Tantalising Tea

We explore how to elevate your Afternoon tea experience using specialist water pairings with Helen Haider, Marketing Director at LUQEL.

What is the best water to pair with tea and why?

There are two main ingredients to tea, one, of course, is the tea leaves themselves, and the other is water which makes up around 98% of the drink. Choosing the right water is paramount in producing the perfect cup of tea that your guests will rave about.

The best water for tea would be soft water, which is one that has fewer minerals. Calcium and Magnesium, which we find in higher quantities in hard water areas, can cause the tea to taste bitter. Chlorine and other impurities in the water can also impact the taste of the tea, so choose water that is filtered. Always heat fresh water. Water that has been previously boiled will have lost some of its oxygen content. Oxygen is important in helping tea leaves to release their flavours and aromas.


Often, Afternoon Tea offerings include a variety of teas, would you recommend using different waters for each?

With the LUQEL Water dispenser, we have a different water for each tea and a specific brewing temperature.

WHITE DELIGHT: an ultra-low mineralised water delivered at 75 o C perfectly enhancing your white teas.

GREEN POWER: higher levels of chloride, which helps release the subtle notes of green teas, brewed at 65 o C.

TEA TIME: a perfect water for black teas, delivered at 95 o C and with added sulphate which helps add a smoothness to the tea.

There are also specialist waters for Oolong and Fruit and Herb teas.


How can LUQEL elevate a hotel’s Afternoon Tea experience?

To appreciate the true taste of LUQEL tea waters, try them for yourself. Bring your team down to one of our showrooms along with your best-selling tea. In our demonstration you’ll enjoy a taste test where we pitch our water versus tap water or just filtered water. The LUQEL water dispenser not only delivers a better-tasting tea, but also one that is way ahead, in terms of clarity and appearance. The tea is often lighter but with a more rounded taste allowing the subtler flavours to be imparted in the tea, and not hidden under bitter notes.

We’ll work with your teams to educate them on why the water helps the tea to sing, and they can share their knowledge with your own customers, delivering a meaningful tea experience and the perfect cup of tea.


How can our readers work with you?

We’re more than happy to organise a tea demonstration with the readers of Hotel Magazine. Get in touch at www.luqel-water.com and fill in a demonstration request to visit one of our showrooms in London, Leicester, Manchester or Milton Keynes, or contact our sales team directly at sales.uk@luqel-water.com



Panasonic’s energy efficiency performance triumphs in independent testing

Panasonic’s NE-1878 microwave has generated outstanding results in both its energy efficiency and overall performance, in a comparative assessment of the microwave performance of commercial microwave ovens, independently commissioned by Panasonic UK.

In its comparative investigation of microwave performance, TCFs via Eurofins E&E Hursley Limited, also performed a safety test assessment of Panasonic’s latest microwave, the NE-1878, against its previous model (NE-1853) and two equivalent microwaves from competitors. Three comparative tests took place – an electricity consumption test on full power, a heating efficiency test, and an internal radiation efficiency test – with the Panasonic NE-1878 performing best overall.


Speaking about the testing, Andrew Whyte, Product Manager, Panasonic UK Ltd. comments:

“With microwave ovens, electricity is converted to microwave energy, which directly penetrates and heats the food; meaning much less energy is wasted in heating the oven itself. It’s an efficient process, and increased energy efficiency can lead to significant reductions in energy consumption. With the cost of energy at the highest it’s ever been, energy efficiency has never been as important as it is now and it’s understandably become a major concern for operators, not just in terms of sustainability and environmental considerations, but for how it impacts on profit. The independent expert testing of our NE-1878 microwave proves the performance of our NPD and the innovative technology used by Panasonic to provide operators with equipment that performs excellently. Operators looking to improve the energy efficiency within their kitchens will benefit from using an energy saving microwave and the subsequent cost savings as a result. The NE-1878, recognised in the testing as having outstanding energy efficiency, consumes the least amount of electricity.”


The first test assessed the electricity consumption of each microwave heating 500ml of water. During a two-minute full-power heating period, the NE-1878 consumed the least power; and consistently achieved the most heating using the lowest amount of electricity. By comparison, the competing model which used the most electricity, consumed almost 25% more.


The outstanding energy performance of the NE-1878 continued in the second test, for heating efficiency. Again, 500ml of water was used to evaluate the heating efficiency of each microwave; with the test performed exclusively for two minutes, to compare the greatest heating conditions. The test concluded that the Panasonic NE-1878 was best in this category, and most energy efficient using the least power of all four units when heating.


The final test, for internal radiation efficiency, evaluated the heating efficiency at different locations within each microwave. Performed for two minutes, to compare the greatest heating conditions, the NE-1878 heating was most consistent between the front and back, compared to the two competitor microwaves.


Microwave emissions were also spot-checked during testing, as an additional quality control and safety check. The Panasonic NE-1878 is the safest, which is likely to be why the unit is also the most efficient in terms of power usage. More of the microwave radiation is retained within the oven due, in part, to the unit’s full metal door; a world first and a unique design feature exclusive to this particular model!


To find out more about Panasonic and its range of commercial microwave ovens, please email commercial.ovens@eu.panasonic.com or visit www.panasonic.co.uk/pro-cooking.



Virgin Hotels Edinburgh was officially opened today by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson. The event marks a significant milestone for the hotel which opened its doors in June 2022 and has since been enjoying tremendous success.

Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, the final phase of the launch will see the opening of the hotel’s 222 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites as well as all dining outlets including, the hotel’s flagship restaurant, Commons Club, which features a lively bar and a locally-inspired menu, Eve, an all-day dining space as well as Greyfriars Hall, a 19th century church that has been beautifully restored and repurposed as a special event venue and an exclusive rooftop terrace with unobstructed Edinburgh Castle views.

Since opening its doors, Virgin Hotels Edinburgh has quickly become one of the city’s most sought-after destinations for both locals and visitors alike. The hotel’s prime location, combined with its exceptional service and unique design, has earned it numerous accolades, including being named one of the “Best New Hotels in the World” by Travel + Leisure and voted one of the “Best Hotels to Stay in Edinburgh for 2023” by Conde Nast Traveller.

Virgin Group Founder, Sir Richard Branson, said: “I am thrilled to mark the grand opening of Virgin Hotels Edinburgh – the first Virgin Hotels property to launch in Europe – in this most wonderful city.

“This is an incredible hotel that truly embodies the spirit of both the Virgin brand and the quirks and traits of Edinburgh’s beautiful Old Town – a place where people can come together to have fun, relax and enjoy all that this wonderful city has to offer.”

To mark the occasion an exclusive musical performance from Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo piper, Louise Marshall, played a selection of traditional Scottish songs on the hotel’s roof terrace against the impressive backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

Virgin Hotels CEO, James Bermingham, said: “We are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Virgin Hotels Edinburgh. From the beginning, we set out to create a hotel that would be unlike anything else in the city – a place where locals and guests could come and feel welcome and inspired, and where they could experience the best of Edinburgh. We’re thrilled to see the hotel officially open and thriving, and we look forward to welcoming even more guests in the years to come.”

In celebration of the newly opened Virgin Hotels Edinburgh, Virgin Red – Virgin’s Group-wide rewards club – will also be surprising and delighting locals at St Giles Cathedral from 5pm this evening (Friday 24 March). Lucky passers-by will be able to get their hands on some Virgin Points, with prizes including everything from a luxury four-night staycation at Virgin Hotels Edinburgh to flights to locations all around the world, as well as a Scottish celebration to be remembered.

The Five Senses of Hospitality

On 14 and 15 March, the Independent Hotel Show will take place at RAI Amsterdam. More than 200 exhibitors and 40 industry leaders will show the latest developments within the hotel industry. The overarching theme is The Five Senses of Hospitality.

The Independent Hotel Show returns to Amsterdam for the third edition promising to offer fresh ideas and insights in to the latest hotel trends for hoteliers to takeaway and implement. Expect to experience plenty of inspiring new show features with a focus on eco-friendly initiatives and cost-saving solutions including The Circular Lab and The HR & Energy Saving Quarters. These quarters were introduced to demonstrate tangible and cost-effective solutions to today’s two most pressing challenges.


Latest trends

For two days, there will be an extensive seminar programme. On the Hotel Innovation Stage, in partnership with HotelPartner, experts and innovators will bring the latest trends for the hotel industry in the form of exciting and engaging presentations. On the brand-new Hotel Business Stage, in partnership with RoomRacoon and designed by Riviera Maison there will be several one-to-one interviews and thought-provoking panel discussions taking place. For example, Google will present a survey on how traveller expectations have differed since 2019. There is also a session on the latest trends in food and drink. Other key themes include generational intelligence, branding and the new look at uniforms. If you are short on time and want to see the key developments in the hotel industry, book a trends tour.


Wine and live music

At Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, there is a lot of focus on design, in particular sustainable design solutions. Various designers and suppliers will present the latest interior design trends showcasing everything from lighting and tableware to furniture and art installations. Renowned Dutch designer, Ingrid van der Veen will bring her colourful vision to life in The Lobby, the brand new entrance feature for hoteliers to check-in and grab a complimentary refreshment.

The Social Business Space, hosted by Swiss Sense remains a dedicated area for you to learn, network and share insights with likeminded hoteliers and industry leaders. During the event, the IHA Awards will be presented for the first time for the best
Independent Hotelier, the most important hotel concept and the best hotel website, among others.



Brand Spotlight

At the Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, more than 200 companies present the latest innovations and trends. Here are some great examples of the beautiful brands set to be presented at the show in March:


Riviera Maison

Riviera Maison regularly furnishes projects, such as hotels, restaurants and business spaces with the intention to enhance the atmosphere and add a level of warmth. Riviera Maison is a partner for project design and styling all over the world. The so recognizable 'home' feeling is visible in all projects; whether it's a pleasant atmospheric work environment or a unique hotel on the beach, we provide every environment with the ultimate feeling of home. At the Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, we present, among other things, this impressive sofa that transforms a hotel lobby or suite into a comfortable and homely place.




RoomRaccoon is an all-in-one hotel management solution designed by independent hoteliers for independent hoteliers. The cloud-based system comes with a host of exciting native tools that work together seamlessly to unlock new ways to generate revenue, streamline property operations, and enhance the guest experience. With RoomRaccoon, hoteliers can say goodbye to costly and complex integrations and access all the tools they need to manage their property at the click of a button. At IHS Amsterdam, RoomRaccoon will showcase the product's latest developments, features and upgrades, including their newly enhanced integrated payment platform, RaccoonPay, that promises to make payments for hoteliers easier, more affordable and more secure.



Swiss Sense Business

Swiss Sense's Hotel Collection box springs are specially designed to pamper guests. They can take a beating and are ideal for housekeeping. Be inspired by the possibilities in the field of good sleep in a style that suits your accommodation and a composition that fits every budget. From holiday park to B&B and from hotel to luxury international resort, the box springs from our Hotel Collection guarantee a carefree night's sleep for your guests.




HotelPartner is a service provider in revenue management and distribution, where through our TET-Synergy of qualified teams, proven expertise, and the use of leading technology, HotelPartner aims to reduce costs and maximise rooms-revenue of hotels, hotel groups and similar accommodation providers. Through our services and collaboration with other service providers, we can offer our partner hotels the opportunity of comprehensive optimisations. In particular, the substitution of cost-intensive personnel, allowing them the flexibility of employment and additionally, providing them with the necessary scope for reserves and investments.


To register to attend IHA23 visit indpendenthotelshow.nl/en and use visitor code HMAGPRINT to receive a complimentary ticket to the show.

Book for Success with RAW Charging: Why Hotel EV Charging is a Must-Have

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, with many motorists and businesses switching from ICE (Internal Combustion Engines) to EVs. With this increase comes the need for EV charging stations, an area where the hospitality industry can capitalise – and RAW Charging can help. 

Guests drive electric, but is your business EV-ready?

The hospitality sector is a prime example of an industry in which EV charging solutions can flourish, whether electric vehicle charging points are placed at a pub for a quick top-up or at hotels where guests can safely and efficiently charge their vehicles overnight. 

Of course, the hospitality industry is a sector consistently at the forefront of environmental and social changes, whether concerning greener living and the impact on the climate and lifestyle choices – the influence they can have on EV charging is no different. 

Now, hotels and other hospitality businesses can tap into this generational shift, readying their commercial premises for EV-driving guests. Much like previous shifts, such as solar power, hospitality is in a healthy position to stay ahead of the game and reap the financial rewards.

Boost occupancy and generate revenue.

In 2021, over 220,000 EV owners sought hotels that provided EV charging facilities, choosing to book at these destinations over hotels without EV charging. The average cost of an overnight stay in a UK hotel is around £85 – £90 per night; that’s about £19.8m of EV-related revenue last year alone. 

This revenue increase doesn’t just stop at check-ins either; with RAW Charging’s fully-funded host solution, you can enhance your business and create a new revenue stream. 

Hoteliers can now earn an income from their parking spaces and hotel rooms, while landlords, restauranteurs and other hospitality-based business owners can also take advantage. 

Almost half of all EV drivers rely on destination charging, which makes EV charging facilities a crucial aspect of finding the perfect destination – whatever the duration of the stay. 

How Greene King went green

With RAW Charging’s help, Greene King, the UK’s leading brewery and pub retailer, is currently in the process of rolling out community EV charging across its vast portfolio of sites. 

Recognising the opportunity and the increase in the volume of EV ownership (and how this ownership can be a deciding factor regarding their choice of destination), they opted for RAW Charging’s popular host ownership option. As a result, RAW Charging will fully fund, install and manage charging stations across 800 pubs and hotels within the next 24 months – at no cost to the client. In fact, Greene King received a revenue share of profit from visitors paying at its charge stations.

RAW Charging is in the best position to provide this business-changing service thanks to RAW’s fully-funded solutions, fantastic industry connections and partnerships with key brands, all of which place RAW Charging at the forefront of future EV charging infrastructure. 

Why are EV charging facilities a now-essential hospitality addition?

So, why exactly should you invest in EV charging solutions? Perhaps you’re comfortable with your business’s current set-up? Or maybe things are ticking over nicely, and you’re unsure about change? 

Here are just four reasons for introducing EV charging facilities to your commercial premises: 

  • You’ll attract more guests – With 1 in 5 of all new vehicles in the UK being an EV and every major manufacturer offering an EV range, opening up your business to EV owners is a no-brainer.

Moreover, fleet purchasing is on the up – meaning businesses and conferences will need EV fleet charging solutions for overnight stays. 

  • You’ll increase your ROI – With plenty of incentives and subscriptions, such as RAW Charging’s fully-funded solutions, EV charging facilities are affordable for any business and, in turn, can dramatically increase income and footfall.
  • You’ll increase guest dwell time – EV owners using hospitality-based EV charging are far more likely to stay longer as they charge. This increase in dwell time subsequently means they’ll spend more at the destination.
  • You’ll cement your brand as a sustainable business – Being environmentally conscious is a huge plus for many potential guests. In addition, investing in EV charging facilities will boost your ESG credentials, signposting that you’re future-ready and ahead of the competition. 

How RAW Charging can provide EV charging solutions for hotels and the hospitality sector.

RAW Charging is spearheading EV infrastructure change. Backed by full funding for free installation and a passionate team, we provide all of your business’s support, software and manageable subscriptions. 

In short, we ease the entire process, guiding you from planning and installation to completion with the perfect EV infrastructure plan for your specific business. Once your EV charging facilities are in place, we’ll continue to provide ongoing customer support and build a strong working relationship.

With RAW Charging: 

  • You can find the perfect tailored charging solution for your location.
  • We’ll install and maintain your charging facilities, with different services available depending on the chosen ownership option.
  • RAW Charging’s reliable and easy-to-use roaming EV chargers will benefit you and your guests.
  • There’s the option for a free, fully-funded consultancy process at no extra cost. Click here to see if your location qualifies as a RAW Host Partner. 

Are you ready to join the hospitality sector’s fast-growing EV charging infrastructure network? RAW Charging is on hand to provide risk-free revenue and seamless EV charging solutions to your location. 

Contact the friendly RAW Charging team for installation information, or browse Our Process and Ownership Options.

Industry celebrates the return of HRC

On 21-23 March, the foodservice and hospitality industry descended on ExCeL London for the highly anticipated return of Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC).

Packed with innovative suppliers, insightful discussions and top chefs, HRC 2022 was a must-attend event for hoteliers, restauranteurs and caterers to efficiently source quality products and stay ahead of industry trends.

Taking place alongside The Pub Show, IFE, International Food & Drink Event, IFE Manufacturing and The London Produce Show for the first time, this year’s event delivered a comprehensive offering for the entire food, drink, hospitality and foodservice sector.

Powerful thought leadership was placed front and centre, with a diverse range of speakers debating some of the industry's most business-critical trends and challenges on the show’s Vision Stage, designed by Harp Design and curated by EXP101.

In addition to the Tech X stage, which hosted a wide range of sessions covering all things related to hospitality technology, this year’s event also featured two additional conferences: The Better Hospitality Conference by Tried & Supplied and Hospitality’s Talent Conundrum by Hospitality Jobs UK.

HRC Event Manager Ronda Annesley commented: “We were thrilled to have the support of such fantastic content partners for this year’s event. EXP101 brought some fantastic debates and industry heavy hitters to the Vision Stage at HRC, providing insightful and practical advice and guidance for our audience.”

Kate Nicholls OBE, CEO of UKHospitality, joined an all-star session examining the industry’s recruitment and retention challenges, and commented: “It’s fantastic to be back at HRC, reuniting with the hospitality industry and debating the most important issues facing the sector.

“Hospitality professionals are dynamic, innovative and entrepreneurial people and it’s been great to see the industry back meeting face-to-face and doing business.”

As part of The Pub Show at HRC, the Vision Stage included a session from KAM unveiling brand new research on the pub and bar sector, followed by a session on the return of the pub featuring British Institute of Innkeeping’s Steven Alton, Louise MacLean of Signature Pubs, Joby Mortimer of Brakes, James Nye of Anglian County Inns and Yummy Pubs’ Anthony Pender.

Pender remarked: “By bringing so many events together under one roof, HRC and associated shows make it a worthwhile day out of my business to really take stock and look for future innovation. A great day well spent.”

Katy Moses, MD of KAM, added: “It was great being at HRC this year. After two years of Zooms, being face-to-face with industry colleagues was a breath of fresh air. The Pub Show at HRC is the place to get industry insight, network with peers and understand the trends in the hospitality industry.”

Live cooking from the UK’s top chefs

As always, top quality food was a central component of HRC. This year’s edition saw the return of the hugely popular The Staff Canteen Live, with top British chefs cooking their favourite meals live and sharing their wisdom with the show’s audience.

Among the chefs at this year’s event was celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, who commented: “HRC is an opportunity for people to showcase new equipment, new ideas, innovation with products and it's a great place for chefs to network and see what's going on.”

Historic chef competition International Salon Culinaire returned to HRC to celebrate its 120th anniversary, with hundreds of chefs competing to impress the event’s prestigious panel of judges.

Salon Director Steve Munkley said: “We’re back! Salon Culinaire 2022 was an outstanding success, with all the theatre kitchens buzzing from early doors till the last competition. I was so proud to see the industry showing off its professionalism, hunger and tenacity, not letting anything stand in the way of getting us back on track and cooking. An amazing show, here’s to 2023, so start practicing!”

Hospitality suppliers hail the success of the show

In addition to the industry leading seminar programme at HRC 2022, the show was packed with quality suppliers across the pub sector, hospitality tech, professional kitchen equipment, foodservice and design & décor.

Jack Doolan, Director of Flightcase Bars, commented on the company’s partnership with The Taproom, which showcased a range of breweries at the show: “We had a blast powering The Taproom at HRC this year. It was great to see so many people from the trade back together, and the atmosphere at ExCeL was electric! Our thanks to the Montgomery Group team for looking after us, and for their enthusiasm and faith in Flightcase Bars. We're looking forward to making The Taproom bigger and better in 2023!”

In the Professional Kitchen section of the show, Foodservice Equipment Association Chair and Grande Cuisine Director Steve Hobbs said: “It’s great to be back at an exhibition after two years of not being able to meet and greet face-to-face. It's been a really great show for us, we've been able to showcase and launch the Grande Cuisine academy and it's been a great opportunity to get back in front of the dealers, distributors and consultants.”

HRC will return to ExCeL London on 20-22 March 2022, stay up to date with all the latest news at hrc.co.uk. The Vision Stage and Tech X stage panel discussions will soon be available on demand on the HRC Connects platform.