A Ho­tel For The Rich & Fa­mous

BBC2, Thurs­days, 8pm

Heat (UK) - - Front Page -

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.

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