What’s it like working for London’s top hotels? A glimpse inside The Berkeley inploi Team | 15.06.2018
The Berkeley, just off Knightsbridge in the heart of fashionable London, is one of the city’s finest hotels. Part of the Maybourne Group which includes other icons such as Claridge’s and The Connaught; it is the epitome of contemporary chic despite being over 100 years old. In addition to its 190 rooms and suites, the hotel has several restaurants and bars for guests to enjoy: Marcus (Marcus Wareing’s two-Michelin star restaurant), The Collins Room (with Executive Chef Shaun Whatling), the award-winning Blue Bar, and a rooftop health club and spa overlooking Hyde Park.
One enters The Berkeley through a wide set of revolving glass doors, greeted by a smiling doorman. The simple lobby is the picture of minimalist elegance. The staff who greet you are friendly, wonderfully turned out, and quick to help. Behind the scenes, running a five-star establishment like The Berkeley in one of the world’s great cities is a tremendous task; with over 120 people working in unison to provide their guests with an unforgettable experience. inploi caught up with the hotel’s Human Resources and Recruitment Office Senja Mueller, to hear more about how she came to be here and about life at The Berkeley.
Having started off working as a waitress whilst a student in need of a job, Senja’s career is an example to others looking to enter and grow in the industry. Since then she has not looked back, and having arrived at the Berkeley as an apprentice, she worked her way through various positions before joining the hotel’s HR team. When asked why she had stuck at it and why it was a good place to be she said, “It is such an interesting industry. You get to meet so many people from so many different backgrounds. At our level the fascinating thing that everybody has in common is a passion for the provision of amazing service, and a pride in that.”
And that is an important point. The Berkeley is a five-star hotel, making service and quality of the highest level fundamental parts of the job. “We need to wow everybody who walks through this door. People don’t come here for just a bed, breakfast and a shower. People come here for an experience, for something different.” This requires a lot of creativity as the team sets out to wow their guests - each and every one - creating a memory that they will look back on fondly, and return to live again.
But what’s special about working at The Berkeley? We were lucky to be able to have a look inside the engine room – behind the scenes where the guests don’t usually go. The energy was fantastic as porters, chefs, cleaners and everybody in between beetled about attending to their tasks. A wall of smiling portraits showcases the employees of the month who win a prize, and who could then be sent on an all-expenses-paid trip abroad. There is a staff canteen to rival Google’s, serving wonderful food free of charge to keep the team fuelled.
Chatting to some of them it’s clear that there is more to working at The Berkeley than just the perks: “We are a very close team that is friendly towards each other. There are many long-standing members – and that is no surprise. Whilst we believe in going the extra mile for our guests, we also believe it for our colleagues. We care about them a lot too. We’re a fair and good employer, and we try to make everybody’s employment here special too.”
People working at this level of the hospitality sector are generally building a career within it. When asked about opportunities for progression, there were many stories of members of the team who had stared at the bottom and had worked their way up the ranks. Personnel development is also a key benefit, with plenty of on the job training including bite-sized courses to improve one’s skills on things like telephone operation, guest services and various standards.
If you’re up to the challenge of working in a top-class establishment, providing service of the highest level, then joining the close-knit team at The Berkeley could be the job for you!
The Berkeley is hiring for roles at all levels. View the latest jobs on The Berkeley Hotel company page here, and apply today.