Thursday, 3 February 2011

“Luxury” (synonym): Opulence, bliss, comfort, splendor, delight, enjoyment...Rafayel

How does one define luxury?  Luxury cannot be a necessity, if it was it would lose its charm of something that is not available commonly or to all for that matter, as one hotel magazine highlighted. Luxury is something way beyond necessity or essentials; it is something that caters to the desirability thirst of a human being. This is precisely what luxury hotels fulfill – thirst and desire. They provide the guest with a relatively higher quality experience.

With the availability of spendable income in the pockets of traveling public, in this difficult financial environment, the industry saw an explosion in the expectations of guests. The scenario provided a window of opportunity to exploit the possibility of building something that catered to the traveler’s “desire” which acted as a catalyst to the emergence of the concept of creating services, state-of-the-art technology and an eco-friendly 5-star product with a social conscience beyond the expectations of a guest.  Despite all odds in terms of its location in Battersea,  Rafayel surfaced, offering its guest all that and more.  


The criteria for “luxury,” according to experts, are that a 5-star hotel has to be qualitatively far more superior in product standards and style. The lobby is warm, rich and inviting with a touch of class, the elevators are well and richly decorated. Floor corridors become more cosy and intimate. And the hotel rooms? Well, very plush with rich carpets, luxurious fabrics and high-end fixtures and furniture. The rooms are provided with TV's, music, electronic ‘Do not disturb’ and ‘Clean my room’ signs etc to list a few.

The bathrooms also get a makeover. Luxury hotels provide a minimum of 5-fixture bathrooms fitted with ultra high end and branded fittings and fixtures. The floor is adorned with expensive granite or Italian marble and so are the walls. The bathrooms also have HDTV and speakers for music.

The super fine linen, on the bed and in the bathrooms, enhances the quality of comfort. Branded amenities are provided to reinforce a hotel’s commitment to quality, winning guest's appreciation and confidence.

Luxury hotels and resorts have at least one specialty: cuisine fine dining restaurant in addition to an upscale coffee shop. The Bar is relaxing and soothing and generally has a club lounge atmosphere with finest labels on the shelf and in the cellar. The qualitative aspects are reflected in the service and presentation style of food and beverages. The attempt in a luxury hotel is to attain perfection with continuous improvement and evolution.  Rafayel’s very own Banyan has surpassed all expectations and continues to win rave reviews on its interestingly eclectic quality cuisine and presentation, as does our Crystal Bar with its innovative delicious cocktails.  We have recently launched our special Coffee Bar, Cafayel, in collaboration with the much-acclaimed “Dose” that offers the finest blend of gourmet espresso brews in the coffee world!

Staff of a luxury hotel is very well trained in not only their technical traits but also in the guest interactions. Courteousness, care and compassion are virtues that they practise and perfect. They are trained to address all guests by their names, making the interaction personal.

The emphasis in a luxury hotel is to ensure that the guest gets a real good and memorable experience of his stay in the hotel, something that will make him feel nostalgic. We at Rafayel continue to strive for excellence within the very criteria of “luxury” as defined by most experts – perhaps even take it a step further to maintain the quality and standards we have worked so hard for.  We are always open to constructive criticism and engage in continuous dialogue with our guests, which we feel sets us apart from the generic corporate aloofness that prevails in the hospitality industry. 
We are honoured by the patronage of our guests and appreciation towards the extraordinary amount of efforts that went into the creation of Hotel Rafayel.  One such acknowledgement perfectly encapsulates the result of our labour of love:

“…whilst I was in London for the BETT conference and considering my high expectations and attention to detail when I stay anywhere in world I have no qualms at all in highly recommending this hotel. It is a true 5 star boutique hotel and extremely unique.

I arrived in early and had planned to leave my luggage at reception whilst I went to my conference however they were able to upgrade me and show mw to my room early within 30 minute of arriving. A very nice touch and allowed me to relax a little before I set off.

Ground floor room, very modern, luxurious furnishings and very much appealed to my own style. I could not fault anything. Bed was lovely; TV mounted from the ceiling with a great range of TV and well priced movies as well as the ability to control both lighting and the air conditioning from the TV was great. Next to the door the air-conditioning was touch-control and very easy to use. I had a full length floor to ceiling curved window along one length of the room with both binds and curtains. Plenty of space with armchairs, table, good sized wardrobe with safe, hairdryer and opposite was a nicely set-out table offering teas/coffee with kettle and a well-stocked mini bar as well.

This was very large, modern and light. Showers were extra large with body jets and Neom toiletries on offer which I had never heard off or used before but certainly will be from now on. Bathrobes, slippers and ample towels were on offer. Mirror was full width of the bathroom.

Walking through the door, you could tell there was a touch of class and unique feel to the place. Everything from furnishings, reception desk and the wonderful Mychelle's bakery where they sold cup cakes. There was also a nice coffee shop in the corner. I must commend Pawel Wisniewski (Assistant Operations Manager) who checked me in on arrival. He was very professional and answered many of my questions whilst I stayed here.

The restaurant is accessed by walking through the lobby and across the entrance. I tried both breakfast and dinners and was very impressed.

Breakfast was perfect and offered a great range. Finally a hotel buffet has decent sausages and good quality hot food. Service was very good and the serving staff were always there for your every need. Very relaxing overlooking the Thames and nice and quiet.

The dinner menu was amazing and as I mentioned to my colleagues it would be very difficult to not see anything you would not like to try. Should anyway have the opportunity to stay for a few weeks, I could certainly see them sampling the entire menu over that period of time. Well designed and balanced menu with some real unique twists. Impeccable service and lovely surroundings. I walked up to the cigar lounge upstairs and can imagine in the summer, it would be a real hot-spot.

The ‘L’ word. I hear a lot of people complaining about location. Some say that Battersea is hidden away. It has gotten a lot better and Battersea is a wonderful area. The bus which runs regulary goes directly from outside the hotel and takes you to Clapham and even Victoria in no time at all. Taxis are everywhere as well. I used the shuttle service offered by the hotel. Cars were new Seat Ibiza's clean and the drivers were polite. It was a great plus to be able to be shuttled to either Clapham Common or Clapham Junction stations where you have easy access to anyway in London. As for comments on taxi prices, it is not the fault of the hotel and let’s be honest, London taxi fares are not cheap anyway so expect to pay a lot for a short distance..

Overall I highly recommend Rafayel on the Left Bank and intend to come back myself. I hope it does not only survive but makes a much needed impact in the hotel industry in London…”

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