A wise man once said that “misfortune nobly born is good fortune.”
I quoted Juvenal at the Worshipful Company of Innholders dinner, last week; now I’m referencing Marcus Aurelius. I wonder how you say ‘get me’, in Latin?
When a fire broke out at her hotel this summer, just one week after it had unveiled a multimillion-pound refurbishment, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park GM Amanda Hyndman must have wondered what she had done to deserve such misfortune. That the fire struck two days into Amanda’s stewardship of the hotel only added insult to injury.
“It’s at times like this that you discover the great pride and loyalty the staff have in the hotel,” she told The Caterer at the time. “There has been a real ‘can do’ spirit amongst everyone. The London Fire Brigade has been amazing and we have had tremendous support from our neighbours with hampers arriving from Harrods and hotels such as the Berkeley, Bulgari and Jumeirah being so incredibly generous.”
Demonstrating a stoicism that Marcus Aurelius would have applauded, and humbled by the support they received, Amanda and her team quickly decided to turn a negative into a positive.
In days, they had launched FANtastic London, a charitable initiative that aims to thank their local community for its support and care after the fire.
FANtastic London is deploying 400 of the hotel’s workforce to support charities and organisations active or based in the capital, as repairs to the hotel continue. Amanda estimates as much as 40,000 working hours will be donated before the property’s reopening, later this year.
Beneficiaries of the scheme include Walking With The Wounded, Age UK, Thrive Battersea Garden Project, Oxfam, the London Fire Brigade, the Felix Project – and Hospitality Action.
Each week, volunteers Ksenia (pictured with HA’s Astrid Wears-Taylor) and Malin spend a day at our Farringdon office, supporting our fundraising and grant-giving efforts.
And, this week, a crack team of envelope-stuffers will converge on our boardroom to help despatch the Autumn edition of our Golden Friends newsletter.
From a terribly difficult situation, Amanda and her management team have found a way to galvanise their workforce, give them valuable life experiences, and help further the work of many good causes.
It’s been our good fortune at HA to benefit from the altruism shown by the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, and for this we’re hugely grateful.
The hotel’s support of HA continues next Thursday, 20 September, when Amanda and her team host a reception on the Serpentine Solar Boat, Hyde Park, in aid of us.
If you’re free, we’d love you to join us. Tickets are £95 per person. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to help celebrate a noble and philanthropic initiative over a glass or two of fizz.