Chistopher Cowdray was born in Zimbabwe, and earned a degree in hotel management there, before studying at Columbia University, New York City. He graduated from the Columbia Business School’s Executive Program, and went on to manage hotels in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and the United Kingdom, including being the managing director of the Claridge Hotel in London. In 2004 he became the general manager at The Dorchester Hotel in London, and in 2007 he was appointed as the CEO of the Dorchester Collection. He has thirty years of experience in the hotel industry. In 2013 he was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, at the European Hospitality Awards,for his achievements with the Dorchester Collection.
The reputation the Dorchester Collection of hotels enjoys today has been earned in large part by acting ethically and by being willing to carefully listen to their customers. Cowdray places much importance on treating customers as individuals, and encourages the leaders under him to avoid impersonal, standardized service. The impact of social media on the hospitality industry, as well as the growing needs and expectations of customers for the latest technology, have been among the challenges that have faced Cowdray. He has stated that the single biggest challenge to all luxury service organizations worldwide is finding talented employees with an attitude of eager willingness to accept and meet demands.
There can be no doubt that he is a man of passionate ambition and innovation. He desires to see hotels added to the Dorchester Collection, even if slowly, by finding properties that compliment them and enable them to remain true to the reputation they hold. His success is an inspiration.