Lodging In Luxury With Christopher Cowdray

February 22, 2015 at 2:46 pm
filed under Economics, Interesting People

If you’ve spent much time in hotels, then you know that they run the spectrum in terms of lodging experiences. And if you’ve been fortunate enough to stay in an “upper end” establishment and have had a very pleasant experience, you might just owe it all to Christopher Cowdray.

An native African, Cowdray got his start in the upper echelons of hotel management by receiving degrees in hotel management from universities on two continents, including New York City’s prestigious Columbia University’s business school. After graduation, he parlayed his educational training into thirty years of working at hotel managerial positions on four continents, including the Middle East and the United Kingdom. While working in the United Kingdom, Cowdray became managing director of Claridge’s, one of London’s premier hotels. In 2004, Cowdray became general manager of the Dorchester Hotel, a five star luxury hotel with a rich history that includes celebrities and members of the Royal Family among its many famous guests. In 2007, Cowdray accepted the position of chief executive officer of the Dorchester Collection.

The Dorchester Collection is comprised of 10 5-star luxury hotels located around the world. The Collection is owned by a Middle Eastern conglomerate. The Beverley Hills Hotel and the Bel-Air Hotel in Los Angeles, Coworth Park in the suburbs of London, and Principe di Savoia in Milan, Italy are among its tony establishments.

Upon taking over as the Dorchester Collection’s CEO, Cowdray instituted the company’s Visions and Values program, designed to empower employees and make them take more pride in their work place, thus also enhancing the experiences of customers. A key part of the program is to insure that guests are treated in a friendly, relaxed, but courteous manner. In addition to creating workplace programs for employees, Cowdray indicated that his intention upon accepting the position was to make the Dorchester Collection the world’s premier hotel management group.

The global recession of the early twenty-first century had an effect on the luxury hotel business and the Dorchester Collection was not immune to this. Under Cowdray’s stewardship however, the Collection weathered the storm, and its recent growth is reported to be good. Cowdray is currently hoping to add more hotels to the Collection, but has stated that he has had difficulty finding establishments that meet his criteria. In addition to expanding the Dorchester Collection’s presence in the U.S. to beyond California, Cowdray would like to operate hotels in major Asian cities.

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