Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Imperfection cured...to perfection!

A perfect product can only be perfect if it is a culmination of successes achieved through failure, through trial-and-error, through honesty and integrity and above all, commitment and dedication to a common cause and a perennial pursuit to improve and exceed expectations.

We at Rafayel strive to seek that elusive quality of “perfection.”   To achieve that, fairness and transparency have been one of our cornerstone policies.  Thumbs-up guest reviews, which we get 95% of the time in nearly 3,300 reviews posted on social and travel media networks, are a joy to share with our fans and friends, but when we get the odd poor review, we feel privileged to share it as we believe that it is not a reflection of any shortfall in our efforts to excel, but a desire to humanize Rafayel, which may be subject to praise or criticism from another individual’s perspective and personality.  This is the new age of social media.  It has revolutionized interpersonal skills and opened new doors of productive and profitable communication.  Those who wish to take advantage in this fantastic New World will have to live with both the bright and dark sides.

From the sublime to the ridiculous… we value each and every guest opinion and are proud to share it!

“Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!!”
Reviewed July 25, 2011

I didn't stay in the beautiful hotel, unfortunately, but I ate dinner there. The hotel itself is immaculate and oozes sophistication. We had a starter, main and pudding each, with lizz jazz. The staff were so friendly and chatty, and came over and chatted to us whilst waiting between courses. We had bruschetta to start, lovely and I have seafood linguine for main with salad, and my partner had lasagne. His lasagne was a bit dry, however he ate it all so couldn't have been that bad! He had fruit salad to finish and I had tiramisu. Overall a gorgeous hotel, with beautiful staff - I only wish I'd stayed the night there!! Would definitely come back.

“Excellent Experience. Can’t wait to go back!”
Reviewed July 25, 2011

Excellent overall experience. On arrival, a free valet car park service by friendly staff and on entering the restaurant, we were greeted with a warm welcome by a person who I later found out is the owner of the business, a rare combination in my experience especially for this type of establishment. The management was accommodating despite the fact that we were late for our reservation. Very polite and attentive bar/restaurant staff. It is slightly away from the hustle bustle of west-end but nonetheless a great location to wine and dine in style on the bank of river Thames. It is evident that a lot of thought and care was taken in designing the interior/layout of the bar and restaurant. Really loved the food. The atmosphere was great, a cool fusion between east and west. We were the last people to leave the restaurant and I just can’t wait to go back!

“It’s a scam”
Reviewed July 8, 2011

Its located far away from any good transportation service and the furniture is easily the worst taste I have seen in my life, as well as being cheap and of bad quality, tv does not work and towels and details are of cheap quality. It is all done so they comply with 5 star standard but with cheap solution and cheap staff that doesnt dress properly or has no education whatsoever. If they burn it down they would do a favour to humanity.

Reviewed July 25, 2011

I had a fabulous stay! The rooms were gorgeous and exhilarating, enhancing and complementing the romantic moments I had with my girlfriend! Food and room service were friendly and prompt! The mixing and matching of artwork was pretty creative and mentally stimulating! I got everything I wanted; guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder; and boy my eyes saw nothing but good!

“Fabulous Find”
Reviewed July 21, 2011

I usually stay in Mayfair when visiting London on business but fancied a change and the Rafayel seemed to be offering a similar standard at half the price.I was expecting there to be a catch but could not have been more pleasantly surprised.The staff in particular were exceptionally good.The superior room was very large and superbly well appointed.The facilities are first class.Ok so its not bang slap in the middle of Town but its not that far out and if you drive there it is outside the congestion zone and valet parking is £15 a night as opposed to £40 ( plus congestion charge) in Mayfair.You can be in central London by minicab in 15 minutes.I will stay there again.

“A lot of good and a lot of bad, all in one hotel”
Reviewed July 18, 2011

The Rafayel is a bit of an odd hotel, there is a lot of good and a lot of bad -- all in one hotel. I'll start with the good. The hotel is new and clean and does not have any of the grungy run-down feeling that characterizes so many London hotels, including expensive London hotels. The one exception to this is the multiple stains on the carpet. The rooms are huge by London standards. Much of the hotel is of a sleek contemporary design with modern features, including well-functioning air conditioning, an enormous bathroom with water jets in the shower, free wireless internet service, and a flat screen tv that is suspended from the ceiling. Much of the hotel is also extremely attractive. The rooms are partly tiled with large contemporary tiles. The bathrooms have beautiful Roca fixtures, including a contemporary large white porcelain sink and toilet. The ceilings in the rooms are very high and the furniture is new and appealing. Some of the other finishes are also quite nice: glass tile in the bathroom; white glass counters on the desk; large dark-stained wood doors.

Some more good: The hotel staff is very friendly and accommodating (There were several occasions when they brought me a bucket of ice late at night and cereal bowls in the morning. The "IT" manager helped me print out a contract I needed to get signed and emailed back to the states); There is a free car shuttle service that takes guests to and from a tube stop and a train station; The restaurant serves a good dinner and gives a 50% discount (with several restrictions) to hotel guests; the rate was quite good considering general London prices.

Now the bad. The Rafayel bills itself as a five star hotel. When I stay at a five star hotel I look for an ambience and an aesthetic that makes the hotel uniquely pleasing and beautiful. Unfortunately, the Rafayel is lacking in both. While many of the individual components of the hotel are quite attractive, they are mixed in with so many unattractive components that you're left with a bit of a mess. As discussed above, much of the hotel is sleek and contemporary. The problem is that other components of the hotel are traditional and a dated throwback to the 80's. The hotel's lobby is most afflicted by this problem….

“Nice hotel but the location wasn’t great”
Reviewed July 20, 2011

Recently went to London with my Boyfriend and decided to stay in Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank. Hotel is a bit difficult to get to, Closest tube is Clapham Junction (about 5 minute drive away) the hotel offers complimentary pick up service. We phoned the hotel and they sent a driver to pick us up within 10 minutes. When we arrived at the hotel we were given a lovely room but it was on the ground floor and the windows were down to the floor so wasn't at all private. We contacted reception and they moved us to a room further up which was lovely. Very modern and luxurious.
We went down to the hotel bar for a couple of cocktails in the evening, was lovely overlooking the Thames on a sunny evening.
Overall we enjoyed our stay but found the location a bit far away from central London. Hotel was really nice though.

Reviewed July 20, 2011

Exceptionally good staff, large rooms, very impressed.

“This hotel was a very great experience for us.”
Reviewed July 16, 2011

Loved all the hi fi gadgets installed in the rooms, valet service was quite a necessity as there were no parking spaces for residents which I did find should have been included... But overall this is by far one of the best we have been to.. The rooms were always scented discreetly which makes it feel fresh... Loved it , we dint have to use the shuttle service so would not be able to comment... Enjoooyyy,
Nah nothing bad worth writing about :)

“Oustanding Hotel and Staff”
Reviewed July 2011

I travel all over the world and this hotel rates in my top 3 of all time.
Rooms are fantastic, spacious and well designed.
Every single member of staff could not have been more helpful they are credit to the hotel.
Usually I avoid eating in hotel restaurants but I could not keep away from eating in this one.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Guru corner- 5 Rafayel ethos that we drill every day in our colleagues’ heads:-


Human Beings are Amazing!

The pulse of our work is creative empowerment. We really, really want people to be better and to reach their highest potential. It gives us a real kick to see a person grow.

For this week I have selected special 5-pointer kind of reflections on success across generations by a very senior executive:

1. “All work is honorable.”
2. No Excuses, No Regrets
3. "Wisdom knows no rank."
4. "It's not our abilities that define us, it's our choices.
5. Time should be precious, but not anxious.

First, "All work is honorable." Most of us will end up at some point in our careers in jobs that are not fulfilling, or at least for a time working on tasks that seem pretty frustrating. But, interestingly, we often learn more from those 'uninspiring' tasks — or we are watched or admired more for how we perform in them — than we might realize.

In his autobiography, My American Journey, Colin Powell tells this story of a summer job he had in college working at a Pepsi-Cola bottling plant. He wrote, "When I reported in, I was handed a mop, an experience that black workers had for generations. I took the mop. If that was what I had to do to earn $65 a week (this was in the 1950s), I'd do it. I'd mop the place until it glowed in the dark. Whatever skill the job required, I soon mastered it. "It could be godawful work, as it was the day fifty cases of Pepsi bottles came crashing down from a forklift and flooded the floor with sticky soda pop.

"At the end of the summer, the foreman said, "Kid, you mop pretty good." "You gave me plenty of opportunity to learn," I told him. "Come back next summer, he said, "I'll have a job for you." Not behind a mop, I said. I wanted to work on the bottling machine. "And the next year, that is where he put me. By the end of the summer, I was deputy shift leader and had learned a valuable lesson: All work is honorable. Always do your best, because someone is watching." So, remember — all work is honorable. It is our effort, our attitude, and our values that make it so — not the title on our business card or the number of people reporting to us.
We need to make the most of our effort — because all work is honorable. We need to make the most of all our relationships — because wisdom knows no rank. And we need to make the most of our time — so our hours are precious, not anxious. 

A Booz Allen employee headed out of the office in his gym clothes — and his t-shirt proclaimed in big block letters, "No excuses. No regrets." Of course, the t-shirt was talking about fitness — it pictured a huge dumb-bell. But, it occurred to me that this sports proverb was, in fact, a powerful guidepost for success in life. "No excuses. No regrets" aptly summarizes the feelings of the senior executives and young professionals I heard from. Distilling the common themes, I believe the key to having "no excuses and no regrets" is — making the most of our effort, our relationships, and our time.

Let me talk about these in more detail — in the form of three principles:
1.     All Work is honorable.
2.     Wisdom knows no rank.
3.     Time should be precious, but not anxious.

"Wisdom knows no rank." - One final piece of advice on choosing and doing honorable work — is from a senior partner Paul Anderson who just celebrated his 40th anniversary with the firm. Paul relayed this advice given him by a b-school professor: In any organization, you will find things that trouble you. Even the best companies are far from perfect. There are four responses you can have to this — three of them are acceptable and one is not. "One — you can decide to overlook the 'bad things' and focus on the positive. Two — you can try to change things for the better. Three — you can decide that the shortcomings really bother you and leave. All three of these options are valid. The fourth one is not — and that is to dwell on and complain about the things that trouble you, yet fail to move on or take positive action."

The second major theme that emerged from the e-mails and interviews, is this: "Wisdom knows no rank." It's fascinating to listen to the most learned, most confident person in the room. And, in the world's top business schools, as in the profession of management consulting, we are blessed with the company of incredibly smart, hard-working people. There are times I sit in a meeting and just get caught up in the intellectual stimulation and energy — listening and enjoying the interplay of ideas and solutions. It can be exhilarating. And, we are very lucky to have this kind of education and experience. But we can learn just as much — maybe more — from meeker voices — from those not in corner offices.

The best advice I got early in my career was from my office mate, Paul Boehm, at RCA. Paul was quite senior to me in experience and expertise and the more I talked with and learned from him, the more I saw that he was perhaps the smartest person in the whole company. But, instead of occupying a corner office with a large division reporting to him, Paul was sharing a cubicle with me. When I asked him why, Paul explained this was his choice. He gave his all to RCA while at the office, but he got to go home at a reasonable time and he didn't worry about work after he left. Paul spent a lot of time with his family and playing the piano which was his passion.

"Time should be precious, but not anxious."

A profound quote — that I had heard in a very unlikely place — a dumb movie. The movie was "Bruce Almighty." Back in June, my wife Janice and I went to see this movie in which a whiny TV reporter (Bruce, played by Jim Carey) rails at God for his lot in life. God, played by Morgan Freeman, decides to give Bruce all his powers to see if he could wield them better. Needless to say, almighty powers don't make Bruce any happier or more successful. And when he comes to ask why, God replies, "It's not our abilities that define us, it's our choices." So, think about that — "It's not our abilities that define us, it's our choices."

In this case, wisdom came literally from on high. But in our day-to-day lives, wisdom knows no rank.

Time should be precious, but not anxious. The last "umbrella theme" from the advice I gathered, is about time — specifically: Time should be precious, but not anxious. So, what do I mean by that? I mean that we need to cherish the days and hours of our lives and those of our loved ones — but we need not be so anxious and pressed about time that it becomes a worry rather than a gift.

I'd like to share with you some thoughts on this that I wrote in an e-mail to Booz Allen's worldwide staff on September 11, 2002. The subject line was "Moments in Time." And it read, in part:

I wish you great success in your chosen careers. And, I wish for all of you, that in thirty years, you will look back having 'No excuses, No regrets' — and you will look forward to great things still to come.

Selections from the Speech given by Ralph Shrader (Booz Allen Chairman & CEO) at the University of Michigan Business School.