Corinthia Hotels – the Gem of a Hotel in Budapest & the Spirit of Discovery in Lisbon!
When I read the news that Corinthia Hotel Budapest was celebrating its 10th birthday this year (2014), I felt very excited!
The reason behind this child-like excitement is because the news and the logo for this occasion has brought back those moments I cherished at the Corinthia Hotels where I stayed with my family during my Budapest Trip last year and Lisbon Trip this year.
As the regular viewers of my blog know me, I love travel and have already visited numerous cities in many countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa (East Africa). Though all most all the hotels and restaurants in those places have made me happy and comfortable, some make me nostalgic, and Corinthia is one of them.
Corinthia Hotel Budapest, Hungary, is a romantic destination!
My wife and my two daughters never hesitate to attribute the pleasure of vacationing in Budapest, the Pearl of the Danube; and in Lisbon, the Global City, to Corinthia Hotels. They say the trips were so enjoyable because of the comfort they felt at the hotels and the food they ate at their different restaurants.
The Brand image of Corinthia Hotels International Limited, with the exclusive management rights to operate hotels under the Corinthia Group, is visible in every Corinthia Hotel. The Corinthia Hotels International manages several hotels. In Europe, they have: in St. George’s Bay, Malta; London, England; Prague, Czech Republic; Budapest, Hungary; Lisbon, Portugal; St. Petersburg, Russia and Manavgat,Turkey; and in Africa: in Banjul, The Gambia; Lome, Togo and Gammarth, Tunisia.
Corinthia Hotel Budapest, was originally opened in 1896 as the Grand Hotel Royal, on the ‘Pest’ side, facing the ‘Buda’ side but separated by the great River Danube, to serve as the rendezvous for the nineteenth century elite. Though it withstood the Two Wars and underwent renovations and modifications and being used as a venue for different activities all through the 20th century, it was closed in 1991. Fortunately, in 2001, the famous Maltese-family-owned business firm, Corinthia Group, took possession of it, pumping millions of euros in restoring it, opened it as Corinthia Hotel Budapest in 2013.
The Lobby mark “R H” (which stands for Hotel Royal) impressed me so much that I had a mirror selfie taken the moment I saw it!
And the hotel is in such a strategic location that you need little effort to go about and see the best sight-seeing spots in Budapest. You can be visiting the best places with the hotel in vicinity and you get back to the hotel without ever getting lost.
Corinthia Hotel Budapest has five restaurants on its premises, and three are open to the hotel guests. Brasserie, Atrium, Rickshaw Restaurant, Bock Bistro, Szamos Marcipan Royal Cafe serve the world class authentic cuisines to satisfy gourmets and gourmands alike, and there are two bars, Le Bar and Orfeum Club, that quench the thirst of the ‘dry mouths’.
In addition, there is this ‘Roy’s Club’, with Roy the squirrel, to meet the palate of the ever-demanding kids. Corinthia Hotel Budapest, as far as I know, is one of the very few 5 star luxury hotels which have dining halls exclusively for kids.
A team of expert chefs and cooks, under watchful eye of Peter Bolyki, the ‘sous’ chef, makes sure that the dishes are up to the standards and the diners are getting their money’s worth.
Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, Portugal, as their brochures and the website boast, is certainly the Spirit of Discovery.
The personal touch is so apparent that the guests are made to feel pampered and important. You are on a vacation and what keeps you in the right mood is the bliss you get right at the entrance of the hotel where you’re going stay and at the tables of their restaurants where you’re going to feed. That’s exactly what we got at Corinthia Hotel Lisbon.
The welcome board which said ‘Welcome Mr Bonigala! Enjoy your stay!’ was the starter that made our family ‘really’ enjoy our ten-day stay there. This personal touch made us feel as if we were visiting a friend’s or relative’s place where we were welcomed with wide open arms.
This IS the crux of Branding: making your customers feel the satisfaction of availing your service with a touch of bliss!
The rooms are spacious and the food is sumptuous & tasty, and the service was relatively quick and orderly. Our entire troop of five was made to feel at home.
The restaurants, Sete Colinas and Tipico, and the bars, Tempus Lounge, Terrace Lounge and the Lobby Lounge, are well staffed to meet guests’ culinary demands and winery needs.
The staff are angels in aprons, soft spoken and well-mannered. The staff at the reception understand your language and needs; the staffs in the restaurants and bars understand not only your ‘tongue’ but also your gourmet senses!
The staff was so efficient that a guest at Corinthia Hotel Lisbon wondered in appreciation that he did not even notice how his luggage had got into his room even before he entered!
The corridors and hallways look deserted, clean, quiet and not a soul in sight, but the moment you need something or you seem lost, you find someone in attendance as if appearing from the thin air, offering help. (May be you’re watched on the CC cameras! LOL..)
And the lounges are a blessing in disguise. You can have as much sun as you need (the Sun is on the house) and when you feel you have had enough, you can get into the shade never having to leave the place.
The bars are wonderful, too. No rush, no noise and no waiting. You name it; you get it, pronto!
And finally, when it was time to check out of the hotel to catch our flight back home, the family: me, my wife, my two daughters and our young friend, Reece, felt very much downhearted. The ladies said they wouldn’t want to leave; they were disappointed the trip came to an end so soon. And we were all thinking of going back to Lisbon just to stay at Corinthia Hotel Lisbon before we even left it.
This is what is called Branding — making an impression that lasts forever. Of course, the chances of our returning to Lisbon and staying at the very same hotel may be very slim because of the availability of rooms. We may not return to Corinthia Hotel Lisbon or Budapest ever again, but we do keep the experience in our minds, and when we plan to visit another city for our next trip, the thought that should come to our minds is ‘Is there a Corinthia Hotel there?’ That’s the value of Branding.
What does Corinthia Hotels International do to get such a brand value?
By having a strong and sensible PR and advertising strategy and maintaining the right standards all the time and at every one of their hotels and resorts!
What they actually believe in:
Giving transparent service to build trust…
Showing the business value and sharing success stories…
Building Corinthia communities that help one another…
Managing customer feedback for improvement…
(online) Aiming to responding to all queries within an hour…
How do they do it?
By having a strong managerial staff that put the ‘vision’ in practice!
They have experienced Vice-presidents, managers, directors and a sound financial backing to keep their branding strategy work out the way they think the best.
The present Top Brass: Tony Potter, CEO and MD of CHI; Glen Carroll, senior Vice-president; Geoffrey Breeze, Vice-president looking after strategic marketing and brand management; Fiona Harris, Director of international public relations of CHI Hotels and Resorts, the most experienced people in the business world, make the decisions, formulate strategies and instruct the other staff members down the line, from managers to the concierge, to implement those rules of thumb.
In his keynote speech about the ‘social divide’, one of the most powerful CEOs in the business world, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, mentioned Corinthia hotels, showcasing Corinthia Hotel Group as an example of a Brand that “gets it”, and this kind of publicity certainly has a lot of bearing on the future of Corinthia!