Interview with Nadler Hotels: Luxury with that authentic community feel

In Travel Inspiration by Ariz Baig


Robert Nadler – CEO of Nadler Hotels

Tell us a bit about Nadler Hotels

Nadler Hotels is actually 10 years old, although the ‘Hotels’ part came about when we opened our third hotel in Soho. We did a brand change. It used to be called Base2Stay. We started out with our first hotel in Kensington in 2006 with a change of concept based around sustainability. So instead of having our own bar, restaurants and gym, we work with the local community to provide those facilities. It isn’t about a bared down, limited service which tends to be a budget product. This is a boutique hotel in terms of the luxury of the rooms and the high standard of service that we offer to our guests, and adding in elements that really make a difference to the guests. Things like in 2006 we were offering free Wi-Fi. We have free phone calls. And each room, more than anything else, and the big differentiator, has a mini-kitchen. And it is a mini-kitchen. It’s not a substitute or a kitchen hove. It’s a microwave with no grill. There isn’t a hob. You have a proper tap with a water filter so you do not need to go and fill up your espresso machine which we provide as well. The bathroom; you can fill it up with filtered water so you do not need water bottles.

So is it an apartment as opposed to a hotel room?

It’s not an apartment. These are single rooms. And it’s everything from a small double room to a deluxe suite. And the concept is based around ‘no added extras on the bill’. We don’t want our guests to have to pay whether it’s Wi-Fi, whether it’s phone calls, whether it’s music on the television, whether it’s internet on the television, or whether it’s when you have a bigger family room with the extra sleepers, you don’t pay any extra. One of my mantras is that the price you pay when you check out is the price you thought you would pay when you checked in. Which is not what you normally get in the boutique hotel environment. And the sustainability is also very much social sustainability; working with the local community.

How receptive have the local community been to you?

Fantastic. The welcome has been huge. In Kensington we have maybe 20 restaurants where we get discounts. It’s not about giving a tip to the concierge. What we do is empower every member of the front desk team. So in a sense we have democratised the concierge process. So every member of the team acts as the point of contact and the interface for the guest. We call them our local ambassadors. It’s not just a title. You have to pass an exam. Nobody will get appointed unless they have worked in the area for at least six months. They get a salary increase as well. And we give them money to go out and test the restaurants. It’s very important that we get that feedback so we can hear from the guests that the places we are suggesting to them are actually good. And we encourage them to use them. And they give our guests discounts. So it becomes very valuable because what we bill ourselves as is ‘affordable luxury’. The affordability isn’t just the price we charge. But also about all the added extras that don’t cost you anything like the discounts in restaurants. In Liverpool it’s been the same. Fantastic welcome. Soho, less about discounts, more about access. People are not concerned about ‘can I get 10 or 20% off’, it’s more ‘can I get a table?’ It’s very much about offering guests an experience, a very local experience. People talk about local, but it’s very much about local products sold in our hotel, stay in our hotel, spend your money in our hotel. We don’t want you to do that. We want you to spend no money in our hotel apart from your room and to go out and spend your money in the community, enjoy the community, discover the community. That’s why you want to stay in that particular area.

Where can I find Nadler hotels?

You can find our hotels in Kensington, Soho, Victoria next to Buckingham palace and in Liverpool. We are in the process of buying site number 5 in Central London. A really fabulous location. They are all locations where you have dozens and dozens of restaurants around you; Cafes, interesting attractions. So it’s very much about that local experience. Our view is that we do not want to charge our guests. We want them to spend all of that extra money outside. Hoteliers generally love the word ‘monetise’. How can I monetise Netflix? How can I monetise phone calls? How can I add extra to the bill? Me, my favourite word is ‘free’. How can I give something to the guests for free? It’s a very different ethos. But it’s also incredibly high service levels. We empower our people so they enjoy what they are doing. If they are enjoying it, then the guest is going to be enjoying it. It’s about friendliness without familiarity. We are still in the hospitality industry; we are still cross-generational; we aren’t just for the millennials or the baby boomers. We are very much an inclusive brand rather than an exclusive brand. And the décor reflects that. It’s all about harmony. Contemporary luxury and harmony. That’s a nutshell!