Rohini Chaudhary, events manager at The Marylebone Rooms at The Marylebone Hotel, on the art of running events
Interview: Clare Finney
When planning an event, we need to know your budget and guest numbers, but also your ideas. We like to know whether you want it to feel social or businesslike, whether you want it cosy or spacious. Once we know all that, we will plan various options. We are very flexible, space-wise. All our spaces are beautiful, and we can accommodate up to 200 guests.
Making an event work perfectly is all in the planning. That’s why we try to establish the schedule in advance, but we will work around any changes on the day. If it is, for example, a training day or strategy meetings, sticking to the timings can be crucial—with some flexibility of course. If it is a more relaxed event, the precise timings might depend more on the mood and how the client wants it to run on the night. If they want us to bring the food out half an hour later than planned, we can do that.
Music can play a big role in creating the right vibe. We have a massive playlist, so if you don’t have one, we can discuss it with you and create something—but if you want to connect up your phone or tablet, we can do that too.
This is not a corporate hotel. We don’t do volume, we do quality. Our style is personal and welcoming—it is about warm, friendly but efficient service. We adapt easily. If it’s a conference or a meeting, we are discreet. For an evening social, we can be more present, making sure everyone is fed and watered and managing the space so that nowhere gets too crowded.
We caution clients if we think they are over-ordering or not providing enough. If it’s dinner, then you need to be focused on the food.
If it’s a drinks reception, the balance changes. We do offer to help clients with this, as we have so much experience.
We recently laid on a Cuban-themed evening for a charity auction, which was great fun. Generally speaking, we have an established range of fresh, well-sourced menus to meet all needs, likes and allergies. If you want a specific cuisine, we can usually cater for it. It depends on how specific it is and whether we have the skills in the kitchen.
The Marylebone Rooms are quite unique and design-led, and you can dress the space up or down accordingly. We have our own supplies, or you can bring your own, and we have a florist who we use quite frequently.
If someone is talking to us about their event, it’s important for us to visualise it with them and then deliver exactly what they have in mind. An events manager needs good time management, attention to detail and the ability to listen—but they also need that creativity and visual sense.