There are 22 properties in the Derby Hotels Collection and they gain 50% of their business from meetings and incentives. Every stay at a Derby hotel has a double impact. First the groups aim to provide a comfortable, smooth and enjoyable hotel experience – and, secondly, the guests get the extra benefit of a visit to fascinating museums.
The CEO of Derby Hotels is Joaquim Clos (pronounced ‘Close’ – and, by the way, Derby is pronounced like the English ‘Darby’) and he told me that every property displays part of the family’s renowned treasure of artistic and historic works of art - sculptures, paintings and furniture.
In spite of its very English name, Derby Hotels Collection is based in Barcelona and the majority of the properties are in that city. But its three flagship hotels are the Claris in Barcelona, the Urban in Madrid and Hotel Banke close to the Paris Opera. The Derby Collection also includes Caesar Hotel in London.
The group was founded by Joaquim’s grandfather, who was an art collector and an Anglophile. The first hotel was called Derby and its restaurant was, of course, the Epsom. His fervent interest in art was carried on by his son Jordi Clos, who is now President of the group, and then by the present CEO, his grandson Joaquim.
In answer to my question about what in particular distinguishes a Derby property, Joaquim said that they are all in important city centres and they are all in buildings which are themselves of intrinsic interest, including former banks and museums. They each have at least 80 rooms, the largest with 150 rooms. All take MICE events very seriously and can offer suites of meeting facilities with a main space and separate break-out rooms.
In the Barcelona HQ there is a dedicated MICE team of ten specialists who can discuss an event with the organiser and identify a Derby property that best meets the required space facilities, time of the year, available guestrooms and budget.
‘Our international MICE business is growing rapidly’, says Joaquim. ‘We have recently hosted many groups from USA, as well as the UK and France. And, yes, we are planning further Derby Hotel openings, probably in northern Europe.’