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Alumni in the News: Philip Barnes

Thu, Oct 7th, 2021
Worth School

An iconic hotel in Los Angeles which has played host to politicians, rock stars and film stars in the past has reopened under the stewardship of former Worth student Philip Barnes.

After a five-year closure and $2.5 billion refurbishment, The Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel reopened its doors last week to the delight of general manager Philip Barnes (St Bede’s, 1972).

Having left The Savoy in London as managing director last summer, following its closure in the midst of the pandemic, Philips’s extensive experience and talents in the hospitality world were put to use for the rebirth of this landmark hotel. He said: “Fairmont Century Plaza will once again be the LA hotel, just as it was when it opened to worldwide acclaim in 1966. Working with a talented team in the return of a beloved jewel in LA’s crown has been a career highlight.”

The hotel has played host to many politicians, rock stars and film stars over the years and hosted historical events, such as President Nixon’s celebratory dinner for the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing astronauts. Whilst Ronald Reagan was in office he stayed at the hotel so frequently that the media renamed it the Western White House.

The Century Plaza is returning with 400 rooms, almost half the original number, which means visitors will have larger, more luxurious accommodation with marble bathrooms and a balcony. As well as a French-inspired brasserie that will transport guests back to 1920s Paris, there is a luxury Spa featuring rain showers, aromatherapy steam rooms, a hammam, and Himalayan salt room.

Philip’s excitement about the re-opening is clear. He said: “This has been probably the most challenging opening of my career with a Covid world as a backdrop, but now we have the doors open and the team energized I’m excited to see where we can take this iconic hotel. The Angelenos (LA natives) have welcomed us with open arms and that alone makes for a heart-warming beginning. We look forward to welcoming guests and locals from all over the world into a reimagined and stunningly beautiful hotel with an exemplary level of service.”

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