Double-award winning concierge Ben Malpass is the latest member of staff to be recruited to the much-delayed reopening of the Savoy hotel, London.
Malpass is due to leave the four-star, 230-bedroom Cavendish London this week and expects to take up his new position as head concierge of the iconic five-star property, operated by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, in July. Currently nearing the end of a refurbishment that will have far exceeded its original budget of £100m, the Savoy is now planned to reopen in September, having closed in December 2007.
"I am absolutely thrilled to be going to the Savoy - it really is the dream job for me," said Malpass, winner of the Front of House Manager of the Year title at the 2009 Hotel Cateys and the Andy Pongco Award for International Concierge of the Year 2010.
Originally from Australia, Malpass has been in the UK for 10 years, the past five years as head concierge at the Cavendish London, where Richard Jenkins, formerly assistant head converge at the hotel will replace him. He will head a team of 30, including concierges, door staff, valets, luggage porters and page boys.
Other major new appointments at the Savoy include the team that will run the River Restaurant, which closed in 2004. They include head chef Ryan Murphy, formerly at Ronnums Herrgard in Sweden; restaurant manager Eike Jens-Bosche, from the RAC Club, London; and executive pastry chef Lionel Bethaz, who joins from the Restaurant Dome, Antwerp.
Sean Davoren has been appointed head butler from the Lanesborugh hotel, while Oliver Ormond rejoins the Savoy, having spent a sabbatical at sister resort hotel, the Fairmont Kea Lani in Hawaii.
Belinda Bowles joins the Savoy as head florist from the Dorchester; Shannon McCoy has come from the Four Seasons, New York, to be the Beaufort Bar Manager; and Daniel Baernruther has been appointed as American Bar Manager from Claridge's.
Once fully staffed, the Savoy, headed by general manager Kiaran MacDonald and with Bernhard Mayer as executive chef, will have 650 employees for its 268 suites and bedrooms.
The renowned Savoy Training Academy, which closed in 1995, is being relaunched with an initial investment of £500,00 to ensure the hotel remains at the forefront of service and hospitality.
By Janet Harmer
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