Mini-bio: Lydia Forte, Food & Beverage Manager for Rocco Forte Hotels, our family business. Irene Forte, Spas and Training & Development for Rocco Forte Hotels. We are sisters, who work together. Londoners with an Italian heritage.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
L: Our aunt, Olga Polizzi – runs her own two hotels, does all the interior design for ours, lots of philanthropic endeavours AND is an amazing grandmother, mother and wife. And Angela Merkel – because she is the best European politician we’ve seen in the last 20 years, bar no-one.
What is your favourite flower?
L: Orange blossom – we named a restaurant after it in our Verdura resort in Sicily (Zagara). I love fruit and vegetable plants and their flowers seem to me all the more beautiful because their plants have a whole other purpose as well.
How would you describe your personal style?
L: Feminine, never casual – always heels. Love colour and 70s vibes. Never too ‘on trend’ but like to mix looks up with fun accessories – earrings, shoes, bags.
What is your favourite Beulah piece this season?
L: Black velvet trouser suit. So glam!
What do you think Beulah stands for and the work it does through The Beulah Trust?
L: Beulah stands for feminist femininity. Ethical AND pretty. Great for the power woman who wants a feminine edge.
What drives you most in the work that you do?
L: I love food. And I love working with my family and for something that we can all be proud of. Our names are above the doors of every hotel, so every guest’s experience is a personal experience for us.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
L: Relaunching our restaurant in the Savoy hotel in Florence – Irene Firenze. I really succeeded in making it a place for locals, not just hotel guests. There’s delicious food there and a great vibe – glamorous but informal. I haven’t always got it right, but on this occasion, it really is somewhere I’d love to go twice a week.
What’s the best place to eat / hang out in London?
L: The Donovan Bar at Brown’s Hotel is great for a negroni and our scotch quail’s eggs are the dream. I love the River Café for weekend lunch or dinner – it’s a London institution since it was launched in the late 80s and still incredible service and Italian food to this day.
What is the best city you have been to?
L: To visit, St Petersburg – just incredibly beautiful and full of culture. I’m so lucky to get to go there for work as we have a hotel there – The Astoria. To live – London 100%. To retire – Roma!!
What is your favourite way to travel?
L: By train where possible. My absolute dream is a train journey through the UK direct to the Balmoral in Edinburgh, with great views along the way and a serious game of scrabble. Plus, you can check your phone and you don’t have to bother with airport security.
If you had to live in another country where would you move?
L: Italy. But I’d live anywhere for a year or two.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
L: Hopefully, none!
Where and when is your next trip?
L: To The Balmoral in Edinburgh for work.
If you could swap wardrobes with anyone who would it be?
L: One of my best friends – Nina Flohr. She has the best wardrobe of anyone I know and impeccable style.
Where do you look for fashion inspiration?
L: My mother who is perenially elegant yet unique in the way she dresses. And my sister – so often we end up with the same items of clothing or the same look totally by mistake. I always love checking out the fashion trends in different places I travel too. Usually, my favourite items of clothing or accessories are picked up somewhere totally random.