LONDON -- Forty-eight rooms. Ninety-six staff members. That doesn't
tell you everything you need to know about the Capital -- a
five-star, family-run hotel here that has renewed its efforts to
increase awareness among U.S. agents.
But it does tell you a lot.
The staff includes 23 in the kitchen and another 23 for
housekeeping and maintenance. No maid cleans more than eight rooms
a day, so rooms receive a good once-over.
The staff also includes 17 for the restaurant and bar, seven for
room service and a dozen for concierge and porterage.
hotel offers a free shopping service in which a bellboy accompanies
a guest during a shopping trip and carries any purchases back to
The Capital touts its service to agents, too. Its 10% commission
check is processed by the hotel's night manager the evening the
client departs and is mailed the next day.
The Capital has been in business since 1971. It used to be
well-known to agents in the U.S., according to general manager
That awareness, however, has faltered in recent times, in part
because the hotel has only been on the CRSs for less than two
years, she said.
To reverse the trend, the hotel last fall began a push to put
the Capital back into the minds of U.S. agents with visits to New
York and Boston.
Since the hotel launched the effort, U.S. visitors now account
for about 40% of the hotel's guests.
"I suppose it's a revival of the Capital" in the U.S. market,
Agents marketing the property should keep in mind the nature of
The Capital is not big. It doesn't have a gym -- although the
hotel provides a jogging route map, loaner bicycles and, for about
$14 a day, offers guests the use of a nearby fitness center with a
The hotel also doesn't contain a roomful of computers for
clients to use or a bunch of stores in a massive atrium.
What it does have are cozy, elegant rooms with handmade
mattresses, oversized pillows, marble bathrooms and handpicked
furniture and paintings.
The Capital also boasts a restaurant, awarded two Michelin
stars, that serves French-inspired cuisine and offers a large wine
selection. It also runs another food and wine venue for informal
The Capital has some additional bonuses, such as a policy that
allows some pets, mainly small dogs.
And it has an experienced concierge, Clive Smith, who apparently
has connections -- he somehow found me a ticket for a theater show
that had been sold out for weeks.
Hotel rooms have a desk and a second phone line for portable
computers, but the placement of the outlet and phone connection
isn't always ideal. It's best in the deluxe rooms.
Nonetheless, the hotel offers enough facilities -- including two
24-person-capacity meeting rooms and an optional in-room fax
machine -- to satisfy business clients, who account for about 50%
of its guests.
Many U.S. visitors seem to prefer the eight junior suites, which
feature a separate living room, one full bath and one half-bath,
hotel officials said.
There also are deluxe rooms -- some guests specifically request
272, the biggest deluxe -- located in a separate part of the hotel
largely free of foot traffic.
Families could book two deluxe rooms across from each other,
essentially having a floor to themselves.
Rack rates range from about $280 for a single room to about $550
for a junior suite, not including 17.5% VAT.
For reservations, call (800) 628-8929 or book through the major
CRSs under code SB. The Web site address is www.capitalhotel.co.uk.