ON BEHALF OF BEING PARTICULAR
The challenge wasn't simply about creating yet another exclusive hotel among the fold. The idea was to achieve the near impossible. A hotel that gave more, that stuck out from the crowd, that was more matter of course yet astonishing. That offered better value. That valued time. That filled guests' time with meaning.
The Avalonists knew that the key was the right attitude. To see the guest. To be interested, to listen. To predict the unexpected, to prepare for the exceptional, to always be ready to improvise. To know when to assist the guest and when to stay back. To meet guests' diversity and to accept the different roles they may want to assume at the hotel. But, most importantly, these efforts should go unnoticed. The results of all this work should just be there, like a well worn trail through the forest.
How does Avalon differ from a hotel?
The decision was made. It shouldn't just be a fancier version of existing hotels. The Avalonists decided not to guess, not to study statistics, not to imitate others. They decided to travel around to find the right feeling. Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Madrid, Paris, Copenhagen and London were on the Avalonian itinerary.
The Avalonists noted how hotel staff behaved, how they received their guests and, above all else, the interest guests showed in the hotel, the restaurant and what was going on around them. They realised performance and convenience were not the only aspects. They needed to go against the grain on widely accepted myths about exclusive hotels. The hotel isn't the centrepiece. The overall experience is.
Nourishing mind and body
Having eaten your way halfway around the world, you soon know what works and what doesn't. When the Avalonists travelled around, they noticed how easy it was to forget the whole if the focus was solely on the cuisine. They discovered they could appreciate a local restaurant's homemade grissini equally as much as the gourmet fare of a luxury restaurant.
All the restaurants they enjoyed had a buzz, a relaxed atmosphere. The dining rooms were full of interesting, confident people, deeply involved in exciting conversations, forks raised. They found they quickly tired of the artificial and overstated, while
appreciating the sensitive, uncomplicated and talkative.
An inner class
The Avalonists found the inner experience gave their journey meaning. It was the light, the sounds – quite simply the ambiance. Was there anything to read, anything to do? Was the hotel in touch with its surroundings and contemporaries?
The Avalonists noticed it was the fado singer from Lisbon they remembered. Madrid's unique music offering. The galleries of London. Encounters with like-minded souls on the way to La Scala. Expectations and hopes as to which novels could be found in the book shops of Paris. The chance to hope, to guess, and in some cases to influence, felt the most memorable part of the trip. Imagine if you could offer all this in a single hotel?
You'd be in a class of your own. An inner class.