Alvaro Rey

A Rey of Light

We met with dynamic General Manager of the Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane Alvaro Rey to find out more about life at the famous hotel.
Having lived in Switzerland, Canda, Argentina, the United States and Australia before joining the team at the Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane,

There was such a buzz surrounding your arrival here, but what did it mean for you personally to come to London?
This is my eighth move around the world, I’ve worked in cities of twenty-two million people, and cities of 300,000 people, in every place you don’t go to teach, you go to learn and share what you have gathered with your new team. That’s what I’ve brought with me to London. The hotel world is like a family; you meet so many people you know about, and they know about you. We move like diplomats, and you become an ambassador. You have a responsibility towards your owner, your colleagues, your guests and the city you work in. The minute I got here I took off my ‘Australia’ shirt and put on my ‘British’ one!

What was it initially that made you want to go into the hotel business?
I always wanted to be a diplomat. As a child, I travelled a lot. When we moved house in Columbia, where I grew up, the Intercontinental hotel was being built in the city. At the age of 11 or 12 I asked my dad to ask the General Manager of the hotel if I could go on a tour of the back of house- the kitchens, the laundries etc. He agreed, and I fell in love with hotels on that very day. Now, my goal is to make people fall in love with what they do, to pass on that passion. I try to teach people to fall in love with their hotel, to create ‘hoteliers’. As such, we create people who know everything about a hotel; bar staff who can make a bed correctly, or peel a potato, showing them every aspect of the guest experience to make them a better part of the team.

How do you approach managing such a large operation as the Intercontinental?
Well, if you look at the building, it’s like a
small city, there’s so much you don’t see-carpentry, housekeeping, laundry, mechanical rooms- you have to manage all of that, as the base of the service comes from how people are treated. If their areas of work are as good as the part that our guests see, then the hotel will flourish.

What plans have you got for the coming months?
What I like every time I go to a country is not only to experience the tourist attractions, but to discover what the locals like to enjoy, not the most famous markets, shops or restaurants, but where the locals go. I put that information together and give it to our guests, trying to provide that little bit extra. Now that I’m in London, I can’t wait to do just that! It’s exciting to be in such a beautiful city, coming from Columbia I even love the weather.
On a professional level, we are currently making some changes to our dining opportunities here at the hotel. Alongside Theo Randall’s award winning Michelin-starred restaurant, our family orientated Cookbook Café has started serving Saturday brunch; the buffet format is very successful, and offers an alternative to braving the crowds of shoppers. It’s interactive, with cooking stations so you can watch food being prepared, and what’s more, it has fabulous views over Hyde Park.

Situated in the heart of London at Number One Park Lane, the InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel is the epitome of modern elegance. Alongside the fabulous dining opportunities available, the hotel is home to Spa InterContinental, a chic urban retreat in partnership with Elemis, whilst all 447 rooms offer a modern interpretation of traditional English design.

InterContinental London Park Lane, one hamilton place, Park Lane, London W1J 7Q

Tel: 020 7409 3131
fAX: 020 7493 3476