Service Heroes: 5 minutes with Andrew Coney, General Manager at The Hari January 2020

Author: Stella Chrysaki/January 29, 2020

This month, we are continuing to highlight excellent service around London, and where better to start than with one of our hotel partners who shares our service ethos? The Hari is a five-star boutique hotel in Belgravia, where our Members can book a working lunch at preferential rates and where some of our staff recently went to compare notes on service during a training day. At The Argyll Club, we’re committed to delivering and celebrating excellent service – here, we catch up with Andrew Coney, The Hari’s General Manager, on his views on life at the hotel, what makes great service, and his outlook for 2020.

What’s your role at The Hari?

I’m General Manager and ‘Chief Mischief Maker’ at The Hari.

How did your career in hospitality begin and what led you to The Hari?

Having originally had my dreams of becoming an actor quashed by my far more realistic parents, I got summer work at a small hotel in Cornwall and caught the bug of entertaining through hospitality. The Hari epitomises my dream job: here, we create a different experience for every guest because we take the time to tailor our approach and make their stay exactly what they didn’t know they needed.

What is your service resolution for 2020?

If you had told me a year ago that we would not be using any plastic straws and there would not be any plastic toiletries or bottles in the minibar, I’d have been shocked. The whole hospitality industry is addressing its impact and my service resolution for 2020 is to launch a trailblazing idea (of which I have a few) and hope that all hotels follow suit.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about service in your career?

Don’t take yourself too seriously; it’s ok to have a bit of fun whilst also being professional and often, this makes guests feel more at home. Just make sure the guest is in on the joke!

What’s your best ‘service story’?

Upon check-in, the reception team discovered that the children of a family travelling from France were huge Harry Potter fans. The Guest Relations team quickly set to work creating a story which involved The Hari becoming ‘The House of Hari at The School of Magic’.

A wand was left on the children’s bed with an induction letter and some basic spells for the ‘new wizards’ to learn. The Front Office team took the time to learn the spells and acted upon them, jumping, freezing or acting like an animal whenever conjured in their direction. The family had a truly magical time and have been regular guests ever since.