Luxury Made in Spain – Ritz Madrid, an icon of luxury hospitality

As part of an ample series dedicated to LUXURY MADE IN SPAIN running February and March 2014, CPP-LUXURY.COM interviews exclusively Christian Tavelli, General Manager of RITZ MADRID Hotel

The Ritz Madrid has been undergoing a gradual renovation and refurbishment process. Tell us more.

Hotel Ritz Madrid, a 104 years old iconic hotel built by the luxury hotelier Cesar Ritz, has initiated a new chapter in it´s history with a rejuvenating process that restores it´s facilities to preserve the beauty of it´s legacy. During this past month of January, hotel Ritz Madrid has restored it´s public areas with the replacement of it´s 3,500sqf hand made lobby carpet, the reupholstery and refurbishment of it´s hall furniture, and restoration as well as new curtains for all it´s grand ballrooms. Now comes the turn to enhance the hotel´s centennial façade followed by rooms restoration. By beautifying our legendary property, hotel Ritz Madrid will maintain its leadership in the upscale luxury market.

Which is your competitive set and what is your view on the current state of Madrid’s luxury hospitality sector?

Our competitive set is outside Madrid as what we understand by competition is where will our guests go if they don´t come to Madrid?. In Madrid we work together with other luxury hotels to enhance our town´s image and make the world discover how attractive our city is for all sorts of tourism. High end sophisticated travellers fill Madrid´s upscale hotels and enjoy Madrid´s art (Prado, Thyssen and Queen Sophia museums), shopping (Serrano street and Las Rozas outlet), amazing food, football with the world famous Real Madrid, as well as all five Unesco protected monuments set within less than an hour from our hotel (Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial, Alcalá de Henares and Avila). It is not surprising that Madrid´s luxury hospitality sector is booming with many known luxurious hotel brands building or planning to take over the management of existing hotels.

You have been successfully promoting the communications concept of ‘’MADRITZ’’. What are your near future undertakings?

MADRITZ is the present and still the future. We have just started promoting the beauty of our town and everybody is just loving it. We started with MAD for Art, MAD for Romance, MAD for Tapas, MAD for Jamon, MAD for football, MAD for kids and family and MADtador, the ideal package to turn a normal man into an irresistible one. Now we are launching MAD for wine and MAD for El Grecco, since in 2014 we are remembering 400 years of having lost such and amazing artist who spend most of his life in Toledo and left a beautiful legacy now shown in Toledo and Madrid. MADRITZ offer an array of experiences to ensure guests finds more reasons to stay longer in Spain´s capital.

Do you plan any partnership with Spanish luxury brands from other luxury sectors? What is your view on such collaborations?

Hotel Ritz Madrid is partnering with several luxury brands. We do it in shopping, art and sports, offering great advantages to guests that decide to stay with us. As an example, we have recently signed an agreement with the Thyssen museum where the key of your room can turn into the key of this museum situated just across the hotel. We simply add a special keychain to our room´s key and by showing this key at the museums entrance you are granted free access, with no queues. Loewe is one of our preferred partner in shopping and Real Madrid for sports.

The Ritz Madrid has been an iconic luxury hospitality institution. Which are the pillars of your continued success and how important is Orient-Express’ expertize?

Ritz Madrid´s continued success is based on two pillars: 1- The beauty of it´s building, a legacy that Cesar Ritz has created and that we have preserved and enhanced through out the years. 2- Our team of passionate professionals that are in constant seek of perfection and genuine care, constantly creating memorable experiences that will last for ever in our guest´s mind. Orient Express has brought to Ritz a touch of luxury and international heritage bringing service to it´s highest levels and standards.

How would you define your company’s DNA from the ‘’Luxury, Made in Spain’’ perspective?

Our decoration, our food, our wines, our teams, our amenities, all are carefully selected to showcase the beauty of Spain in every interaction with our guests. As an example, our restaurant Goya, inspired by Jorge Gonzalez, chef from the Basque region, selects the best produce of every corner in the country and, following the most tradition recepies blended with trendy presentations, creates a culinary experience that our guests discover daily without leaving the premises. We are proud of our Spanish products and therefore have become great ambassadors.

How have (if in any way) your target markets changed? Is there a change in consumer behavior? (i.e. length of stay, method of booking etc.)

Ritz Madrid has preserved it´s very loyal clientele. US, Great Britain, Russia, Brazil and Mexico are our most important markets, together with the Spanish one. And the beauty is the mix as some of them are purely looking for Madrid´s art, others just for shopping, some for a romantic get away, but all select to stay with us for our commitment to providing outstanding service together with a perfect location.

You have successfully maintained a solid base of local customers. Tell us more about the importance of the customer mix.

Locals find at Hotel Ritz Madrid the ideal place to meet; it is the place to see and to be seen, the ideal location for a perfect lunch, a romantic dinner, an unforgettable Sunday brunch, a traditional afternoon tea, or the ideal and most desired venue to celebrate a special occasion. Locals also attract visitors as visitors always find that if a place is trusted by locals, then it´s good. Come to the Ritz Madrid and feel the glamour, style and sophistication locals enjoy.

Christian Tavelli is a luxury hospitality veteran, having started his career in 1996. He has had managerial positions at several prestigious Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, including Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Sand Hill and San Miguel.

Christian Tavelli, General Manager RITZ Madrid (photo GQ)