MODERN MAN HOOKED ON CLASSICS ; Contemporary Styling of Hotels Has Had Its Day. Not So, Says the International Hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray. Great Design Can Be of the Moment - Traditional Can Feel like Now. It's a Standard He Has Strived to Achieve at His Latest Project, Dukes in London's Mayfair. Interview by Ian McCurrach

By McCurrach, Ian | The Independent on Sunday (London, England), May 27, 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

MODERN MAN HOOKED ON CLASSICS ; Contemporary Styling of Hotels Has Had Its Day. Not So, Says the International Hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray. Great Design Can Be of the Moment - Traditional Can Feel like Now. It's a Standard He Has Strived to Achieve at His Latest Project, Dukes in London's Mayfair. Interview by Ian McCurrach


McCurrach, Ian, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)


For me, being a hotelier has never been about setting up a big company that I can roll out across the world, then sell off and make a fortune. I get asked on a weekly basis to open hotels in cities such as Paris, Rome and New York. It's very flattering, but I'm not that ambitious or competitive. I like to create individual hotels in an authentic, original way; I like them to have a soul. I concentrate on the product rather than the profits. If you get the product right, the profits come along anyway.

My company, CampbellGray Hotels, recently took over Dukes Hotel in St James's Place, London. That was a real departure for us, as it was ready made, so to speak. Mary Fox Linton - with whom I do the designs - worked with me on completely renovating the place: the results are terrific. The hotel was formally relaunched this month.

The hotel was traditional and quite successful so we immediately saw that it had great potential. I like tradition and I think the idea of a classically English hotel is great. But you don't want the Englishness to be like a maiden aunt with thick ankles. You want it to be a bit sexier. We've been very respectful of what had been done by David Naylor-Leyland, who previously owned the hotel. We didn't rush in and do things in a hurry. We've completely upgraded it without losing its essential Englishness.

I dislike most contemporary hotels because they have thin design; they look as similar as the matching bedspreads and curtains do in tawdry traditional hotels. People are saying modern is out and traditional is back. No. Good contemporary style with an interesting design is totally in; bad high street uninteresting design we are bored with already. Great design that is of the moment is spectacular and stimulating. I'm worried that there's a backlash against modern; I want traditional to feel like now and not old- fashioned.

The public areas at Dukes, along with the 90 luxury rooms and suites, have been freshly upgraded and there is now state-of-the- art technology throughout the hotel. The fabulous Dukes Bar, famous for its martinis, now feels even richer with blue velvet chairs and portrait paintings from the Dukes' collection. The new dining room will offer a classic British menu with the freshest seasonal food. And the concierge has been set up by Ian Steiger, who was previously at The Connaught.

I am also working on various other properties, including two hotels in Morocco. Both are 20 minutes' drive from Marrakech, towards the Atlas Mountains. The first to open, in 2009, will be a hotel with 150 rooms and suites, some of which will have private pools. The hotel's modern Moroccan design will include a series of linked courtyards with attractive gardens creating calm, contemplative spaces filled with filtered light. A second hotel, with approximately 50 rooms, will open on an adjoining site probably a few months later.

We have also just taken over the running of the Goodwood Park Hotel in West Sussex, in collaboration with the Earl of March. The idea is to create an eco-based hotel on the 12,000-acre Goodwood estate. The existing hotel will undergo an interim refurbishment while it continues to operate normally. And in Scotland we have exciting plans to open a luxury hotel and spa in Rowallan Castle, which dates back to the 19th century. It's set on the Rowallan estate in Ayrshire, and it will have 65 rooms and suites with stunning views over the River Clyde. It's due to open in 2009.

My other great project is in Beirut in Lebanon. I was excited to be asked to consider opening a property in the city: I'd visited before and thought it was a spectacular, fun, edgy and utterly sexy place with the added advantage of being both coastal and urban.

I am dazzled by the Lebanese. Every man, woman and child is gorgeous - and they know it. I love their joie de vivre. Beirut oozes glitz and glamour.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

MODERN MAN HOOKED ON CLASSICS ; Contemporary Styling of Hotels Has Had Its Day. Not So, Says the International Hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray. Great Design Can Be of the Moment - Traditional Can Feel like Now. It's a Standard He Has Strived to Achieve at His Latest Project, Dukes in London's Mayfair. Interview by Ian McCurrach
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?