I grew up in Macedonia and have worked at Rydges Kensington for 16 years – before that, I was at Selfridges in London.
I think Rydges Kensington is a great place to stay because of its superb location and excellent service. It’s an ideal base for exploring.
For a first-time visitor to London, I’d say that there were a number of ‘must see’ sights, including: Kensington Palace, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.
You could easily walk to any of them from the hotel – just ask us for directions!
I LOVE COVENT GARDEN MARKET
I grew up in Murrurundi, New South Wales in Australia. It’s a small country town, which I left to work in Melborne.
That’s where I started in the hotel business as a trainee receptionist at the Parkview Hotel.
I’ve been at Rydges Kensington London for about two years. I love Green Park – it’s just a stroll from the hotel.
If I was advising someone coming to London for the first time, I’d tell them to get walking. You’ll be amazed at the special places you can find and it can be really fun to get lost!
It’s great getting lost in London
I started working for Rydges back in 1993, first as a banquet waitress in Sydney, Australia, where I grew up.
I’ve now been in London three years and am completely at home in the UK, much to the horror of my family back in Australia!
In the 18 years with Rydges, I’ve played a huge variety of roles, including banquet waitress, food and beverage attendant, front office receptionist, fine dining waitress, child care assistant, sales and marketing cadet, sales manager, national sales manager, director of sales and general manager!
Understanding the jobs that need to be done is great preparation for being a General Manager.
It’s been amazing seeing the hotel being transformed during its refurbishment.
I’d recommend that someone visiting London bring flat shoes and an umbrella! (if you forget the umbrella, don’t worry, we’ll lend you one).
Also that you take time to get off the beaten track and see parts of London that aren’t on the typical tourist trails. Richmond’s beautiful, or take a canal trip near Warren Street or Maida Vale.
SEEING THE RE-DESIGNED HOTEL TAKE SHAPE HAS BEEN AMAZING
I grew up in Tobermory, on the beautiful Isle of Mull in Argyll, Scotland.
My first job in the hotel industry was as a maintenance electrician at one of the big airport hotels.
I’ve been here two years now, and my favourite place in the hotel is the Polo Bar.
The advice I’d give to any first-time visitor to London would be to take advantage of the tube and see as many of the historic sights as you can. You could easily spend two weeks in this city and not see everything, so give yourself time to explore and take one day at a time.
In London, take one day at a time
My first job in the hotel business was as a porter in a huge, 467-room hotel in Auckland New Zealand, the city that I grew up in.
Although I’ve worked for Rydges Kensington for two years, I’ve only just got back after taking a year-long break for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
My favourite place in London is the Twickenham stadium when the All Blacks are playing England!
If you’re visiting London for the first time, I’d say avoid the tube, especially in rush hour and take a bus or walk instead – you see so much more.
Take a stroll down the South Bank and you can walk all the way from The Houses of Parliament to the Millennium Bridge where you can cross from Tate Modern to St Pauls Cathedral.
In the hotel, my top spot is the concierge desk
Although I’ve been at Rydges Kensington for less than a year, I’ve previously worked for the company in my native Australia. I spent three years at Rydges Campertown in New South Wales and 8 months at Rydges Parrametta.
I started in with Rydges as a finance cadet – a graduate trainee.
If I was chatting to a first-time visitor to London, I’d recommend that they invested in an Oyster card and check online for special deals and attractions. It’s amazing how much of London you can see for free - it’s great strolling along the Embankment looking at Big Ben and The London Eye, for example.
One of my favourites has to be a beer garden on a summer’s day. I also love Tower 42, a Champagne bar in Liverpool Street from where you can see a 360° panorama of London.
My favourite part of the Hotel? The Jam Cupboard!
I’ve cooked all over Europe in the course of my career, including at Chelsea Football Club and The Oval cricket ground here in London.
My favourite place in Rydges Kensington is the private dining area because it’s away from all the hustle and bustle.
I grew up in Dartford, Kent, and if you’re visiting London for the first time, I’d recommend that you visit the East End as its food and culture are so diverse.
My favourite place is the private dining area
London is magic - be prepared to want to come back here over and over again.
For first-time visitors, I’d recommend Hampton Court and Kew Gardens because they’re often not too busy but are simply stunning. Also, take time out to visit the markets at Brick Lane or Spitalfields.
I’m quite new to Rydges Kensington, although I’ve worked in London for a while. I love the Jam Cupboard Restaurant, especially the design with all the wall clocks.
My own favourite part of London is Chelsea, and I once saw Beyonce out shopping in Selfridges! It’s a fabulous city and a long way from beautiful Sicily, where I grew up.