I get really excited when new property partners walk into the SilverDoor offices. It’s like the start of a new relationship: the butterflies, the nervous laughter and the underlying hope that this one will flourish into something long lasting.It’s even more exciting when these new operators offer something unique that adds to our portfolio. I’m gushing, I know, but hey, it’s still early on so I’m allowed to do that. So here is my version of a first date with Bob Edwards and Luigina Fielker from Classical Britain.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and Classical Britain?
Bob: I’m Bob Edwards and I own Classical Britain. I’m a former banker; when I retired from banking I decided to buy some properties as an investment. I then decided it would be a good idea to create a high end business around them in order to generate revenue. During my years as a banker, I used to travel to emerging markets in South America, Africa and Eastern Europe so I am familiar with business travellers’ needs and what I would look for when relocating abroad.Luigina: I’m Luigina Fielker and I’ve been working with Bob since July; my background is in the market research industry as well as hospitality. I’ve lived in Eton, which is where our properties are based, for the past 23 years so I have a good understanding of the area as well as a large network base for prospective clients.
How has it been getting into the serviced apartment industry? What have you enjoyed so far?
Bob: It’s nice to see the reaction of people who come through our doors because they are very pleasantly surprised by what we offer and that’s always satisfying. It was fun furnishing the apartments and seeing them grow from a shell into finished units and we’re just waiting for some nice weather so guests can enjoy the views of the River Thames and Windsor Castle from the terraces. They are also very close to Eton College and we have looked after some of the boys’ parents when they visit. They have told us that they wish we had been here for years given that some of the boys are getting ready to move on to universities.
As I understand, they’re all town houses. How many are there in total?
Bob: We have four in a row next to each other; they’re part of a redeveloped landmark building at the top of Eton High Street next to the river and the building is now complete. All our townhouses are fitted with beautiful kitchens, lovely living areas, flat screen TVs everywhere, Playstation 3s, along with extra perks like a central music system…
Luigina: We have iPads built into the walls, iPod docking stations, speakers fitted into the ceilings and you can operate the music system from the bedrooms. [Alice: They’re amazing, very high end luxury. I think it’s also important to point out that your town houses are very suitable for anyone travelling with their family, because there aren’t many that offer that kind of space for families].
Who is your target audience? What is the corporate/leisure mix that you’re aiming to achieve?
We want it to be seasonal; the ideal mix for us would be corporate for most of the year, but then leisure in the hotter months. So it would be a mixture of the two depending on the time of year.
Your properties are all based in Eton. Is that where you want to develop your business or are you thinking of developing in other areas?
We’re very happy with where we are because it’s very conveniently located. We have quick access to the M4 and M25 motorways and we’re a 3 minute walk from Windsor and Eton train station, with direct links to Waterloo, Slough and London Paddington stations. The area also offers a great range of activities and events for our clients from the Cartier International Polo in Windsor Great Park to Royal Ascot and Windsor races. Legoland is just 10 minutes away and there is also Thorpe Park as well as Chessington World of Adventures, so it’s a great area for kids.
What are you looking forward to from your new partnership with SilverDoor?
We’re looking forward to getting introduced to the corporate market and introducing them to our properties. We hope our properties will be ideal relocation properties for SilverDoor because they are luxurious, and they are well priced, given what we feel is a superior offering. The corporate clients we hope to attract are most likely to come through SilverDoor.