I work in the international team of my company, so the clients of the projects I work on are all not based in the UK. It is the director or associate who deal with the client most of the time. A small potato like me normally stays in the office, dealing with the construction team and with other small potatoes on the client’s side.
Despite that, I have had some opportunities to go out of the office for work. Some enjoyable tasks included going to art galleries and museums to do “research” on paintings on the client’s behalf, and also to Waterstone at Piccadily Circus, the biggest bookstore in the UK.
Today, I had an opportunity to tag along to a client’s meeting out of the office. What was exciting about the meeting was that it was held in the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair. Those who are familiar with UK monopoly will recognise Mayfair as the most expensive property on the board, and in real life as well, it is also the priciest real estate in London.
As we entered the hotel lobby, we were welcomed with the fragance of fresh flowers, and our gaze was naturally drawn to the two huge bouquets of beautiful flowers placed on either side of the entrance, each bouquet taller than a door. The afternoon tea room was beautiful, and the ambience was calm, gentle and utterly delightful. The soft light casted diffuse shadows of soft edges, each overlaying harmoniously on the walls and beams. The capitals of the Corinthian columns are gilded and delicately ornate . The hotel staff somehow reminded me of characters in The Sims game; they all looked smart, well-presented and polished. And the hotel served delicious cookies during the meeting!
As shallow and superficial my observations might be, it is a luxury hotel used by the truly weathly people. The standard room price starts from £500 during the mid-season; it is still affordable for normal people who decide to splurge, but a suite can cost up to £11,000 (RM55,000) per night! It goes without saying that designer bags are a common sight, but they also wear designer clothing. While more and more people on the street can afford or are willing to afford designer bags nowadays, not many choose to spend on luxury designer clothing, as they are often seen as not worthy to invest in, unlike bags and shoes. So that answers my question of who would buy designer blouses that costs half of my salary. The hotel residents sure do resemble the people seen in luxury lifestyle adverts.
After all, they are staying at one of the most expensive and well-known five-star hotel in London with an impeccable reputation. Of course, the even wealthier oligarchs and sheiks will stay in their private penthouses in Belgravia, London’s wealthiest residential area. It is an area where the average price of a 4 bedroom flat goes for £15 million (RM 70 million).
I managed to hold the urge to take my phone out to snap lots of photos. The quality of the marble tiles is the finest quality I have ever seen, and I considered sneaking to the washroom and take a photo. I didn’t do it eventually, but it wouldn’t hurt to attach a photo from the internet for illustration purposes.
For normal people like me, client meetings and enjoying their afternoon high-tea which cost a minimum of £60 (RM300) per person is probably the closest I can get to actually experiencing their facilities. I can of course order just a cup of tea and spend the whole day here, but there will be no fun doing that!
Photo credit: Polliweb