us in congratulating David, and for more on his story, read pages 42-45.

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