1 year ago

Winter Edition 2019

  • Text
  • Competition
  • Fenwick
  • Holidays
  • Off
  • Kidzania
  • Guide
  • Guide
  • Ramsay
  • Recipe
  • Cake
  • Hussain
  • Coren
  • Forte
  • Seedlip
  • Nadiya
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Maths
  • Hotels
  • Luxury
We've gone all foodie this term! Fantastic interviews with Sir Rocco Forte, Giles Coren, Nadiya Hussain and Tilly Ramsay shares her brilliant Rainbow cake recipe. Plus, Dermot O'Leary has written a children's book! Definitely one for the stocking, along with other picks we have for you in our top notch Christmas Gift Guide. And if that is not enough, we have the make-up and beauty tips to make sure you are party fabulous this season. Downlaod it now or read it on our School Notices App if you are not at a member school giving you a printed copy.

A Five-Star FAMILY

A Five-Star FAMILY Legendary hotelier Sir Rocco Forte is synonymous with his chain of luxe hotels. He talks to Amanda Morison about his legacy and the exciting properties that will open over the next few years Say the word “Forte” and you’re in Dyson, Hoover and Selfridges territory because the name and the brand are the same. Sir Rocco Forte’s father Charles founded the hospitality chain aged 26 in 1935 with the Strand Milk Bar, swiftly expanding into motorway service stations, restaurants and hotels. Sir Rocco took over as CEO in 1983, and despite losing the brand name in a hostile takeover bid in 1995, now presides over 12 of the world’s most luxe hotels, with up to 10 more to come over the next few years. Sir Rocco worked from a young age during school holidays, in the kitchen, housekeeping, behind the snack bar: “You name the department, I worked there. I don’t care if someone is from a Swiss hotel school, if you haven’t come through the industry you can’t run a hotel”. This uncompromising – but unfailingly courteous – attitude helps define Sir Rocco. Having spent his entire life in a hotel environment – “When I’m in one of my hotels it feels like home”, when he’s a guest he knows exactly what he wants. I meet him at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, and a member of his retinue asks if he’d like a double espresso. “It’s the afternoon!” he exclaims, “Tea please. Why would I want coffee?” he asks, in a tone of some surprise. My first sentence to Sir Above: Brown’s Hotel London: the recently renovated Front Hall, and the Kipling Suite, named after the author who penned The Jungle Book here. Right: Sir Rocco’s children, Lydia, Irene and Charles, and his sister, Olga Polizzi, Deputy Chairman and Director of Design. Rocco is greeted in similar style. I comment on how Italian Brown’s Hotel Mayfair feels. “Italian? How? This place aims to be very British”, he says, while I stutteringly explain I meant that many of the staff and guests are Italian-speaking, and there’s the wherewithal to make a complimentary Bellini in the lobby. I turn the conversation into what I hope is less contentious territory than the right time of day for caffeine – family. Sir Rocco founded RF Hotels, now Rocco Forte Hotels, in 1996 with his sister Olga Polizzi. His three children Lydia, Irene and Charles work in the business. He believes family gives a unique atmosphere and “sense of belonging” that rival five stars simply don’t have. I ask if he’d have supported his children in different dreams, say becoming a comedian? A stare, a pause, and the answer: “ I didn’t force them, they wanted to come in. Being a comedian isn’t exactly remunerative, so no, I’m not very keen on that idea”. Hospitality has never been known for as a nine-to-five environment, and Sir Rocco believes it’s no easier today. “I never resented it. I had my lie-ins, and was perfectly capable of staying up till 4am and being back at work at 9”. Asked about a work life balance, he calls it, “a bit of a nonsense. If you believe in something you think about it all the

PROFILE “You name the department, I worked there. I don’t care if someone is from a Swiss hotel school, if you haven’t come through the industry you can’t run a hotel” time. If you’re in charge you can’t suddenly switch off. If you don’t like it you shouldn’t be doing it”. It’s no surprise to discover that Sir Rocco likes being active. An Oxford Blue in fencing, and veteran of many a marathon and Iron Man – his last when he was 60 – Sir Rocco talks about a holiday to the Maldives that he only agreed to on the condition he could play golf there. His wife discovered Velaa Private Island, and Sir Rocco describes a packed schedule of an hour’s golf lesson, two hours practice, a 2km swim in the sea, bit of snorkelling, and the gym for an hour. “I managed to get through the day before dinner”, he smiles. What has changed in those decades since Sir Rocco first started work? “There are a hell of a lot more women in senior roles. Now it’s all about wellness, with gyms and spas – even vegetarian menus are relatively new. Technology has given us ›› W I NTER 19 ★ 37