Interview: Robert van Eerde, General Manager, The Clarence Hotel - U2 Feedback

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Old 09-13-2004, 05:45 AM   #1
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Interview: Robert van Eerde, General Manager, The Clarence Hotel

[SIMG]http://bonovox.interference.com/interview/clarence-sml.jpg[/SIMG]
By Roland Schulte
2004.09



Bono recently said that “feelings are stronger than ideas or words in a song.” Robert van Eerde, manager of The Clarence Hotel in Dublin, translates feelings through hospitality rather than through music. In talking to Interference.com, van Eerde describes an atmosphere within his hotel that is welcoming, stylish and, above all, “democratic.”

Peer accolades surround van Eerde’s work at the hotel, including a top-20 ranking from Conde Nast Traveler magazine in the Overseas Leisure Hotels Europe category, and a top-15 nod from Departures magazine in the 2004 Reader’s Favorites Survey.

Read on to find out more about The Clarence itself, and its famous management and ownership team.

What sets The Clarence apart from other hotels, such as those found in “The Leading Hotels of the World” directory? What feature of The Clarence is most pleasing to its guests?

The Clarence has established it’s own style and feel, which is now recognized worldwide since opening in 1997. We have created a style which is very low key, unassuming but is extremely friendly and everything you expect in a top quality hotel. Our guests like the “democratic” feel in the hotel, in other words everybody is treated in a similar friendly way, which is really down to the team of people working here at the hotel.


(Image Courtesy of The Clarence Hotel)

The Clarence offers an impressive list of services to engaged couples. How many weddings does The Clarence host annually? Are most of the wedding couples residents of Dublin?

The Clarence acts as host to many, many weddings and often as the engagement venue also. The people who marry here come from all over the world and of course locally. The majority of weddings, however, are from people abroad

When did you begin managing The Clarence? What was your background prior to this position?

I started working in The Clarence [in] early 2000 and I have worked in many different places around the world. For me, it was a little of a return as my first position in the hotel business was here in Dublin at The Shelbourne hotel where I started as an assistant food and beverage manager. After that I worked in London and the Middle East and then I opened and managed Skibo Castle, The Carnegie Club in the Highlands of Scotland for almost five years. After that I worked in the south of Spain and opened a five-star deluxe golfing resort in Sotogrande.

Do you meet with Bono and Edge regularly? What are they most interested in relative to The Clarence?

The hotel is owned by Edge, Bono and Harry Crosbie. We have regular meetings and we cover all aspects of the business and as a result the subjects vary all the time.

What attracted Bono and Edge U2 to purchase the hotel in the early 90’s? Did Bono/Edge define much of the redesign themselves?

I was not working here when the owners bought the hotel so I do not know the ins and outs of why they bought the hotel. I understand, however, that they used to frequent the Octagon Bar in the hotel. The hotel itself was always famous for the fact that a lot of people from the countryside used to stay here when visiting Dublin. The bar was known for the variety of people who used to go for a drink there. This, to date, is still very much the case.

The Clarence website talks about the use of various luxury materials, including leather and velvet, at the hotel. Where exactly is velvet employed at The Clarence?

The design of the hotel is very much based on balancing the original old and classic features with a new contemporary décor and design. The hotel itself dates back to 1852 and all it’s original features were restored in the best possible way. An emphasis on the new modern design was made using the finest natural materials such as leather, velvet, limestone and American white oak throughout the hotel. This can be seen throughout the hotel from the furniture to the curtains to the bar top to the lampshades the detail is simply magnificent.


(Image Courtesy of The Clarence Hotel)

U2 played atop The Clarence in September 2000, prior to their release of “All That You Can’t Leave Behind.” Do you know of any similar plans for the upcoming album?

I am not aware of what the plans are for the new album, all I do know is that the hotel will no doubt be very busy when it happens!

What does the future hold for The Clarence?

The Clarence has many different options. We are currently revising the plans for the expansion of the hotel. Overall we are looking to increase the number of bedrooms and to increase the facilities for our customers.

What is the most often asked question of the concierge at The Clarence?

The most frequently asked question is probably related to U2!!


Many thanks to Mr. van Eerde and the staff of The Clarence for their help with this article.

For more information on The Clarence, please visit http://www.theclarence.ie/
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Old 09-13-2004, 12:31 PM   #2
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It's such a beautiful place!

Congratulations to the author and to the person who find the way to reach the hotel's general manager (was it as hard as I imagine it to be?)
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Old 09-13-2004, 12:32 PM   #3
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I wish I could stay at The Clarence for a couple of days..
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Old 09-13-2004, 06:36 PM   #4
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this was one of the nicest hotels i have stayed in. I am glad I did it. The staff and facilities were amazing. They made my friend and I feel welcomed the moment we walked into the door til the day we left. I actually started to cry when we left and told the bellboy that I did not want to leave. He was so sweet and told me a room will be waiting for me when I am able to return.
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Old 09-14-2004, 12:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Justified
this was one of the nicest hotels i have stayed in. I am glad I did it. The staff and facilities were amazing. They made my friend and I feel welcomed the moment we walked into the door til the day we left. I actually started to cry when we left and told the bellboy that I did not want to leave. He was so sweet and told me a room will be waiting for me when I am able to return.
LoL!
Did you asked something about the band?
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Old 09-15-2004, 02:23 AM   #6
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I met Robert last May, when I stayed at the hotel. It is not hard to meet him. He really pampered me and my friend during our stay. I'm Dutch and so is he. It is really nice for him to speak his native language once in a while.....He's a very nice man !!! I stayed in many hotels because I have a travelagency, and the Clarence is the BEST hotel I have ever stayed in !!! (this has nothing to do with my devotion to the band ).Everything is perfect, the staff is very friendly and helpfull. And everything matches in the hotel !!! LOVE the place and I recommend it to all my clients who want to stay in Dublin !!!It's expensive but worth it !!!
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Old 09-15-2004, 02:46 AM   #7
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how came that a Dutch moved to Dublin?
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Old 09-15-2004, 11:33 PM   #8
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the Dutch move just anywhere, ya know !!! And the band always has special feelings about Holland, because they first hit number one in Holland. Anton Corbijn is Dutch as well !!!
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Old 09-16-2004, 01:48 AM   #9
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Ah, Anton
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Old 09-16-2004, 12:39 PM   #10
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yep i agree with you all Robert has got a great team together - we stay regular at the clarence and have met Robert quite a few time even managed to meet Bill clinton the last time - this is the best hotel in the world i know i live in them every weekend - great article
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Old 09-17-2004, 02:42 AM   #11
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I would like to meet Bill CLinton as well, very charismatic man !!
Do you travel a lot for your work cameraman ??
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Old 09-17-2004, 05:01 AM   #12
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Cameraman's wife here - he is out filming a wedding. We do travel all over the UK with our video company, but trips to The Clarence are purely pleasure. We met Bill Clinton in August when we were there celebrating our wedding anniversary, we were introduced to him and he shook our hands and he certainly is very charismatic. He looks you straight in the eye and has a wonderful smile that really lights up his face. Of course, unfortunately, 2 weeks later he ended up in hospital with his heart condition, I just hope it wasn't the excitement of meeting us that brought it on !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-27-2004, 08:18 AM   #13
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My wife and I stayed there in the summer of '01 in one of the deluxe rooms right under the penthouse. Boy, it was one of the most beutiful hotels we have ever stayed in. If you ever get a chance, you've got to do it. My only regret from the stay was eating at the tea room. Bleh...a little too high class for my tastes, but otherwise a very beautiful stay!

--pete
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