Hotel bosses cast net wide and go big down under to find new talent

by Scott Douglas

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

Tigerlily earns powerful hospitality PR after flying in new management talent from 10,000 miles away

Hospitality expert Ben Carlotto headhunted from Australia to launch Lulu nightclub, part of the Tigerlily hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland

AS EDINBURGH’S most sophisticated new nightspot, Lulu has searched the globe to ensure it has the best of everything – and that even goes for the appointment of its new manager.

Distance proved no obstacle when an unusual recruitment drive by Edinburgh’s leading style bar operators Montpeliers (Edinburgh) Ltd. uncovered the talents of Ben Carlotto in Australia.

So impressive was Ben’s colourful hospitality CV, that after a brief telephone call confirmed his talents, bosses at Montpeliers decided to fly him all the way from down under for an interview in Edinburgh.

And now the man who has organised lingerie launches for supermodel Elle MacPherson and served drinks to some of the world’s most demanding stars, including Jack Nicholson, has moved 10,000 miles from his home in Sydney to mastermind the launch of Lulu.

The 31-year-old brings with him a wealth of experience launching and revitalising some of Australia’s most renowned nightspots and his drink and hospitality knowledge is second-to-none.

Lulu, located beneath the hugely successful new Tigerlily venture in George Street, promises to be different from any other bar or club in the capital – offering unrivalled levels of style, service and sophistication.

And with just a capacity of just 300, it offers a level of intimacy blended with high-end opulence and trend-setting music to rival the top London clubs – ensuring Lulu will quickly become Edinburgh’s hottest must-see destination.

Hospitality PR photography showing interior design at Lulu nightclub in Edinburgh

Ben, who has enjoyed a 12-year-career in the Australian hospitality industry ranging from managing cocktail venues in Sydney to running bars at exclusive MTV bashes, said “The emphasis is on exceptional service in a friendly and relaxed bar atmosphere. Our aim is to bring back the romance and theatre of bar culture and get people thinking about the kind of drinks they are enjoying.”

In what’s believed to be a unique move, Montpeliers used the internet to launch its hunt in Australia for bar tenders to work in Tigerlily and Lulu. Australia is widely regarded as home to some best bar staff in the world.

Montpeliers had intended to look closer to home for the manager’s position, but when   a mutual friend alerted Ben to Lulu, he sent in his CV by e mail and events took off from there.

Ben added: “I was actually taking a well-earned break from the hospitality trade after 12 years in the business and using the time to work on my tan, my golf and my surfing. ”I was beginning to get itchy feet again but I knew it would have to be the right opportunity to tempt me away from the beach and thankfully the phone call from Lulu came at just the right time and presented me with a challenge that I couldn’t turn my back on.

“The opportunity to come to another country after doing everything there was to do in Australia was too appealing and the fact Edinburgh is such a fantastic city and Lulu a fabulous concept made it an easy decision.”

Ben and Tigerlily Bar Manager and Head Mixologist Jamie MacDonald, have used their vast knowledge to create an unrivalled drinks offering from around the world.

Ben added: “We are responsible for the customers’ entire experience when they are in Lulu from the drinks they have, the atmosphere they enjoy and the interaction with staff. Our staff are the best in the business and able to offer anything the customer asks for. Customers are encouraged to fully interact with staff about the range of drinks on offer and the different options available. This creates an atmosphere where the customer enjoys the exceptional and personal service they are given rather than feeling uncomfortably fussed over.”

Food and drink PR photography of cocktails at Tigerlily in Edinburgh

Lulu will employ 50 bar staff, including a number of “drink’s hosts” and managerial positions and the recruitment process is still ongoing. The drinks hosts will under go specialised training so they are hugely knowledgeable on all aspects of drinks service.  So as well as being able to offer recommendations from the wine list, they will be able to suggest cocktails based on personal preferences or guide customers through our extensive spirit range to try something new.  They will also be highly trained in properly presenting and serving drinks.

Karen Calvert, Montpeliers Area Business Manager, said they were determined to find the right person for the top job at Lulu, regardless of where they were.

She said: “Excellent standards of service and customer care have been integral to our business since day one, so we’ve always sought to find the right staff and to provide them with the best training.

“That’s why, that even with high quality staff available in Scotland, we didn’t shied away from using specialist agencies to go to the likes of Australia to try to find the right calibre of employee.

“In Ben’s case we instantly liked what we read and offered to fly him over from Australia for an interview.  As you can imagine, it’s the furthest we’ve every brought someone in for an interview.  I suppose we’re glad he accepted the job, as his travelling expenses would have taken some beating!”

Hospitality expert Ben Carlotto headhunted from Australia to launch Lulu nightclub, part of the Tigerlily hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland

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Scott Douglas, of public relations agency Holyrood PR in Scotland

Scott Douglas

Scott Douglas is the co-founder of the multi award-winning Holyrood PR, renowned public relations agency in Edinburgh, Scotland.
As well as providing expert PR services in Scotland and the UK, the former journalist heads a team which offers a host of other professional media services.
Those include crisis management PR, photography for business PR, affordable business video, social media campaigns and strategic content planning and delivery for businesses of all sizes.

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