Our Sales Directors Mike Godfrey, Michael Cloke and Stephen Fox work across all three hotels in the Ralph Trustees group (The Athenaeum and The Runnymede on Thames as well as The Grove). They create partnerships with various companies and agencies and make use of our vast meetings and events space. Get to know them a little better below…
How do you start your day?
Mike: Coffee, breakfast and a chat with my wife and sons about what the day has in store for each of us. I’ll catch up on news and a scan through LinkedIn and if it is an office day, arrive at my desk early to review my plan and to do list.
Michael: I tend to be up most days around 5:30am (even at the weekend) starting the day with a Nespresso or two which has to be the Roma capsule. Then a catch up on the daily news, social media and emails before the rest of the house starts to wake up.
Stephen: Coffee, a run, porridge then a bike ride. All before my working day begins! When I arrive at work, I change into my suit and head for my nearest Nespresso machine.
What has been your highlight since joining the team?
Mike: I have not been here long, so I would say the warm welcome and exploring and learning about our venues. As well as boasting world class facilities, there are so many quirky facts and anecdotes to uncover. Learning that Raiders of the Lost Ark was edited in a suite at The Athenaeum excited me perhaps far more than it should have!
Michael: Many a highlight at Ralph Trustees, but one comes to mind. Welcoming back one of the first clients to use the events space at The Grove for their annual event, which now continues each year. A key message in this is not to get complacent with your clients, ensure each time they are back we strive to be better than the last, and why not recognise them by taking them to an event at the O2. Oh and one more, what other Director of Sales do you know who’s a qualified skipper! Being joined by clients for a memorable jaunt on the River Thames at Runnymede is a highlight.
Stephen: About 20 years ago we converted a studio apartment in Manhattan into the US sales office for The Athenaeum. This was essentially me, several telephone lines and a fax machine set up alongside a bed. It was exciting and fast-paced – no other independent hotel was doing this at the time – although many followed!
What did you aspire to be when you were 10 years old?
Mike: I caught the acting bug relatively early on and carried those aspirations right through to a Drama degree. A career in sales seemed like a natural progression of that as the core skills are very similar.
Michael: From an early age I always wanted to be a car mechanic, I was fixated by cars on family days out. We would play a game where I could guess the car make just by looking at the wheels… I know!
Stephen: I had no idea. It worried me that I didn’t have a plan, but in hindsight, I didn’t realise that I had plenty of time to change my mind. When I was young I loved being outside and spending time with people – so I knew it would be something related to one of those things.
What’s your go-to tipple?
Mike: A decent beer would probably be my go to. I think the team at Beavertown do great things or a Quilmes from Argentina.
Michael: I’m very much a coffee lover, owning 2 Nespresso machines at home, but I do enjoy a glass of Macon Village or Argentinian Malbec.
Stephen: Right now it’s tea and coffee as I’m on a very extended Dry January and enjoying the benefits! Under normal circumstances, it’s usually a Bloody Mary.
What are you currently listening to?
Mike: I am getting left behind on popular music so you will usually find me listening to Magic or Jazz FM. Podcast wise, I would recommend ‘Off Menu’ by comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster. It’s a witty and whimsical take on the dream meal format with some great guests.
Michael: I tend to download various podcasts that I pick at random, they’re good to have on in the car whilst travelling to work,or client appointments. Another thing I’ve got into is 8D music, put your airpods in and this transforms the way you listen to music, it really is “inside your head”.
Stephen: I’m a big fan of podcasts, especially when I’m commuting or walking through London. At the moment I’m listening BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
The Grove, The Athenaeum and The Runnymede have played host to all manner of stars, but who’s your favourite actor of all time?
Mike: That is a tough one. I’d find it hard to separate a few… Adam Driver, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams. The best performance I have seen in a long time is Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse (2019). It baffles me that he didn’t get an Oscar nod for it. Highly recommended.
Michael: Tom Hanks – his acting skills are inspirational, playing every character in a true form. One of my all-time favourite films is Apollo 13.
Stephen: Robert de Niro is one of my favourites and I love the diversity of films he’s in – from Deerhunter and Meet the Fockers to Raging Bull.
Leftbank or The Lock at The Runnymede?
Mike: Both are great. I might give Leftbank the edge as my sons enjoy the rubber duck display. I will also bolt on a post meal boat trip down the Thames if I may.
Michael: No question, Leftbank. In the winter months the restaurant has a real warm and homely feel and the chefs replicate this with an array of cuisine, then come the summer months take it alfresco and watch the River Thames pass you by. I finish each visit at the dessert station, my favourites being Crème Brulee, Bread & Butter pudding, or the healthy option of fruit salad.
Stephen: I love breakfast in Leftbank. The coffee gets me going, whilst the river calms me down. It’s a lovely uplifting pace to start the day.
If you could invite anyone, who would you ask to join you for a drink at The Glasshouse Bar?
Mike: My wife. Assuming we could find a babysitter!
Michael: Barack Obama – wow, the stories he could share. Like most, I find him very inspiring and a cool 44th President.
Stephen: It would probably be one, or all of my family past and present.
The View at The Athenaeum
Besides The View at The Athenaeum, what’s your favourite view in London?
Mike: If you are brave enough to ride the glass walled lift, the top of Heron Tower is a great spot. It always excites me catching that first glimpse of London below flying into London City Airport.
Michael: Primrose Hill has to be a favourite location, when I worked in that area I would take a walk on my lunchbreak, a beautiful green space with a view of London’s skyline just minutes away from the buzzing city life.
Stephen: The Royal Observatory in Greenwich has a spectacular view. It’s also where you can stand on the Prime Meridian of the World – where east meets west. I think it’s something every visitor to London should say they’ve done. Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath shows off the city skyline perfectly too.
If you’d like to get in touch with any of the team, do not hesitate to drop them an email or LinkedIn message: