Stuart Bowery

MUSICSTYLING MEETS - In conversation with Stuart Bowery.

Meet Stuart Bowery

The hoteliers' hotelier. As such an experienced and consummate professional it’s easy to understand why Stuart Bowery has become so hugely respected within London’s hospitality community and beyond. As Multi Property General Manager of JW Marriott Grosvenor House & W London, he’s responsible for the winning teams who consistently deliver an exceptional experience to his properties’ guests. In this edition of Musicstyling Meets, Stuart takes time out from his busy schedule to discuss nurturing talent and finding fulfilment with our Managing Director, Axel Jennewein.

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Today I'm meeting Stuart Bowery, highly respected, a highly successful leader in luxury hospitality, and it's a privilege and an honor for me to sit with such an icon and a true legend, really, of the hospitality industry and an overall great guy. Thank you, Stuart.

Thank you. I don't know what to say about legend and icon. Maybe I'm old, but thank you very much. It really is a pleasure and a privilege to have some time with you today Axel.

Fantastic. I'm just passing on other words that we heard over the last few years, really, so thank you. Let's start. So, over the last 30 years, a really distinguished career within Marriott and leading hotels, especially here in the capital. I'm just interested; what you love most about the city and about the hospitality you can find here.

What I would say is I feel immensely privileged to be associated with the industry. I've been very much a homebird, worked throughout the UK in the last 25 years, plus in London, and I've been fortunate to work in some pretty I would call iconic hotels, whether it be here at Grosvenor House and prior to Grove now. So at London County Hall overlooking Westminster and London being such rich in history, culture, activities, whether it be from the political world to sport, entertainment, sciences, everything is happening. And it's been really a fantastic hub for the world to descend upon. And with that has brought a huge amount of richness and reward in the job that I do with the people I've been fortunate to work with.

Fantastic. Thank you. You really ooze your passion about what you do day in, day out. And you mentioned the JW Governor House as one of the flagships for Marriott and an iconic building and hotel, not only in London, but in the world. So how is it to be on the helm for such an iconic property?Well, when I arrived here in 2011, I sort of gasped as I approached the hotel my first day. And when you've got London's largest luxury hotel, the first hotel on Park Lane, it opened its doors in 1929. And to be given the keys to such a grand arm was a huge amount of responsibility that I was going to embark upon. So I'm conscious of there's a huge amount of history, but there's also a commercial responsibility that we need to be relevant. So it's trying to keep the best of the past, but looking forward and protecting our heritage, our culture, and inspiring the team to really excite the guests who come to stay here.

Well, when I arrived here in 2011, I sort of gasped as I approached the hotel my first day. And when you've got London's largest luxury hotel, the first hotel on Park Lane, it opened its doors in 1929. And to be given the keys to such a grand arm was a huge amount of responsibility that I was going to embark upon. So I'm conscious of there's a huge amount of history, but there's also a commercial responsibility that we need to be relevant. So it's trying to keep the best of the past, but looking forward and protecting our heritage, our culture, and inspiring the team to really excite the guests who come to stay here.

That's amazing. And I can just say that welcoming piece is just second to none. I feel so privileged to have had the chance to stay here and I will definitely come back. But you mentioned your mission here. What do you see? Your mission, especially with the JW Gravana House, do you see it to preserve or really to evolve or both.

Certainly both. I've got to make sure that we remember where we've come from and keep that trajectory going forward with a sense of relevance. There's steeped in history and all the hotels in London and London's blessed with some many iconic, historic and highly regarded hotels. And Grosvenor House is renowned for events and grand occasions. And the great room is pretty unique, hosting up to 2,000 guests in one grand ballroom on Park Lane, and with that becomes a huge amount of responsibility. So we've got very much the domestic events and occasions, but also as a JW brand, we need to be a flagbearer for Marriott as organization. Mr. Marriott himself personally wanted Grover House when it became available. He actually gave the blessing for my appointment. And I'm conscious that as an organization that I need to make sure that we deliver the brand values associated and what’s expected of this.

And that you do. Do you see anything unique about the visitors, the guests that come to the city?I think London being a hub is really whether it be transatlantic, it's very popular with the US. The city itself is a gateway to Europe, but everything about the pompant pageantry of royalty. What I love about London is the seasonality of events. As we approach spring and the Daffodils come out, we start going into the Chelsea Flower Show starts in May. Then you roll into the Epson Derby and Royal Ascot. And then you've got Henley Regatta and the cricket season starts and Wimbledon. And then there's obviously the Formula One Grand Prix, and then you move into August. Hyde Park comes alive with all the big concerts. And this summer we have Bruce Springsteen. Last summer was the Rolling Stones. And then as you transition into the autumn, you get ready for the Winter Wonderland and the transition. So there's so much for people to indulge in from the theatre, the history, the museums, the architecture, the shopping. So what's not to like about coming to London? And then it offers a great gateway to Paris and the rest of the continent.

I think London being a hub is really whether it be transatlantic, it's very popular with the US. The city itself is a gateway to Europe, but everything about the pompant pageantry of royalty. What I love about London is the seasonality of events. As we approach spring and the Daffodils come out, we start going into the Chelsea Flower Show starts in May. Then you roll into the Epson Derby and Royal Ascot. And then you've got Henley Regatta and the cricket season starts and Wimbledon. And then there's obviously the Formula One Grand Prix, and then you move into August. Hyde Park comes alive with all the big concerts. And this summer we have Bruce Springsteen. Last summer was the Rolling Stones. And then as you transition into the autumn, you get ready for the Winter Wonderland and the transition. So there's so much for people to indulge in from the theatre, the history, the museums, the architecture, the shopping. So what's not to like about coming to London? And then it offers a great gateway to Paris and the rest of the continent.

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And being part of the city and working in iconic hotels within the city, how do you see the changes over the years, and maybe even particularly over the last three years?Well, the last three years were a significant reset for the world. And during that COVID period, we all sort of stopped. We took stock. But the recovery has been absolutely immense. Yes, there may be hurdles and challenges, but our industry has been very, very resilient. I mean, there's that passion across the hospitality industry that is as strong, if not stronger today than there was in the past. There may be setbacks with recruitment, there may be setbacks with the cost of energy and food supplies, et cetera, et cetera. But there's still that positive passion for great experiences in the food and dining scene. And going forward, I think we'll continue to evolve. And I think probably what is more apparent, I think pre COVID, as we call it, there was a clear distinction between business and pleasure. Now it all seems to sort of blend into one the digital age. People can come and do business, take time out, indulge, relax, keep a check on business and relax and evolve and it all becomes one.

Well, the last three years were a significant reset for the world. And during that COVID period, we all sort of stopped. We took stock. But the recovery has been absolutely immense. Yes, there may be hurdles and challenges, but our industry has been very, very resilient. I mean, there's that passion across the hospitality industry that is as strong, if not stronger today than there was in the past. There may be setbacks with recruitment, there may be setbacks with the cost of energy and food supplies, et cetera, et cetera. But there's still that positive passion for great experiences in the food and dining scene. And going forward, I think we'll continue to evolve. And I think probably what is more apparent, I think pre COVID, as we call it, there was a clear distinction between business and pleasure. Now it all seems to sort of blend into one the digital age. People can come and do business, take time out, indulge, relax, keep a check on business and relax and evolve and it all becomes one.

Brilliant. And you mentioned relaxing. I know it's a very demanding job, especially looking after two iconic properties, the JW Grohman House and the W Hotel here. So it's very, very stressful. What do you do to destress and really relax?

Stress itself, I would probably say. I guess time can take a little bit of toll. I'll call it positive stress. And it's not a job, it is a vocation. So it all becomes very much one in everything we do. But in terms of time taken out. I live half an hour out of town near Windsor with my wife Sarah. I've got two black Labradors and to me is walking around Windsor Great Park with my two Labradors. If I'm by myself, I might have my earphones, my iPod earphones in and talking and listening to a podcast and making calls and chatting. But to me, just the fresh air, the open spaces away from black cabs and double decker busses, the peace and tranquillity, just gives me that opportunity to bring myself back to a good self and my space.

Fantastic. Sounds idyllic. And I really feel for you because I have two labs as well. And they just make your life amazing.

Regardless of how tough a day it may be, and you come home and they give you that unconditional love, it just takes everything away.

Totally. And apart from relaxing at home, do you enjoy travel yourself?

Very much. In fact, I had an amazing trip. I got back last week. I did an 8-day stint to Africa. I did three days on safari in Botswana and then I did five days in Cape Town and Stellenbosch. So I got a bit of safari, got some sunshine in the winelands of Cape Town. Absolutely spectacular. I do a little bit of travel primarily to the Middle East to pay homage and express my appreciations to the families who stay here. So I go to the Middle East. I've got a short trip to Riyadh and Doha coming up and then downtime. I like somewhere to go, somewhere warm to chill. And holidays are usually one week in the sun, then one week with the dogs down in Devon or Cornwall, bit of English countryside.Fantastic. I do exactly the same. But when you are traveling on business and you're staying in other hotels, what kind of guest are mean?

Fantastic. I do exactly the same. But when you are traveling on business and you're staying in other hotels, what kind of guest are mean?

Being in the industry, I am the most low key. I have no requirements other than I just want to check in. As long as I got a quiet room, I'm not worried about the size of the room. I just want to have a bit of peace. Yes, I like to explore or use the facilities. If I meet having meetings or for business and for pleasure. I want to be anonymous. I don't want to be known as the hotelier coming to stay in a hotel. I just want to come in. Invariably, I try not to stay in a Marriott when I go on holiday, and I want to be that anonymous guest just to chill out, use the gym in the morning, have breakfast, whether be on a beach holiday and maybe go and explore the environs. But I'm a very low key, low maintenance guest.

I totally believe you, and I see that in you. And we mentioned already that you're looking after the W hotel as well. And we just seen the launch of the Mao gaming room, and I just wondered what your experience is with that.

The gaming room was quite inspired by the team. They said they wanted to create something unique, and the team found some collaborators. And there's a particular gentleman called Vixtar from the e-gaming world. And we managed to get support from the gaming experts. And we created this gaming suite which has proved to be very popular. And gaming is one of those things that is out there. It's got an amazing following. I wouldn't say it's sort of the traditional hoteliers vocation, but the W is all about being different and moving into that space. We got a fantastic support after this launch we did with Vixtar and Julia Harding, who's a tech expert in the gaming world. We did this launch and the actual suite, we said, we're going to pilot this for a six month period. And the actual wow suite we converted to. The gaming suite has proved very popular. You get asked questions about some technical aspects, but I feel we've got some good in the W world. We have insiders, and these insiders are basically W guest relations experts who are familiar with the equipment, know what the typical gamer likes, and they're able to get them plugged in, get them connected. And we've had some great PR. We've had some great feedback from those who've used it. They're posting it on Instagram. I got taken aback by there were other hoteliers who saw what we had done and were sort of congratulating us that we've actually carved out something niche and new that they'd love to have done themselves.Brilliant. Great idea. Absolutely. I know it from my sons. They're just on the Xboxes constantly, so it is definitely a trend out there. So well done on that. Have you played the games yourself?

Brilliant. Great idea. Absolutely. I know it from my sons. They're just on the Xboxes constantly, so it is definitely a trend out there. So well done on that. Have you played the games yourself?

No. In a nutshell, I've experienced the gaming suite. I've looked at it, but I'm not minded to whether it be Call of Duty or Mind Field or whatever it's called. Forgive me, but I think there was a generation who are pretty savvy. They get totally immersed into it. We've got a menu for these gamers who want to play through the night. We did a collaboration with Dirty and making sure that we've got some good nutritious stuff to keep these guys fixed on what they're doing. I'm sure you've probably got problems with your own children trying to get them to put the stuff down.

Absolutely the same problems here. We have to really manage their time on the Xboxes and I'm too old for that now. But if you're not a gamer, you use technology very much.

Yeah, gadgets. I've got nearly every Apple appliance you can think of. I don't know if we should be using brands or not, but whether it be I've got a house full of Sonos sound boxes, sound bars and I quite like sort of using my apps to not only just keep connected, but very much to keep control. Whether it be around personal finances, whether it be through business tools, making notes. I can make sure I'm constantly got that connectivity and anything that I can do is all aligned and connected.Fantastic. And technology in itself within the hospitality industry, where do you see its worth and the future?

Fantastic. And technology in itself within the hospitality industry, where do you see its worth and the future?

Without a doubt, technology is going to be more and more meaningful in hospitality. And I think different guests have different needs and is trying to make sure that the efficiency of technology can be your folios, your check in, your guest profiles. We're all travel, we've all got the airline programs on, they do your seat allocations. Marriott, similar to other big brands, have our own mobile platform for guest check in. So I think it's going to, without a doubt, become a lot more paperless, a lot more administration. I think depending on the territory, has different amounts of regulations that you still may need to go through reception. But without a doubt, technology is going to get far, far more advanced. The guest is going to be far more expectance of immediacy and the transparency of information. The technology in guest rooms is going to be not only is going to be efficient for building management from energy conservation, but from we talked about a gaming suite and people want to be able to use their own devices on in room televisions, in room entertainment. So without a doubt it's going to have its face. But people still want to talk to somebody, they still want to be able to ask questions and they don't want to be referred to an app or to go to refer to this. They actually want the answers. And I think there'll always be a place for both and it's making sure that we don't lose the art of hospitality in just a pure robotic world of technology.

Here, here. I totally agree. The same with us. The personal touch should never get lost really, in the end. So I'm totally with you on that. Now to something that I know is very, very close to your heart. Knowing you personally and seeing you as an inspirational leader for your teams, I know that you look after your teams to really nurture them and make sure their development goes in the right direction. You guide them throughout. We know that from your peers that obviously they highly respect you. You've been voted or awarded the Hotelier of the Year in 2013, you've been made Chairman of the Master Inholders in 2011. But speaking to peers in the industry, they highly regard you as one of the iconic leaders. So for me, it's a question how do you keep engaging with your team and keep them motivated? How do you do that?

I think first and foremost, thank you for those comments. And probably some of that recognition is due to very much I've been a homebird working in the UK, so I've consolidated my career and grown with the industry and built a wonderful network of friendships in the hospitality industry. As far as the team is concerned, I think it's important that we really nurture the talent. I wouldn't say necessarily a failing if we lose good people to the competition, I encourage people to leave the nest, but I really want to make sure that people can get the best out of their day. Not everybody has to be ambitious and we've got some wonderful long serving associates here at Grosvenor House who have 30 years plus service. They enjoy what they do, they care about what they do and they're very much attached to it. As we bring people in, it's really incumbent upon me to not only create personal connections with everybody at every level, but also make sure the managers are focused on removing any level of status and make sure that they can provide leadership that is guiding the teams to deliver the service, set the strategy, build and innovate and grow the business in a way that everyone's coming together in the same direction. But I think there are some fundamental attributes and daily rituals and that is very much about the visibility and the communication of yourself. And when I drive in in the early hours of the morning, I will phone the night managers of Grosvenor House and the W, chat to them what's gone on through the night. I come in the morning before going to the gym, chat to night porters, the night manager, and part of the day, whether it be there's always time for meetings, but the guest traffic is typically around breakfast time, lunchtime and evenings. And that's the time when our managers should be visible, when the guests are transitioning around. And that's the time we need to make sure we're supporting the troops and creating those experiences for the guests.Fantastic. That's great. And invaluable insight, really, in the daily operation, what's the latest advice you've given to your team members?

Fantastic. That's great. And invaluable insight, really, in the daily operation, what's the latest advice you've given to your team members?

When people are perhaps looking for their next position or growth is perhaps, as there's an old adage, all that is gold doesn't glisten and is making sure people are not being lured away by the bright lights of another business. Make sure that anyone's next move or career move is really supporting their ultimate imperative and making sure that people are taking on their next job or responsibility is that seeing them on a path that fulfils their end aim. If they want to become a functional expert or if they want to become a general manager and make sure that it's not all about just the financial worth, it's all about making sure that they're going to get a sense of fulfilment and it's going to support their long term career aspirations.

That's brilliant. That's really good advice. And when was the last time you've been really or extremely impressed by something or someone?

I think I was very impressed recently. When you come from a city like London, even the less fortunate, comparatively are quite fortunate. And when I was in South Africa and you see the service ethic from people from such humble, perhaps impoverished positions, I was highly impressed by the level of service, the care and the attention and the service ethic of some of the places I stayed.That's great to hear. What was the best advice you've been given in your career?

That's great to hear. What was the best advice you've been given in your career?

I think similar to some of the advice I'm imparting is really make sure that you are going to take on your next job that is going to meet what you personally want. For example, some people have taken the international route and the advice I got was, if you're going to go work international, what is your plan to get home? Because some people go on the expat route and they get lost and they're off the grid, how do you get back onto the grid? And that's not necessarily worrying because I've been very blessed with a lot of international travel, but I've been very much consolidated my career here. Another little bit of advice I got was keeping things personal. And I know just before we started this interview talked about the little welcome note and I made a mistake once and I was writing notes. This is at my past hotel at County Hall. We had a regular guest and I used to write these little notes and one day I got my assistant to type a card and I sort of put handwrote his name at the top and he pulled me up and he said, don't ever do that again. What do you mean? He goes, Your personal notes mean more to me than anything.

And I agree. I was chuffed to bits last night to read your personal note on the side in the room and it makes such a big difference. So don't ever lose that. That's amazing. Within your life, really, who inspired you?

There's lots of industry icons I admire in terms of inspiration. I think sadly we lost him a couple of years back, Arnie Sorensen, and I must say, my personal encounters with Arnie were always inspirational. He kept things at a very human level. He used to ask questions, he was interested, but in a very considered manner and without a doubt, he was very much an inspirational leader.

I totally agree. I was blessed to meet him several times and he even listened to me and was engaging and, yeah, a very inspirational eye. 100%. An easier question. What was your best day in your working life and why was it so special?

There's a number of good days when you always start a new job, new hotel, it's always an exciting one. I think being recognized by peers was a memorable day. And when I was awarded Hotelier of the Year, god bless a dear hotelier friend who passed away three weeks ago, stuart Johnson from Brown's Hotel. I succeeded him and it was a very special day. Him taking care of me, my wife and walking into the room at Brown's. Amongst the finest hotel is the land. And being all that, I was made to feel very special and thinking, this is an absolutely amazing industry.

Fantastic. Congratulations and well deserved. You have been working, as we covered already in the UK, very much in Aberdeen, in Glasgow, in London. Does it not draw you to other, more sunnier places, maybe?

I've had opportunities to work broad and my career has taken me throughout the UK and I first moved to Glasgow when I was 22, did a couple of years up there and then I moved back down south and I opened our Marriott and Swansea and went back up to Aberdeen. And what I would say is I've had an opportunity both to travel and work and when I've been tempted and I've been presented an opportunity to work abroad and I've reflected and there is everything I love about the UK. And I remember one image vividly, if I may go off pieced a little bit. I was being lured away to think about a career opportunity overseas. And the day before I'd seen Elton John at a private audience at the Royal Academy of Music, a play for his background, for the theatre production of Billy Elliott. And then I was at home and I went out for a run and from my village I went through I was running through Eaton playing fields and I looked to my right, I could see these guys playing cricket at Eaton College and I'm running through Windsor and I could see Windsor Castle. And then the following week, I knew I was going to go to Barbados to go on holiday. And I'm thinking, I've got everything, why do I want to give this up? As long as I can stay relevant and work hard to reinvent myself in the job that I do? And someone once said to me, you've got to be like Madonna. Keep on reinventing yourself and making yourself relevant. The company has been extremely, extremely good to me. They've created career opportunities. When I moved to my previous property at County Hall, I was there a couple of years, and then I was presented an opportunity to be a cluster general manager for eight hotels, as well as being general manager for that. When I moved to Grosvenor House in 2011 to take on such a flagship property, the company's bestowed a huge amount of responsibility. And with that in mind, I've tried to take time out, travel, see the world, but make the most of what I think I really have been blessed with.That's amazing. And traveling around the world and seeing other Marriott Hotels. Which Marriott Hotels impressed you the most, apart from your home property?

That's amazing. And traveling around the world and seeing other Marriott Hotels. Which Marriott Hotels impressed you the most, apart from your home property?

Well, 30 different brands. There's so many different. I could be impressed by having a good night's sleep in a Moxie hotel in Glasgow. If I look at the other extreme, I think it's absolutely magnificent to see the scale of what was built as a palace. The Ritz Carlton and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The ones I actually have are greater connections with. I enjoy things like hotels in our luxury collection, so the Maria Christina in San Sebastian or the Alfonso 13 in Seville. These hotels have got history and storytelling very similar to Grosvenor House.

Absolutely, I agree. I actually like Marquez de Riscal also, which is obviously one of the oldest wine resorts, so I had a really good stay there. So I'm totally with you on that. In terms of the future of hospitality and guest experience, where do you see our industry going?

I mean, we've come a long way from what was the traditional three, four, five star hotels to the Shabby Chic, the boutique lifestyle, the classic luxury hotels. So there's a huge array, and then you've got the innovations of airbnb, and then you've got even Marriott have homes and villas, so I think there's something for everybody. It's really making sure that whether it be the hospitality or the stay away from home is going to continue to regenerate, to be relevant. I think there is a greater desire and consciousness of getting closer to protecting the environment, making sure that I don't want to be a bit cliched about sustainability, but I think there is a greater sense of authenticity around things and less waste, less damage and harm we're putting to the environment. Whether you're in a city center or resort or countryside hotel. So all that to be harmonized with digitalization and ease and efficiency and effectiveness. But guests want things immediate, and they want things to work, and we've got to keep up with the technology to make sure that things do work and people's needs are met because there's a greater sense of immediacy.

Brilliant. Yeah, totally agree. Great insight here. In terms of a good book, a good podcast, or a good film, what do you prefer?

I'm not an avid reader. I do like podcasts, and I love films. But I'll probably say, because of walking my dogs, I probably learned towards a podcast.

Brilliant. Any recommendation?

There's two I tend to follow, believe it or not. One's called crisis. What Crisis? And it's by a chap called Andy Coulson. He used to be the communications director for David Cameron and the editor of the Sunday newspaper. But he interviews leaders who have had to navigate through a crisis and you really learn the art of resilience and how people can deal with things. And I'm just fascinated by some of the experiences some of the world leaders or people from everyday life have had to cope with. So Crisis What Crisis? And another one, a dear friend of Grosvenor House, and he actually did some podcasts for House, a general called Giles Brandruth. And Giles, he does a podcast with Susie Dent called Something Rhyming with Purple. And they talk about the English language and the origins of the English language. And it's fascinating where some of the words have come from, from Shakespeare times, from the German Saxon elements to the French Norman elements, and how the Norman Conquest with the Saxons have really amalgamated. What is the modern English language?

That's amazing. That's a fantastic insight and I will check them both out 100% about the English language. I learned I just jumped on a course with Duolingo and I learned French, or refreshed my French, and I learned that 60% of the English language is actually French or stems from the French. So that was quite interesting. So that made it actually easier to learn the language in the end. What is your most treasured possession?

Putting the wife and the dogs aside, probably actually the one thing I'm wearing, it actually, is my Breitling watch. And that was gifted to me as a complete surprise by my wife on our wedding day.Fantastic. Wow. Yeah. Very easy question. Now, if you could jump on a plane, train, boat right now with no boundaries, where would you go?

Fantastic. Wow. Yeah. Very easy question. Now, if you could jump on a plane, train, boat right now with no boundaries, where would you go?

Am I allowed two?

Yeah!

Okay, two extremes. One just to chill. Beach in Barbados. It's a great lifestyle over there, great restaurants, but a place which is there's a small little village on the northwest coast of Scotland called Apple Cross, and it overlooks the northwest of Scotland and the islands. It's tranquil. It is a great sort of serene place, very difficult to get to. There's what I could only describe as an alpine road, a single track road that goes up over the mountaintops, down to the other side's. Little village, and it's just absolutely idyllic.

Fantastic. Two extremes, really, but I need to check them out. But going there, what would be your soundtrack?

If I could put a little compilation together, embracing technology and my spotify, I'd probably put a little bit of Past and Present. And as a teenager, I grew up and I loved the stranglers.

Very nice.

So a bit of Stranglers, bit of easy music from Van Morrison. I'm a big Bruce Springsteen fan, and there's one group who did an album as a one-time called The New Radicals.Oh, gosh, yeah.

Oh, gosh, yeah.

And I'd put a big combination of that together and that would keep me happy.

Wow. That's an amazing soundtrack. And actually, Bruce Springsteen was my first LP I ever bought with my own money in 1984 or something.

I'm seeing him in Hyde Park this year.

Wow. Very jealous. Last question, Stuart. Yesterday we had a meeting with Stephen Nash at the Escapade in Silverstone, one of your old teammates, and he had a question for you directly. And his question is, how do you handle two extreme different properties on the opposite ends of the luxury hospitality industry? Efficiently looking after them both.

That's great of Stephen to put me on the spot. He was a great leader within our business. Pleased to ask. Quite straightforward, really. Clearly, as you see me now, I'm very much a classic luxury guy. But when I was presented the opportunity to be multi property general manager for both JW, Grosvenor House and the W London, what? I immediately recognized that there's a brand that I really got my mind around. But there was also a level of expertise. And my fundamental role is to allow them to express themselves and activate the W brand in the way that it is merited. How I approach it is not white ties and white shirts and ties. I try to adjust to accommodate the environments of a W hotel. The informalities of it, and when I say the informalities, there was something that resonates and really makes me chuckle, was one of my concierge popped over to the W to pick me up and give me a lift back and the welcome ambassador there said, oh, you waiting for Stuart? He said, no, I'm waiting for Mr. Bowery. And that really identified the two. And we are just people and the team there are the same level of passion and approach to delivering the W narrative as we do at the Grosvenor House for the JW narrative. So in my part there's, clearly, Merritt's got 30 different brands. As we said, the W is a brand, JW is a different brand. It's making sure that we've got the best guys on the stage to deliver that guest experience that's relevant for them.

Fantastic. What a great answer. Great insight. And ultimately, Stuart, we're going to have a chat with Morton Scumsroot next, and I just wondered if you have a question for him.

Well, Morton and I worked a few years back and he was an absolutely fantastic hotel manager here at Grosvenor House. The man is a machine, works diligently, very thorough, very meticulous. Now, I'm very mindful that in his role as vice president of operations for Marriott's franchise division, how does he cope not being in control?

I think that's a very valid and fantastic question, and I make sure I will ask him that Stuart, it has been an absolute privilege and honour to meet you and have this chat. Thank you so much.Thank you, Axel. It's been absolutely a pleasure to participate and chat with you. Thank you.

Thank you, Axel. It's been absolutely a pleasure to participate and chat with you. Thank you.

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