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Hotel offers 'reader-in-residence'

Travel & Tourism

Guests at the new Andaz Liverpool Street hotel in London will soon have the opportunity to enjoy not just a homelike atmosphere complete with a “living room” instead of a traditional lobby. Next month, during the world-famous London Book Fair, guests will also be able to partake of the services of the hotel’s first-ever “reader-in-residence,” who will be available to read aloud to them in their rooms. The Andaz Liverpool Street, which opened last November on the site of the former Great Eastern Hotel, is the first in a new series operated by Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, and it operates under the brand hallmark of “personal style.” There is no front desk for check-in, and traditional “extras” such as breakfast, local calls, laundry and movies are all included in the eco-conscious hotel’s considerable—but transparent—prices. Now, between April 14 and 28, Times journalist Damian Barr will be on hand at the hotel to help guests with their literary needs, also at no extra charge. In the mornings, guests will be able to consult Barr for a dose of bibliotherapy in which he’ll diagnose their literary needs and prescribe appropriate texts—whether it’s “a sumptuous Georgette Heyer, a classy giggle with Nancy Mitford or some glamorous gangsters with Jake Arnott,” he explains. Hotel guests will also be able to book him for a private literary lunch or dinner in one of the hotel’s five restaurants and bars, as well as requesting Barr’s in-room read-aloud services from a specially devised Book Menu. To round the residency off, Barr will host a read-in on April 27 in the spirit of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s renowned sleep-in at the Amsterdam Hilton. Guests, friends of the hotel and anyone needing a place to read are invited to the event, which will take place at Mildred, the cosy side of the hotel’s “George” pub. The reader-in-residence program is a marketing tool for the newly opened Andaz, spokesman Simon Warrington says, and one of a series of such events that are designed to promote the hotel’s focus on personality. Other like events in the future will include an on-site performance by the Real Hamlet Company, he said. “We needed to move on to the next level in art and culture,” using the hotel itself as a “living stage, rather than something dead that needs to be filled,” Warrington explains. “If we can show as a brand that we’re personable, it makes sense for us to do quirky projects like this. It’s all about Barr’s personality—the hotel becomes his space, and it’s not something we can control. This could go either way.” The same could be said for most experience offerings, of course, but that freshness and immediacy is also a big part of what makes them so desirable to consumers. Those in hospitality, restaurants and retail: this is the Experience Economy at work, and it’s here to stay! Spotted by: HotelChatter via RK



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