The definition of luxury is changing and hotels must adapt in order to survive. Corinthia Hotel London is no exception and its new managing director, Thomas Kochs, who visited our New York office, understands that what was considered luxury a decade ago, isn’t necessarily so today.
Eight weeks on the job and Kochs is looking to the future of the young hotel. Corinthia London, which was restored as a hotel six years ago, finds itself among the top luxury hotels in the city, competing against ones that have been around for decades. This has its benefits, however. It has allowed the hotel to become more flexible in its definition of luxury, following what the guests really want.
Gone are the days of steak and lobster being the cornerstone of luxury dining and indulgence. What guests want now, according to Kochs, is an experience they can’t get anywhere else in the world. He says that guests would rather savor a glass of an excellent vintage Bordeaux that the hotel opened especially for them than intoxicate themselves on an entire bottle. Or they would rather have a taste of sustainable, farm-raised caviar instead of as much traditionally raised caviar as they can eat.
Kochs, a veteran of Hotel Café Royal and Claridge’s, says that as a director he strives for exclusivity and attention to detail. “It’s good to have things you can’t measure,” he says, like if a hotel made an impact, or touched a guest.
The next year is expected to be a busy one for the hotel as the original designers, GA Design, are working on converting several guestrooms into suites. This will include the addition of the hotel’s second three-bedroom suite.
Kochs is also on the hunt for a new chef. And keeping with the forward-thinking mindset, he’s considering appointing a young, but qualified, chef to the position. The candidates may not have as much experience as the world’s top 10 chefs, but Kochs believes that since many of these major names have restaurants in places such as New York or Paris, he would be able to offer guests unique options. And while the newbie may not be a Gordon Ramsay, it doesn’t mean that he or she won’t be one day.
Set to open in mid-September is the BodySpace fitness center, designed and operated by Steven Price. Kochs says he’s hesitant to call Price, a former professional cricket player, a personal trainer; rather he describes Price as more of a life coach. Price’s BodySpace was chosen for the hotel because “how we take care of ourselves is changing,” Kochs notes. The space is meant to be a lifestyle center and intends to show guests how to work out for specific needs through highly customized, personal workouts.
While Corinthia London is embracing new luxury, some standards remain the same; notably: the four-floor 35,000-square-foot ESPA Life spa, which houses 17 treatment pods, silver and vitality pools, an amphitheater sauna, a steam room, an ice fountain, heated beds and relaxation areas.
The hotel has 294 guestrooms, including 40 suites and seven two-story penthouses. Located in the heart of London, suites have views of the Thames, Trafalgar Square or the Great Scotland Yard.
While he certainly juggles many responsibilities, Kochs says his primary job is to enhance the hotel for the next managing director. “As long as we make the hotel better, we did our job,” he says.