Richard is a great example of a ‘Human of Hospitality’ having worked in the sector almost all of his working life. Richard started the business with his Dad and his family, and recognises all that his family risked, even selling grandma’s house to purchase a run down manor, covered in vines and a somewhat dilapidated air. They started small with only 7 bedrooms, but had a vision and a yearning to create something special and to look after people. That journey was tough in those earlier years and he very nearly lost it all before the adventure had really even properly started. But the stars aligned and through working hard and never losing site of the vision, and in many ways fulfilling his destiny through partnership, investment, continual improvement and not being in a hurry to expand, Richard and his team have created something beautiful.
Regular listeners will know that I have a love of the independent side of the sector. What Richard has created would not be of interest to the global brands of the world. It’s too small and eclectic and complicated and challenging to run. A number of properties, arguably with not enough rooms to make operations easier in the traditional sense of operating hotels and restaurants. But the properties look stunning and it takes people like Richard to create and operate such miniature beauties. I hope his story, along with the those of the likes of Robin Hutson and Gerrard Basset sleeping on the sofa in the bar because they could not afford to employ people overnight, will inspire others to know that you don’t have to start a business with unlimited resources to invest.
We touch on re-wilding land, the early benefits of naivety, 18% mortgage rates, the dangers of michelin stars, running venues as satellites, wider challenges and opportunities for the sector in 2021 and our mutual hope that people will strive for a more simple, perhaps less luxurious life, where time with other humans is the greatest priority over and above material items.