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FEATURE


the Emirates Air Line and Crossrail coming in the not too distant future, so it’s not a bad place to be.”


One of Thomson’s main goals has been to learn from Sunborn’s previous incarnation in London. Thomson heads up ISS’s hotel arm, which sees them operating in 178 UK hotels from Dorset to Aberdeen and, such is the want of many a green-eyed FM, being involved in the project from the outset was of critical importance.


“The first Sunborn yacht we operated here wasn’t originally designed for the London market,” she says. “There were lots of little things like fire exits and plug sockets that needed changing. It was the same designers (Finnish co, Lasse Heikkinen Architects) who drew up the yacht as last time and sitting down with them was essential. We had several planning meetings and they really took on board our ideas and how we wanted to use the space.


We’re the ones who have to operate and manage it and it would have been unthinkable if we weren’t involved.”


Having spent two years docked in the Naantali resort as an extension of the spa hotel already established there, ISS have spent the last three months getting each of the yacht’s five floors ship-shape for London. The restaurant has been opened up by glass walls to allow for views of Canary Wharf, while each room is being provided with a tablet to improve the guest experience. Sunborn London is just one of a handful of London hotels moving internal communications away from the helpdesk, using Crave Hospitality’s in-room technology and cloud platform. The tablets bring traditional hotel features such as room service and table bookings into a digital format, but will also offer options like downloadable movies and affiliate commissions


for purchases like theatre tickets and car hire.


It’s all part of what Bolton refers to as a complete hotel management solution. “First and foremost, it’s a hotel and we have to approach it and run it from that view,” he says. “But it is on a boat and that creates its own unique challenges. We don’t do anything quite like this currently, and we’re running everything, including the sales and marketing. It’s a complete hotel management solution so you could compare it to other integrated FM-type contracts, albeit not in an office block.”


Away from the 136 individual rooms and suites, the conference facilities have been designed with business- oriented events in mind and, in addition to delivering accommodation for ExCeL events, Sunborn has her own event space for post-event socialising. There are also the usual hotel amenities, such as a state-of-


IF YOU TRY SWIMMING TO US, YOU’LL NEED A DAMN BIG LADDER TO CAUSE US AN ISSUE.


14 | TOMORROW’S FM


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