Partnership Profile: Sue Finlay – Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge

Sue is the General Manager for The Park Tower Hotel Knightsbridge: A Luxury Collection Hotel, one of Marriott Bonvoy’s 31 brands. As one of two hoteliers representing the area on the Knightsbridge Partnership BID board, she is well aware of the importance the hotel industry holds in the district.

“Our clientele are mainly here for leisure, and mainly international, with guests from the Middle East, the US and Europe, alongside UK residents. We have 271 bedrooms and a great brasserie/bar, the Hyde Bar, which has an extensive menu and an outside terrace; alongside the Knightsbridge Lounge where we serve our afternoon tea. Currently we are running a themed chocolate afternoon tea, which is proving very popular.

And why Knightsbridge?

“It’s about location, location, location. Knightsbridge is THE location! We are between Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace and the area offers an oasis of calm as you are right in the centre of London away from the hustle and bustle.

“London is referred to as a series of little villages and I think Knightsbridge is typical of that right in the heart of London that retains that feel with all its local artisans. Pubs and independent retailers give it a small, local atmosphere in the heart of the city. My favourite area in Knightsbridge is along Motcombe Street which has a series of shops, restaurants, hairdressers etc.

“There is also lots of green space as you are right next to the beautiful Hyde Park. You also have top retailers. Knightsbridge is known for Harrods, Harvey Nichols, with new entries such as Apple. You also have a real juxtaposition against small and local retailers that you find down the little lanes and roads of Knightsbridge that are like hidden secrets. It gives a really good balance of those larger stores and the smaller, more independent retailers. And then there’s great restaurants, bars, with great transport links.

The positives of the sector are also contrasted against the sector’s challenges over the course of the last few years with Brexit, followed by Covid-19, which has hit hospitality hard.

“It is not a secret, across the hospitality industry, recruitment, is one of the number-one challenges that we have, which has probably been exacerbated by the combined dynamics and effects of Covid and Brexit.”

That hasn’t stopped her optimism to promote the benefits of the sector, having spent over 30 years in the hotel industry:

“I feel that we need to promote the hospitality industry as a varied and rewarding career with lots of opportunities to work in different types of hospitality. If you work hard, if you are committed, if you are passionate about the industry about enjoying looking after people, whether it’s your employees or your guests, then I think it’s an amazing career to be in.”

As a board member on the Knightsbridge BID, she is aware of the Partnership’s key areas of development: “I know that one of the BID’s key focus is to create more awareness of the destination of Knightsbridge and all of the different offerings that are in Knightsbridge.

“The other benefit of the BID is about the landscaping – the street furniture, widening the pavements, addressing waste in the area to ensure our streets are kept clean and tidy and having dedicated street wardens for extra security which is important for both visitors and residents,

“It’s a really exciting partnership and I’m really delighted that it’s been launched to further enhance Knightsbridge ”