Aaron Kaupp, General Manager of London’s re-born icon, Carlton Tower, now a Jumeirah treasure, beamed with pride as he stood in the lobby awaiting the first guests last Monday, 26th July 2021.
“In all my years in this marvellous business, I have never seen such energy and motivation. Watching some of my team members, after over three months’ onsite training, is an artistic highlight of passion,” he said.
Kaupp speaks from his own experience, which includes opening Armani’s hotel in Milan before going on to Royal Monceau Raffles in Paris.
The 186-key Carlton Tower Jumeirah’s 267-strong team, which will build up to 400 shortly, show the style of their suave boss: bar and restaurant servers, for instance, change from day to evening fashion as the hours pass.
The hotel’s eatertainment had already opened five days ahead of bedrooms. Al Mare, the Mediterranean and seafood restaurant with an outside entrance – always a great invitation to the many discerning locals who have called this hotel ‘their regular’ for the last six decades – has a culinary leader, Marco Calenzo, whose foodie reputation precedes him from his days at Zuma. The first meals here at Al Mare showed immediately that menu best-sellers will include tuna with black truffles, and, at breakfast, hotel-branded CTJ French toast. As if to celebrate the redo, there was also quite a lot of bubbly consumed. There are 30 Champagne labels on the lists here.
Records show that when the 18-floor Carlton Tower, then managed by Hotel Corporation of America, opened in 1961, the launch party saw a thousand discerning guests demolish 423 bottles of Champagne plus 144 bottles of gin. Since then Carlton Tower has been through various owners and management companies. Jumeirah, which bought in 2001, has, apart from the basic shell, completely rebuilt.
Premium accommodation, now, is the 167sq m Royal Suite, which can be extended to three bedrooms or, indeed, to the entire tenth floor. Whatever, ask for a south-facing room to look down at Cadogan Gardens, which gives free entry to hotel guests for picnics, walks, tennis or jogging. You also have a hotel-guest pass to the rooftop Peak Club and its sizeable indoor pool, both essential hangouts for Chelsea-area fashionistas.
Kaupp knows this is a community hotel, and you are, yourself, part of the Chelsea and Knightsbridge ‘tribes’ while staying here. Take a simple walk. Head out of the main hotel door and turn right, three minutes to Sloane Street. It could then take not more than 20 minutes to go up and down Sloane Street, from Peter Jones store in Sloane Square, to the south, along to Harvey Nichols, centre of Knightbridge retail, to the north. But, honestly, your timing will be extended, as along the route you pass 68 stores, alphabetically from Alberta Ferretti through to Yves Delorme, via such other luxury brands as Salvatore Ferragamo and Tiffany. Harrods, also, is only a proverbial hop, skip and a jump away. And if you have timed it right, back at Carlton Tower Jumeirah, then it is time for afternoon tea in Chinoiserie.