Yup – but will MG take the same slimming approach to where he stays on his many important business trips? Way back – Feburary 2008 – I reported in the Camden New Journal how he stayed at some of the world’s finest hotels, with the university largely picking up the £62k bill on expenses, over five years.
A quick follow up Freedom of Information request returned this week shows Professor Grant in recent months has still been booked (by an aide?) into the odd five star hotel or two – like the gorgeous-looking Le Royal Meridien in Abu Dhabi.
Maybe in the new era of recession symbolisation whatchamacallit at UCL, there is still the possibility that its top staff may ditch the hotels with fancy views and demand a bed and breakfast guesthouse and a soggy fried bread breakfast instead? I know a good one off the seafront in Cromer if they’ve ever got a conference on in East Anglia.
FOI Request results: Foreign hotel expenditure
Date * Hotel name * Location * Nights booked * Total cost * Purpose
24-Mar-09 * Hilton Hotel * New York * 3 * not available * Alumni meeting and US UCL Campaign Board
What the hotel’s website says: ‘Recently completed a $148 million redesign – providing the ultimate Manhattan experience in comfort and style.’
21-Nov-09 * Grand Hotel Karel V * Utrecht * 1 * € 179 *Rectors Assembly, League of European Research Universities
What the hotel’s website says: ‘Magnifiek 5* – this medieval monastery was carefully transformed into a luxurious hotel and convention site.’
14-Feb-10 * Le Royal Meridien * Abu Dhabi * 1 * AED 1000 UKTI * delegation with Lord Mandelson
What the website says: ‘Travellers have long considered this graceful hotel a jewel in the heart of the Middle East.’
15-Feb-10 * Four Seasons Hotel * Doha * 1 *QR 1,100 * UKTI delegation with Lord Mandelson
What the website says: ‘Gazing over the Arabian Gulf, with its own private beach and a marina curved at its feet,Four Seasons is a traveller’s haven fashioned to the finest international standards. It is the centrepiece of Doha’s outstanding waterfront landmark.’
24-Apr-10 * Conrad Hotel Hong Kong 1 HK 2,050 University Grants Committee
What the website says: ‘Recognized as one of the world’s finest business hotels, the Conrad Hong Kong, China hotel offers corporate and leisure travellers a superb location and a unique sense of style.’
28-Apr-10 * Hilton Hotel * Adelaide, Australia * 1 * AUD 280 * Opening of UCL South Australia campus
What the website says: ‘Enjoy your stay in this contemporary 36m²/387sq.ft room with separate working and seating areas. Catch up on work at the large desk, surf the web with high-speed internet access or entertain yourself with the 21-inch TV. Some rooms have city and mountain views.’
08-May-10 * Hotel Ambassador Zurich * 1 * CHF 360.00 * Rectors Assembly, League of European Research Universities
What the website says: ‘The exciting, exquisite mixture of culture, entertainment and business that surrounds the Hotel Ambassador is emulated in its architecture, hospitality and range of facilities. Despite extensive renovation, the diva among Zurich’s hotels has not lost any of its original beauty or charm.’
UCL points out that it has ‘benefited hugely’ from Prof Grant representing the university abroad. It is now one of the best ranked in the world.