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the-art gym, private and communal viewing terraces, and a 50-seat auditorium. In the words of Bolton, they’ve gone “hi-tech, hi-spec”.

With competitors like Crowne Plaza and Novotel already in-situ nearby, convincing guests to part with their money for a room will be down to the service on offer, particularly with the luxury tag Sunborn attaches to itself. The four-star deluxe yacht needs a service to match, and it is the staff training taking place between now and its grand opening in May that will decide whether that comes to fruition.

ISS have worked with the East London Business Alliance (ELBA) to source over half of the 42 staff who will be onboard once the hotel opens to the public. While the project has drawn a lot of interest from within ISS, the management team have made the conscious decision to recruit for attitude over experience, due to the uniqueness of Sunborn.

Alongside the management, the 22 ELBA recruits are about to embark on a three-week training course and will all receive the London Living Wage as part of the initiative which has seen ISS guaranteeing the Living Wage since 2012 – one of the first major London hotels to do so.

“The majority of the new operatives have never worked in a hotel before,” comments Thomson, “which gives us a blank slate to build our service on. The advantage is that they haven’t already formed an opinion on how a bottle of wine should be served or how to greet a guest, so we can instil that into them from the beginning – the important ‘human touch’. We’ve got the experience in key management roles and now we need to blend it with people who have the right attitude to run a hotel.”

In terms of M&E and security, the team are playing down the difficulties you might expect of a new venture –

barnacles aside, the logistics aren’t out of the ordinary. “At the end of the day, it’s a vessel that will never go to sea,” says Project Director, Michael O’Brien. “All of the services we need and receive on board, whether it be water, electricity or data, will be delivered from dry land, so there’s no real difference to the bricks and mortar of the job.

“The uniqueness of the building, if you can call it that, is actually an advantage. We’ve only got one entrance and exit (discounting emergencies) so it’s much easier to control. If you try swimming to us, you’ll need a damn big ladder to cause us an issue.”

With the Facilities Show coming up in June, one of the star attractions may well not be inside the exhibition centre. And we’re looking forward to putting it to the test.


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