Exactly ten years ago we celebrated the hotel’s hundredth birthday and to do so we decided to produce the book “Cent’anni di Eccellenza“
(A Hundred Years of Distinction). To put it together, I immersed myself in the past and was fascinated by the search for historical material about the hotel. I rediscovered a great many stories that we feared had been lost with the passage from Baglioni to Duetorrihotels. More precisely, I met the previous owners to get hold of the hotel’s Album d’Oro e d’Onore
, crammed with names, dedications, signatures and even drawings, a sort of historical and chronological roll of the celebrities who have stayed here: stars of Hollywood, musicians, actors, politicians, industrialists and so on. I went personally to the historical archives
to trace other testimonies. These too include lots of photographs
of famous guests: now that they’re “back home”, we can admire them again. The work gave me the chance to approach a new world, that of publishing
: I kept in close constant contact with the authors and the publishers and I followed every stage in the preparation of the book, step by step. It was a long, methodical, meticulous job and we carried it out with the utmost rigour, but I found it incredibly rewarding. Now we have all these stories associated with the hotel back at our disposal, we can go on telling them. A responsibility, an honour and, I won’t hide the fact, a pleasure.
In the course of the years, of the many famous people have stayed at the hotel, who has impressed you most?
Many guests left a special memory, Lady Diana
more than any other. The princess came to Bologna in 1995
to attend a Pavarotti & Friends charity concert. She was a friend of the tenor. Rarely have we seen such a crowd of fans, photographers and journalists in front of the hotel: when she got out of her car to enter, applause broke out and she blushed visibly. She surprised us with a special request at one o’clock in the morning: a dish of lasagne
that she enjoyed a lot. When the moment came for her to say goodbye, she thanked us and said she’d felt Bolognese for one night. I’m always happy to tell this story, especially to guests in the Presidential Suite Giambologna, the one where Lady Diana stayed: inside it’s possible to find the original dressing table she used.
Describe us a typical day in the life of the manager of the Grand Hotel Majestic “già Baglioni”?
One day is hardly ever the same as another. Let’s say it’s impossible to get bored. As soon as I get here in the morning, I do my routine round of all the communal spaces, which are the hotel’s visiting card and must always be perfect and in order. The next stop is the Breakfast Room, where I check the quality of the buffet and the service. I then meet my service supervisors for a résumé of the previous day and evening, though I have to say that I’m always pretty well updated on what’s happening anyway. With emails and my mobile phone, I have access, in particular, to the reports of the night porter and the maître d’h, who provide me with constant feedback. After that, I analyse the day’s arrivals, guests’ requests and special needs and details that need dealing with, and check that the rooms have been assigned correctly. After carefully controlling the bookings in the restaurant, I turn my attention to any events that have been organised in the hotel. I spend some time every day walking round the different floors to see that every detail is in place. Another aspect of my work involves long-term planning, which means analysing bookings and the general trend over an arc of a few months. This is an important tool for making sure that we have chosen the best sales strategies. Last of all, being the manager means being everywhere and talking to everyone, devoting special care to relations with suppliers and regular clients, who I’m always at pains to speak to when they come and go.
Il Grand Hotel Majestic “già Baglioni” is a focal point in Bologna. How do you see its role in the city? What relationship does it have with citizens?
Since I became the manager of the Baglioni – that’s what the locals still call the hotel – I’ve always sought to open its doors to the city and its citizens. The hotel has always been viewed with awe, as if it’s some sort of inaccessible palace. This is why I have organized and staged here all sorts of events suitable for different targets, sometimes in collaboration with various city bodies and associations. I want everyone to feel at home and be able to discover this minor jewel of architecture and history, maybe enjoying an aperitif, a dinner, a guided visit or a business lunch. I hope I’ve managed to convince many Bolognesi to pop in and see us, even if it’s only for a cup of coffee.
When you’re travelling, what do you note the most in hotels elsewhere?
Irrespective of type of hotel, there are three aspects I can’t help noting, even when I’m on holiday: service, first and foremost, then location and attention to detail. I reckon it’s a form of professional bias.