A Hotel For The Rich & Famous
BBC2, Thursdays, 8pm
You can’t beat a good hotel-based documentary. Which is lucky, because there are two on TV at the moment. Channel 4’s A Very British Country House is a fine look at the posh Cliveden country house hotel in Buckinghamshire. But – despite its clunky title – this BBC2 effort is an even more deliciously entertaining exploration of how the super-posh Corinthia Hotel in London is run. The series directed by Jane Treays, who knows her hotel docs, having previously made Inside Claridge’s, and her skill in getting the staffers to open up and tell her their juiciest stories is evident throughout. Interviewees run the gamut from A-listers such as Will.i.am, to the youngest employee, 16-year-old Max, who describes himself as “half porter, half concierge”. He has to do stuff like pick up a vastly expensive item of clothing for a guest at Harrods, which he does with aplomb. Meanwhile, Will.i.am – who doesn’t like to be burdened by luggage, so keeps loads of his clothes in storage at the hotel – complains that his £20k-a-night suite is “too big”. Diddums. But the real star of the show is managing director Thomas Kochs, a softly spoken German previously at Claridge’s, whose management style seems to be to raise a wry eyebrow when things don’t go to plan. His response when the head chef boldly puts a pea purée in the salmon sandwiches is something to behold. Said sandwich is part of a revamp of the tea service, which was conceived during 25 meetings with 20 staffers over a three-month period. Yes, just for tea. Such is the extraordinary world of a proper luxury hotel – and this series is a wonderful peek inside it.