Kavan Wood (above left) is concierge ‘plus plus’ to the guests for the Treehouses at Chewton Glen, more on what ‘plus plus’ means shortly. Kavan started at Chewton and in this role in August 2017 having previously worked in other establishments, across every department of the hotel trade; Kavan’s background started as a KP (kitchen porter), before subsequently spending a year and half as a chef, then working in housekeeping, followed by restaurant front of house work, then bar work, time as a porter, then working receptions, then reception management and finally duty management. Indeed, Kavan has the benefit of an operational overview and the know-how to deliver for customers with maximum efficiency and effectiveness for his employer.
So upon arriving last summer, Kavan could see and respect the enormous difference between delivering service to guests at the three, four and now five red star hotel level “Chewton Glen have the best of resources for their staff; to care for- and nurture them to deliver the best customer experiences” and Kavan feels passionately in tune with the array of values of Chewton Glen. The grounding he has had serves him well in understanding the stature of his position and delivering the gamut of responsibilities that are associated with his role.
The Treehouses (click on the image above to go to Chewton website ‘Treehouse Stay’ page that will display this image with drill downs to details on each type of offering) were built in 2012 and have proven a remarkably popular addition to Chewton Glen. The final part of the jigsaw thus far – The Yews’ – was completed late last year. Overall with supply and demand, demand far outstrips supply and due to this customers are advised to book at the soonest opportunity. The structural terminology for the Treehouses is ‘pods’ – There are seven pods in total, six of which offer two large sellable accommodation units, the seventh and latest, is currently generally sold as one offering.
The way the pods are structured and designed results in different types of accommodation and associated per night pricing – in increasing size and value – There are two pods which create four studio suites, three pods which produce six ‘loft suites’ then there is a pod dedicated to two ‘hideaway’ suites and the one ‘The Yews’ pod offered as a single set of suites.
The loft suites have a living area with a master bedroom and literally upstairs (in the loft) of the Suites is a bedroom, this bedroom contains two single beds, bean bags, board games, play station, DVDs and TV. The set up works perfectly as a kind of a little den for the children of the family. This can be adapted so that the accommodation may suit other arrangements such as one additional adult or older teenager staying upstairs.
The fixtures and fittings have seen significant investment and they speak for the detail shown in the highest finish in quality – see loft suite example image above – from the sound system to the coffee machine, from the iPad guest management system to the beautiful hot tubs. This indeed reflects well on the stand out quality of the whole of Chewton Glen.
The Studio has the same footprint size as the loft suite except there’s no upstairs loft, there’s also no partition between bedroom and lounge area, which creates an open plan feel.
The Hideaway Suites are top end, which although they are mainly used for couples, there are pull out usable beds for children and in that regard they have experienced a mixture of occupancies. The lounge and bedroom are separated by a glass walkway of about a dozen yards, the lounge enjoys a main balcony with a smaller balcony off the bedroom, and every balcony has a hot tub. The facilities are otherwise similarly lavish and top end. The image below is of a Hideaway Suite.
The main difference between the Yew Trees and the rest is operational – sure in terms of sheer size, the suites represent a completely different category of offering; there are two master bedrooms, two loft bedrooms, separate lounge, open lounge, dual balcony, shower rooms and private kitchen. The image below is of the dual suites that make up The Yews’ Treehouse offering.
The operational differences come via the previously referred to concierge ‘plus plus’ offering. For example, a family may want their own bowl food meal served in The Yews’ for dinner, a private chef (provided by Chewton Glen) will come and prepare food in the private kitchen of The Yews’. In this event, Kavan would effectively provide a butler cum maître d’ service, presenting the food and assisting the family with all aspects of dining service. In a similar way, Kavan might be requested to set up a full continental breakfast in the main lounge area for the morning.
Kavan’s office is right outside The Yews’ (which is a smart looking facility in itself), so he is literally two minutes away from any Treehouse when the guest dials 0. So on top of the usual elements you might expect of a concierge such as local knowledge, external reservations and hotel services bookings, Kavan will handle pretty much everything from check-in to check-out (including those very two things from his office) and all things in between. In addition with being always nearby and visible, Kavan naturally becomes the friendly (and extremely able) face of Chewton Glen for the duration of your stay.
This extraordinary level of service is part of the concept of this premium accommodation, whereby a guest might want to disappear in a home from home atmosphere and where the operational structure is such that “the private concierge” can see to their needs without them having to leave The Yews’ for a number of days. They are seen as the ultimate private getaway or hideaway and customers like it that way. Naturally, there remains for those that wish to indulge in the myriad of activities, facilities and dining options provided across the luxury hotel, these are all but a mere call to Kavan and a two minute chauffeured buggy ride away.
Overall, Chewton Glen (click on image to visit website at this page) is an extraordinary and dynamic five red star institution. The word ‘institution’ used here would typically conjure ‘traditional’ or even ‘old fashioned.’ In fact the opposite is true, the spirit of those at the top almost mixes evolution with revolution. The accommodation is extraordinary and the service levels match the expectation of the owners and executives to those of their guests, in addition, the staff appear sincerely happy, motivated and content. In essence, a wonderful part of the make-up of great British hotel accommodation, service and hospitality – the Chewton Glen offering is one which all seasoned travellers may covet and once visited feel rightly proud to have done so.