A Cup of Tea with…Malcolm Hendry

Headline Date 02-08-2017

A cup of tea with… where we sit down and chat with those who make Victoria what it is. People with a passion for Victoria, people who live or work here and know the area, its history and its future better than anyone else.

This month, we were invited to the beautiful Rubens Hotel where we had a nice chat with Malcolm Hendry, General Manager of The Rubens and The 41 Hotel.

How long have you worked in Victoria?

I have worked in Victoria for the past 16 years, and been working in London for 24…so nearly a quarter of a century now.

What was the biggest change you have experienced in Victoria?

The biggest change…gosh…I would say the biggest change has been in the last five years. Specifically, the redevelopment of Nova and the phenomenal changes at Victoria Station with the new entrance.

What is your favourite spot in Victoria?

{Laughs} Well, apart from 41 and Rubens obviously…! I’ve actually got many many favourite spots though but my fondest is the morning walk I take. I often come into Victoria quite early in the morning, around 7.20 am. I go to Starbucks in Victoria Station to pick myself up with a short coffee and then walk through the area. It’s a lovely time of day; not too early, but early enough to get that buzz. Walking from the station to the hotel at that time, just feels like you are watching London come alive. That walk from the station to the Rubens and vice versa is what I have done the last 16 years and I love it. I still feel very lucky to work in such a super area in a great city.

If you could change one thing in Victoria, what would it be?

Well to be honest there is not much I would change. I guess it’s the obvious. It’s only on odd occasions and it’s I think it’s because I work for two hotels and I am looking after guests…but sometimes the traffic clogs up a little bit and makes it harder to get in and out as it was years back. It’s incredible difficult as we are in such a central location but maybe maybe maybe getting around and in and out could be a bit easier. Saying that, Victoria is incredible well connected in terms of public transport. It’s just now and again it becomes frustrating.

What is your favourite story?

Oh gosh…Well first I have to mention the location itself, I mean being across the road to Buckingham Palace always made me feel quite proud and I have loved being part of many celebrations in and around the Palace (such as the centenary celebrations).

At the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war (in 2005) we were asked to host a small dinner for those who hold the George Cross and the Victorian Cross, so two very high up medals of honour. I said of course we would do that, because to host such an event is always a huge privilege. Then The Royal House got wind of it and said The Duke of Edinburgh would like to attend the dinner. Fast forwarding on, I found myself in the lobby waiting for The Duke of Edinburgh to arrive. The red carpet was out and everyone was on duty when suddenly a black taxi pulled up right in front of the red carpet. I ran to the concierge asked them to please can you get rid of the taxi asap as The Duke of Edinburgh was coming. And guess what, out of the black cab, The Duke of Edinburgh popped! And the legend goes that he enjoys a taxi vehicle so much, he actually bought one! And for me, that story typifies our area; where so much goes on that the unexpected can often happen (and sometimes go unnoticed!).

What is your message for the people out there in Victoria?

I would always say enjoy! Enjoy your life and enjoy working in such a vibrant part of a great city. Enjoy the new things that we have been given through Nova; the regeneration, the hotels the restaurants, the offices. Victoria is not just Victoria by Victoria Station, we’ve got this incredible area that boarders on Belgravia, we’ve got Palaces, Royal Parks, and the transport network is incredible! So come and enjoy; everything is here! You don’t have to go to Mayfair to dine anymore. Our own English grill for example, offers the very best of classic style English dining while some of the more casual restaurants, bars and the pubs, offer a more modern experience. It’s such a great destination.

What is the biggest issues/ challenge Victoria is facing?

All I see are the positives! Everything continues to grow as the Station develops. Regeneration continues to make the area more attractive. Exciting new businesses and initiatives keep opening, which give people even more reason to come and enjoy work and live in Victoria. I just hope it continues like that and I also expect it to.

What is your favourite lunchtime spot?

I am not a great person for sitting down and eating lunch, generally I prefer picking something up and walking around the area and getting a breath of fresh air. That said, I’ve enjoyed some fabulous lunches in our BBar on the corner of Buckingham Palace Road!

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