The key to consistent highly-rated service is a dream team, says Mario Egger, GM of The Augustine, Prague – see its wine wall, above. The 101-key hotel has, consistently for the last four months, topped customer service ratings for Marriott’s Luxury Collection brand, Europe-wide. Egger has 65 on his full-time staff, of whom 15 are supervisors or managers level. His business model revolves around his team. One woman needs to be home by 3pm a couple of days a week so her schedule was rostered accordingly (she will never leave, says Egger with a smile). The hotel’s owner kept everyone on at full salary over the last 18 months, which again inspires loyalty.
Mario Egger, who has been at the hotel six years, interviews everyone before hiring. How flexible are they likely to be? What are their interests other than work? A shortage of bellmen saw conciergerie step in, and then realise it was helpful for them, carrying bags, to get to know new arrivals. The Director of Revenue Management, talking to French guests about a shared passion for wine, invited them for a vineyard dinner.
Girlahead always enjoys this hotel, evolved from seven adjacent buildings of a mediaeval monastery that is, in fact, still partly working: one building is private, home to the few remaining Augustine monks, who are also responsible for the superb cathedral-like church – hotel guests can visit, to pray or at least gaze in awe up to the soaring heavens that are its vaulted roof. The hotel’s Presidential Suite is 150 sq metres, and there are also two Tower Suites that are especially popular with global-level CEOs. Girlahead would spend her spare time walking to Charles Bridge, under ten minutes away, and exploring the fascinating cobbled streets of Prague’s Old Town, immediately around. For dinner, Girlahead would choose a table in one of the grassy cloister courtyards, and perhaps, as a salute to Mario Egger’s Austrian heritage, a schnitzel, with a glass of Frankovka Vinarstvi Veseli nad Moravou 2019.
Also, on the tack of eating outside, Girlahead thinks of lunch with Jonathan Raggett at Red Carnation’s divine Summer Lodge, in the rural English countryside. He then rushed off for a 250-km cycle ride, for charity – hear him here, before he started pedalling: