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Simon Thomas, Browns Hotel London

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SIMON THOMAS (ST) BROWN'S HOTEL LONDON
Walk in the door of London’s oldest hotel and go straight back under the staircase, and head concierge Simon Thomas will be standing behind the desk on your right. The 40-year-old Thomas joined Brown’s—which debuted on Albemarle Street in Mayfair in 1837—when it reopened as the Rocco Forte Collection’s stylish 117-room flagship hotel in 2005. Charming and sincere, Thomas excels at making personal recommendations in a personable manner. "Sit down with your concierge and get a cup of tea," he advises. "We do come out from behind the desk to talk to you."

Brown’s general manager, Stuart Johnson, also joined the hotel in 2005—and also has a knack for fostering a friendly atmosphere. Intimate public spaces further contribute to the property’s warm environment. Among the more inviting spaces is The Donovan Bar, where celebrities and local suits hide out in low-lit booths and order from a novel-length cocktail menu. Brown’s legendary afternoon tea is served between two small dining areas adjacent to The Donovan and features scones that "are made in an oven the chef ordered especially for scones," says Thomas. Brown’s Hotel London,