The issue

The Strand Palace is the largest, centrally located, independent hotel in London – boasting 788 rooms and a maximum capacity of 1,200 guests a night. It also houses three third party outlets: Haxells Restaurant & Bar, Gin Palace and Joe Allen Restaurant. During the week, corporate travel is particularly important to the Strand Palace, with up to 80 percent of guests staying for business.

The hotel has always taken pride in its exemplary standards of service, housekeeping, security, health and safety. The hotel has 24-hour staffed security and CCTV throughout public areas. Entrance to the hotel is restricted to guests after midnight. All rooms have deadlocks, self-closing mechanisms, peepholes and safes. For female guests travelling alone, the hotel does not allocate rooms with interconnecting doors, or rooms on the first floor, at the ends of corridors or near fire exits.

Such extensive measures showcase the hotel’s commitment to safety and security. With the UK’s current terrorist threat level still considered “substantial”, the importance of providing guests peace of mind during their stay cannot be understated.

The approach

The Strand Palace team undergoes regular training to keep up to date with all the latest regulation and procedures around health, safety, and security. A lot of work goes into ensuring everything delivers to the highest standard of excellence, especially with a large on-site security team. It is therefore unsurprising that the Strand Palace sought security accreditation with GSA Global. In fact, it was the first London hotel to receive accreditation.

GSA Global has developed an independent assessment process for hotel security. Supervised by SFJ Awards, a government-approved global standards body, the certification is the ultimate seal of approval for hotels and serviced apartments wishing to cement their security credentials. The Strand Palace first received accreditation in 2019 after a rigorous assessment of security standards at the hotel carried out by a GSA Global assessor.

GSA Global assessors are highly experienced, having cut their teeth in law enforcement or the military. Assessors complete a risk assessment unique to the specific accommodation, taking into consideration the likelihood and impact of national, regional and security risks. This is either managed through an evidence-based online process, undertaken virtually through its bespoke web-based software platform, or a full on-site inspection undertaken by the assessor. They then make pragmatic recommendations, including suggested enhancements to practices and procedures. Knowing how valuable the accreditation has been to its development, the hotel decided to renew its accreditation after one year.

The result

Obtaining certification has yielded many benefits for the hotel. It has been able to secure more corporate business by demonstrating a duty of care to its guest and staff; It is now much easier to respond to Request-for-Proposals (RFP) from corporates in search of quality accommodation; It has obtained key external feedback on current security measures at the property to support its internal team; and maintained knowledge of cutting-edge safety and security news/information via the GSA Global membership platform.

Speaking of the importance of GSA Global’s accreditation, Managing Director at Strand Palace, Matthew Beard, said: “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen increased importance placed on health and safety guidelines and procedures, but security cannot – and should not – be forgotten. The hotel has always taken all three very seriously, not least because of the size of the property; the bigger the property, the bigger the risk. The hotel’s security is not solely the responsibility of the security team. Our entire team has security in mind when dealing with guests – a mindset that has been encouraged with the help of the GSA Global team. With all sorts of threats and uncertainties around us, it is great that we can say, with confidence, that our guests are safe in our hands.”

When thinking of iconic institutions such as The Strand Palace, there is a tendency to assume they are reluctant to change. But, this attitude is nowhere to be seen at The Strand Palace. Its team are continuously learning, ensuring they stay up to date with all the latest regulation and compliance around health, safety and security. Pairing this with GSA Global’s knowledge of and commitment to the highest standards of security has allowed the Strand Palace to build a hotel that truly protects its guests, making it an ideal home away from home for corporate travellers far and wide.