The Roof Gardens on Kensington High Street, London, was a very favoured spot on Tuesday, 12th July. It was the occasion of the fifth consecutive annual gathering of UK event organisers for an evening of fun, food and networking hosted by Kimpton Hotels. And, an extra-special bonus, it did not rain on the party!
Guests were invited to wear red and white and blue, which nicely symbolise the special relationship between the US and the UK, but one of the big items of news was that Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants are for the first time branching out beyond the Americas. They have made an acquisition in Amsterdam which will become a spearhead into Europe when a large investment on the 270-room property is completed in April 2017 – and a Kimpton Hotel has also made an appearance on Grand Cayman.
The group was founded by Bill Kimpton in San Francisco in 1981 and now boasts 62 properties, with more in the pipeline. It was taken over by IHG in January 2015, but is still run by its own distinctive management.
In London for the festive occasion was Christine Lawson, Senior Vice President, Sales & Catering. She told ITCM that the Kimpton Restaurants are organised as a quite separate business from the hotels. ‘They are not hotel dining facilities’, she explained, but are located close to the hotel properties and give hotel guests an additional culinary option.’
Identifying the spirit of Kimpton Hotels, she said: ‘Each property is separately designed and puts great emphasis on reflecting the style of its locality’.
She also was pleased to tell us that the UK is the biggest single source of business from outside the USA and that much of that stems from MICE events. ‘Corporate group business is very important to us’.
This must be music to the ears of Kai Schömann. He is founder and MD of Hotel Republic Ltd and Kimpton is one of the groups it represents in the UK.
Present at the Roof Gardens gathering were Kimpton’s top sales executives. They included Cindy Brewster, the group’s Director of International Sales, and sales chiefs from all the different regions of the States. They had come over from their offices in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, New York, Washington DC and so on.
It was therefore very much a high point of the evening when Cindy Brewster announced a Prize Draw, because each of those sales representatives in turn drew a business card from the hat and the lucky winners were invited to a free stay at a hotel in their region.
Cindy, glass in hand, also pointed out that a custom initiated by Bill Kimpton in the earliest days is still a feature of a Kimpton hotel. ‘Every day at 5pm’, she said, ‘there is a Wine Hour – and I can tell you that it is extremely popular with the British guests!’
At least 100 guests enjoyed the hospitality on Tuesday. If you receive an invitation to the event next year, be sure to say ‘yes’ very quickly.
The ITCM picture shows Christine at the mike, with Cindy and Kai behind her along with some of the Kimpton regional execs who handed out invitations to their hotels.