David Levin, Owner and Proprietor of The Capital Group
David Levin started as a commis waiter in 1952 in Glasgow at the Malmaison Restaurant in the Central Hotel. David worked his way through all key departments of British Transport Hotels, working long shifts and busy stints in the kitchens, housekeeping and reception. His hard work and determination paid off when he became a Manager in 1964 at the Hotel Lochalsh in Kyle, overlooking the Isle of Skye.
David Levin proceeded to complete his formal training at the Scottish Hotel School and graduated in 1954. Having worked in Paris at The Ambassador Hotel for a year in 1955 David felt the urge to return to the UK and became Manager at Stratford Upon Avon, for British Transport Hotels.
In 1965 David Levin fulfilled his dream to operate his own hotel and bought a charming 7 bedroom hotel called The Royal Oak in Yattendon, Berkshire, with the vision to revolutionize the then traditional English Pub, and was to pioneer the first „gastro pub‟ in the UK. Baking his own bread, serving great coffee in the bar, with oven roasted ducks, cosy log fires and creating the „hub‟ of English Village life
David Levin‟s dreams were to exceed that of a 7 bedroom hotel. His visions extended to that of building a „grand hotel in miniature‟. Once again he had revolutionary ideas, then unheard of, as most hotels were built with 400 rooms plus to accommodate growing tourism. He formed the idea for The Capital Hotel and Restaurant in 1969, and construction of the hotel started in 1970 on Basil Street Knightsbridge. The hotel opened in 1971, as the only London hotel combining the Hotel with a fine dining restaurant and employed an English Chef! – Richard Shepherd.
In 1974 Michelin published it‟s first ever guide in England, and only four Hotel Restaurants were awarded stars – The Capital Hotel and Restaurant received its first Michelin Star, along with The Connaught, The Inter-Continental and The Carlton Towers.
In 2003 The Capital Hotel Restaurant received the distinction of two Michelin stars. Many well known chefs launched their careers at The Capital and were mentored by David Levin; Richard Shepherd, Brian Turner, Paul Merrett and Gary Rhodes, for which David Levin opened the Greenhouse restaurant in Mayfair in 1977, which also was also awarded a Michelin star.
The Capital Group headed by David Levin has evolved into a collection of the finest hotels and restaurants with an enviable reputation for quality, service and customer care. L‟Hotel opened in 1981 with 12 bedrooms followed by the Le Metro Bar & Brasserie in 1983. The People‟s Palace restaurant in the Royal Festival Hall was managed by The Capital Group for 10 years.
In the autumn of 2007, L‟Hotel was re-launched as The Levin Hotel. Mr Levin‟s vision continues and stands the test of time often against all odds. This elegant 12 bedroom contemporary hotel is designed in 1930‟s style with fabrics by well known British Designers William Yeoward and Designers Guild, as well as lighting by Porta Romana. The popular and now refurbished Le Metro Bar and Brasserie continues to be a favoured haunt for the smart local set serving up excellent brasserie dishes as well as breakfast for The Levin‟s guests.
David Levin further demonstrates his knowledge and deep understanding of the hospitality industry with the opening of The London Bakery, which today produces breads and pastries for many of the top hotels and restaurants in and around London. Since 2004 following an extensive refurbishment The Capital Group manages 195 Piccadilly, the headquarters of BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in London. David Levin has also created a „state of the art‟ winery in the Loire Valley, France, aptly named LEVIN, producing award winning Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay and Rosé. Using the finest „New World‟ winemaking techniques and organic viticultural practices, his wine is served in many of the finest restaurants throughout Europe and exported to the US, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Australia.
During his years at the helm David Levin has received numerous awards for his hotels, restaurants and his wines. Subsequent accolades have included the highly prestigious „Restaurateur of the year‟ in 1991 and „Hotelier of the year‟ in 1994. David‟s commitment to the hospitality industry is wide ranging and unprecedented,
and he was the only person to be Visiting Professor at two Hospitality Universities; Oxford Brookes University and Strathclyde University. David Levin has funded a fully operational training restaurant at Oxford Brookes University, Brookes Restaurant. He was also Vice Chairman of London Tourist Board, a committee member of British Tourism Authority and Chairman of the British Hospitality Association and Executive Committee member of the British Hospitality Association, a position he fulfills to this day. David Levin also served as a Magistrate for 10 years and was a member on the main board of the NSPCC.
The Capital Hotel and Restaurant has been voted one of the top 15 business hotels in London by Conde Nast Traveller 2010, rated top restaurant in Knightsbridge by Zagat 2011; has won the Cesar Award 2008 for “London Hotel of the Year” by The Good Hotel Guide and the “Most Excellent Hotel Restaurant Award” 2008 by Condé Nast Johansen.
For further information on The Capital Group please visit www.capitalgroup.co.uk or contact Patricia Greenwood on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7591 1229.
David Levin on the cover of Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine from 1971, the date of opening.