Corinthia Hotels is aiming to change the face of the luxury hotel market in London with the debut of the Seven Penthouses of Corinthia Hotel London, with rates ranging from $7,000 to $28,000 a night.
The 294-room London property, Corinthia's ninth location, opened last summer, but the duplex suites, ranging in size from 1,000 to 5,000 square feet, were not completed until February.
The suites are aimed at attaining a higher rate level, according to Alfred Pisani, founder and group chairman of Corinthia.
"To achieve a good average rate, you need 15% to 20% of your rooms to be suites," Pisani said. "In a city like London, you can go beyond that and sustain ultraluxury accommodations that match the luxury of home to the very wealthy. These are suites of extraordinarily high quality, each over 1,000 square feet and each with its own butler on call 24 hours a day."
The market for the penthouse suites -- which occupy the top two floors of the Victorian-era building in which the hotel is located -- will be the most affluent travelers from the Gulf, Russia and the Americas, Pisani said. The hotel also offers 40 additional suites of more traditional size.
"There is nothing like these seven suites in any other hotel," Pisani said. "Others may have one or two suites of this size but not this many or this opulent."
Each penthouse is themed: The Musician's suite, for example, has a grand piano and musically inspired artwork, while the Writer's suite offers a reading desk and more than a thousand books lining the walls.
Each is priced according to its square footage: Royal, at $28,000 a night; Hamilton, $15,000; Musician's, $10,300; Writer's, $10,300; Whitehall, $8,700; Explorer's, $7,100; and Actor's, $7,100.
Pisani said Corinthia would aim to offer the equivalent of these suites in future hotels.
Pisani's goal in London is to "cruise" at an occupancy level of about 80% within two years; the target this year is 64%.
With London as a showplace for the brand, Pisani is aggressively searching for locations in other major gateways, with particular emphasis on New York and Paris. He said he was also interested in China, India and South America. Corinthia is prepared to invest $2 billion in developing an additional eight properties, he said.
Once the brand has roughly doubled in size, Pisani said, "that will give us sufficient exposure, and I would then like to reach a stage where investors will come to us to manage their hotels, on the model of the Four Seasons." Corinthia and its subsidiaries currently develop, manage and own all of their hotels.
Corinthia is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a company: Pisani opened a restaurant in his native Malta in 1962 and opened his first hotel in 1968, the Corinthia Palace, which continues to operate today.
"Our main responsibility is to respect our culture as we grow," Pisani said. "That's harder than designing a lovely penthouse. We are constantly working to get the best out of our colleagues by telling them they are the best and working with the best.
"Our advantage up to now has been our size, which has allowed us to maintain what we call the craftsmanship of care," he said. "Maintaining that is our goal."