Access Control solution at The Ritz is a class ACT

When The Ritz made the decision to enhance it’s security by installing an access control system for staff and contractors, they chose R&D Security to advise on and carry out the project. The result is an easy-to-use yet highly effective system that can be expanded in line with the hotel’s on-going plans to provide the best facilities and service in the industry.

The Ritz London is one of the world’s greatest and most renowned hotels. For over a century it has been the benchmark by which other hotels are measured. A London landmark at 150 Piccadilly, The Ritz has been home to the great and the good, the intelligentsia, the glitterati and thousands of discerning guests since 1906.

An access control system was required to fulfil a number of criteria. Firstly, they wanted to minimise and prevent the possibility of crime within the hotel. They also required different levels of security depending of the area to be secured.
With plans underway to expand The Ritz, Barry Gendron, Head of Security, wanted a system that would cope with the increased levels of staff. “This was the right time to install an access control system,” he says. “The effectiveness of any security system is in the planning and we’ve ensured that our options are kept open for the future.”

Peace of mind for clients is essential, so the system employed needed to be highly effective yet unobtrusive. It was also important to Mr Gendron that the staff feel secure in their working environment for their own peace of mind and to ensure that they are able to continue to provide the highest levels of service.

Staff entrances can often be perceived as an easy option for gaining unauthorised entrance to hotels. “We obviously have a lot of staff and contractors entering the premises and this could be a weak spot in our security,” says Mr Gendron. To combat this, ACTpro-X 1040 proximity readers, supplied by Norbain SD, have been positioned at all staff entrances where employees must swipe in and out of the building. Once the card has been read, a picture of the card-holder is flashed up on the screen in the security control room, where a security officer can visually check that the person is who they say they are. Should any person attempt to enter the building who has previously been defaulted from the system, it will bar their entry and immediately warn the security team, allowing them to take prompt action.

Mike Topping, MD of installers R&D Security has been working with Mr Gendron at The Ritz for over 12 years and so a bond of loyalty and respect has developed between the two parties. “We use R&D Security for all our security requirements because we absolutely trust that they will provide us with a solution that is best suited to our requirements,” says Mr Gendron. “They always go the extra mile for us which offers the assurances we require for both the present and future.”

Mr Gendron is well qualified to protect the interests of customers at The Ritz. Having worked in the CID and Regional Crime Squad, he was involved with high level security long before he started work at the hotel 12 years ago. “Security isn’t just about putting the physical aspects of the job in place,” he explains. “It needs to be far more customer orientated than that. We develop our security team so that they play an active role in welcoming both new and regular clients to the hotel. This makes them very approachable to our visitors and gives the security team a deeper understanding of all our guests’ needs.”

Because of the emphasis The Ritz places on the welfare of its guests and employees alike, it has one of the largest security teams of any London hotel. This is enhanced even further when VIPs visit the hotel and Mr Gendron is required to liaise with external law enforcement agencies. “We are always looking to improve security and to move with the times,” he says. “This is why we’ve chosen an access control system that uses the latest technology and is fully expandable.”

The system has been a great success and has been received very positively by the security team. “R&D provided us with some excellent training which has meant that we’ve been able to get the system up and running very quickly with very few issues,”says Mr Gendron.