The 2012 Olympics from a Concierge Point of View
By Paul Still Head Concierge, London Hilton on Park Lane | December 02, 2012
On 6 July 2005 in Singapore, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the 117th IOC Session, London triumphed as the host city for the Games of the XXX Olympiad by taking 54 votes from a possible 104. This would be something that would change the face of London over the next few years and leave a lasting legacy for many years to come. Since the last Olympic Games in 1948 the size of the games had grown dramatically and it was obvious that London would be facing a few challenges.
One of those challenges would be where to accommodate the multiple dignitaries and supporters during the Games. Whilst all the athletes would be accommodated in the Olympic Village at Stratford, there were several thousand dignitaries, International Olympic Committee members, Heads of State and senior politicians from the 204 countries competing in the London 2012 Games. As part of the Olympic bidding process London had submitted a comprehensive strategy and an agreed formula for accommodation that included a variety of accommodation across quality grading levels for VIP's, Heads of State, organizers, dignitaries, media, guests and sponsors.
Working closely with the IOC and LOCOG representatives since London won the bid, the London Hilton on Park Lane was awarded the Headquarter Hotel for the International Olympic Committee. There were several hotels that would be used during the Games, but the London Hilton on Park Lane was the designated hotel for the IOC exclusively throughout the Games.
From being selected as the Headquarter Hotel there was a huge amount of preparation in order to be transformed into an Olympic Non- Competition venue and hosting the IOC, the singularly and most influential, non-political party in the world.
Over the next two or three years there were a series of top level management meetings between the Hotel, the IOC and LOCOG, along with site visits and inspections to ensure that everything would be suitably planned and prepared for 2012. It would be the first time ever that the whole hotel had been booked out exclusively to a single group for that length of time with long stay guests, up to 5 weeks including LOCOG, IOC Members including Royals, Head of States, IOC Guests, Future OCOG officials, IOC Commissions (Athletes, Medical) and OC Directors.
As part of the preparation, plans were established to transform the hotel into the administration epicentre of the Games, including plans for the "Olympic Look" of the hotel, and transforming the hotel's 14 private function rooms into a series of offices which would include the Director General and President's office, Protocol, PR and Media, International Relations, Legal Department, and Scientific departments.