No, we have not finished on parties and luxury hotels in Berlin last week. The Wednesday night party at the Adlon Kempinski is traditionally one of the most difficult to get into, and, as for the last three years, it was co-hosted this year by Reto Wittwer, Chairman and CEO of Kempinski – the world’s oldest hotel group – and Chris Hartley, CEO of Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), a consortium of 23 brands, a total of 425 hotels in all. The brands do include Kempinski, but also such niche groups that the gal has a lot to learn (now GLO Hotels and Thon Hotels need to go into should-visit list).
GHA celebrated its tenth birthday that very week. It was the idea of Micros’ Stefan Piringer who said to several of his hotel clients, why not all work together? Reto Wittwer thought it was a good idea, and pulled in other hotel groups and the deal was signed, December 2003, at Pan Pacific Singapore. The first members were Kempinski, Pan Pacific, Rydges and Wyndham, but then Wyndham was bought by Blackstone and had to be replaced by Omni. Today members also include the Doyle Collection, and Lungarno Hotels. I talk to Doyle Collection CEO Pat King about how we both helicoptered in from São Paulo’s Guarulhos airport direct to the rooftop of the 23-floor Tivoli São Paulo – Mofarrej, a lovely Leading hotel.
I talk to Lungarno CEO Valeriano Antonioli about my divine stay at Hotel Lungarno, Florence, and how I could look out of room 109 at the Ponte Vecchio, a mere hundred yards to my right. This is a party where everyone wants to talk to so many people, but so large (with every one of the 23 GHA brands inviting their own people) that it becomes at least two concurrent events. There are guests who have come to eat, and stand patiently in line for whatever delicious fare the Adlon Kempinski is producing, and there are guests who have come to talk and network.
It is actually quite difficult to talk when loud music from a retro group is blaring through the ballroom. Whatever GHA does it does well, and arranging entertainment for its annual party is no exception. The most amazing thing, and full credit to the luxury hotel having to clean up afterwards, by pre-dawn on the morrow there was no sign that the party had ever been. As for Cinderella, the ball was over – and, yes, as I came down someone was scooping up the tenth anniversary sign pictured above.