Jordi Clos founded his Derby Hotel Collection Group in the late 1960s.
He may well have been prescient when he made a decision to share his impressive and ever-growing collection of art, artefacts and antiques with guests of his hotels. The hospitality industry is one of the most disrupted by countless digital ventures and EXPERIENCE looms large in the expectation of travellers.
This is precisely what Jordi and son Joaquin Clos, the extremely engaging CEO and MD respectively, are offering in a highly specialised and quite unique way.
The Derby Collection consists of 22 buildings, including a wide range of tourist apartments in Barcelona (the Clos family is Catalan), Madrid, London and Paris.
Each of its landmark hotels hosts a museum quality collection of antiquities, artefacts and art works that Clos Senior has been collecting over a lifetime.
An Egyptologist, who still makes monthly trips to Egypt, he founded the eponymous Archaeological Foundation and the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona which houses and displays the largest private collection of its kind in Europe.
What is remarkable about the man is the breadth of his collecting interests: from Roman mosaics to pre-Colombian, Mayan and tribal artefacts, all the way to 20th century art (he is one of the largest collectors of Ricardo Opisso’s works).
The buildings that house the Derby hotels are also artfully selected.
The 5 start Banke Hotel in Paris, for example, is a “Belle Époque“ former bank HQs designed by architects Paul Friesé and Cassien Bernard, at the corner of Rue La Fayette and Rue Pillet. It famously houses huge vaults (Salle des Coffres) where Parisians used to stash their valuables – the underground space is now a venue for some ultra cool events.
The London Notting Hill Caesar Hotel boasts intricate Roman mosaics and adds to the gastronomic circuit of the city with its ever-popular Spanish tapas bar.
The Derby Hotel Group owns two properties in Madrid: The Urban and Villa Real, both 5 star establishments and each with its distinct personality and collection.
The Urban is a veritable treasure trove blend of large and rather splendid Papua New Guinea artefacts, contemporary concrete and steel structures, Guatemalan green marble, Venetian gold tiles and carved sandstone.
It is in Barcelona (the Clos family home), however, that visitors are quite literally spoilt for choice of accommodation, culture, spa and gastronomy – no mean feat in a city synonymous with round the clock epicurean experiences.
Passport to Culture
Clos father and son have pioneered an interesting and unique concept that favours the more cultured among their guests – the Derby Hotel Collection Passport.
This gives an opportunity to stay at each of the group’s properties as a member of an elite club of sorts, with all the associated perks. More importantly, it allows an in-depth glimpse into/a study of what is, unquestionably, one of the most important private collections in the world.
Carefully curated with an aim to educate and delight both aficionados and professionals, as well as other established collectors, these are private mini-museums housed in private properties that happen to operate as hospitality businesses of great distinction.
The Derby Hotels Collection has a laudable commitment to promoting culture in general and to restoring historic building landmarks in major cities.
That these landmarks become ultra high end hotels and gastronomy hubs is doubly laudable as The Derby Group is an important employer in three European countries.