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Peter Barnes - Reception Manager
Creating the perfect welcome is the job of born-and-bred Londoner Peter Barnes. Discover how he makes guests feel at home.
Calm, control and efficiency
“There is always a solution”
London is home to people from all corners of the world, a melting pot of culture, language and art. So it is rare now that you meet a Londoner who was actually born in the capital.
Peter Barnes was born and grew up in Ealing, West London. The son of a solicitor and a teacher, and a twin to successful music producer brother Tom, Peter had a typical and traditional upbringing in the great suburbs. He also has two sisters, Rosie who is a pianist, and Elaine, who is in human resources for a global brands business.
Peter has an ethos that he explains as: “There is always a solution”, and watching him work, you understand that this is a fact not a claim.
He exudes calm, control, efficiency, and all with an open nature, a natural smile and a comfortable air. He reassures you that you are in good hands, nothing is a problem, just a solution in waiting.
“I just bought a canoe”
He attributes some of this balance to how he manages his time outside work: early morning cycles to practise yoga in Soho, combined with a healthy diet. But he will always have space for a Sunday lunch, one that he and his brother Tom will pop around to the family home to prepare.
So far, so balanced, and then he starts talking about paddling down the Thames in a Canadian two-man canoe. What’s that about? Well he says, it was a whim that started with a phone call from a friend along the lines of “I just bought a canoe on eBay, let’s paddle down the Thames”, and he simply said “when?”
And so, on a misty morning he found himself launching a canoe at Lechlade-on-Thames, the highest point at which the River Thames is navigable. Six days later, spending his evenings in riverside pubs and nights in a riverside tent, they finished in Windsor, parked the canoe and walked to the nearest hotel for a nice cup of tea. Job done, as a Londoner would say. And so to the day job.
Every minute spent at reception must be perfectly managed
“Is everything how they want it?”
Peter has thought deeply about his work, and how he believes it should be carried out. He sees reception as the frontline, the first and lasting impression – and every minute spent here must be perfectly managed.
Each guest must be considered individually. Where have they come from? How did they travel? What are their plans today? What do they need now? And all this knowledge must be gently extracted, without the guest even realising that the conversation is taking place.
Then it’s up to the room or suite, and again each guest is made to feel completely at home. Peter asks himself, “Is everything how they want it? Do they have everything they need?”
A last look
“He wants to take the journey of each guest”
On the way back down to reception Peter will always get out of the lift on the 1st floor. This allows him to walk down into the Connaught lobby from above, to feel the space open up as the legendary staircase makes its grand entrance.
It’s this understanding of perspective that makes Peter a unique person. He wants to take the journey of each guest, to see things through their eyes, and by seeing this journey, he can then create the perfect welcome, the perfect relationship, and the beginning of a perfect and much-repeated stay.
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The Connaught, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL +44 (0)20 7499 7070
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