Nominations are still open for Hotelier of the Year 2016

25 July 2016
Nominations are still open for Hotelier of the Year 2016

The search is on for the next Hotelier of the Year, sponsored by Casna Group, to fill the shoes of last year's winner, Nick Jones, founder and chief executive of Soho House & Co. Janet Harmer reports

It also reflects the key movers and shakers who have impacted and shaped the way hotels have evolved over a generation and who continue to lead the way in inspiring others today.

Today we are looking to add to that list by selecting the 2016 Hotelier of the Year. We want to know who is leading the pack when it comes to running exemplary hotels, who is best inspiring their team, and who stands head and shoulders above all others in gaining the respect of the wider industry?

We are looking for someone who is making their mark in the world of hospitality just as impressively as some of our other winners, including the inaugural holder of the title in 1983, Richard Edwards, who turned the Chester Grosvenor into one of the UK's most impressive regional hotels. Terry Holmes, who carried off the title two years later, made his mark on the hotel industry, both at London's Stafford hotel, where he worked for 36 years, and within the wider industry. He continues to have an impact today as executive director of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection.

Another former winner whose longevity within the industry is equally renowned is Harry Murray, who was presented with the accolade in 1986 when he was general manager of the Imperial hotel in Torquay. Today, as chairman of Lucknam Park, he still inspires hoteliers, young and old, in the support he tirelessly gives to the likes of the Edge Hotel School, Academy of Culinary Arts and Master Innholders.

The Hotelier of the Year title has frequently been bestowed on operators who have created some of the UK's most exciting and inspiring hotels. Ken McCulloch (winner in 1993), was recognised for the huge influence he had
on the boutique hotel scene with One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow, before going on to launch the Malmaison chain. Today, he is still wowing the Glasgow hotel scene, having recently opened Dakota Deluxe.

Over the years there has also been Gordon Campbell Gray (2002), who made his mark with the environmentally-friendly One Aldwych in London; Robin Hutson (2003), co-creator of Hotel du Vin and Lime Wood and the Pig collection of hotels; and, of course, just last year, Nick Jones, who heads a portfolio of 17 properties, including Babington House and Soho Farmhouse.

Jones next project will, in fact, be one of his most ambitious yet - a 252-bedroom hotel in the City of London

What makes a Hotelier of the Year?

Personal attributes

  • Total commitment and dedication to the hospitality Industry
  • Demonstrates fair and decisive leadership skills
  • Excellent communicator
  • Well respected in the industry
  • Exemplary business track record
  • Innovative and creative
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Manages by example

Commitment to employees

  • Focuses on developing employees' careers and maximising potential
  • Willing to impart knowledge to employees
  • Organises staff surveys and acts on them
  • Empathic and approachable

Hotelkeeping skills

  • Runs well-maintained hotel that consistently surpasses its competitors
  • Consistency of delivery: ensures all guest stays exceed expectations
  • A personal touch with guests
  • Offers value for money
  • Develops and introduces new services to enhance customer experience

Commitment to industry

  • Supports government initiatives to promote hospitality as career of choice and raise standards of training
  • Engages with the local community to promote the industry
  • Supports hospitality organisations and events, both personally and with his/her hotel/business resources

Social responsibility

  • Contributes personally, and with hotel resources, to help charitable initiatives; involves staff in charitable or community events
  • Has a well-communicated and effective environment policy

How to nominate

The Hotelier of the Year award will be presented at a celebratory lunch at Soho Farmhouse in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire on 18 November 2016. The winner will then be introduced to the audience at the Hotel Cateys at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London, on 25 November. If you know a hotelier who embodies the many skills and qualities outlined above, please go to to nominate or email details with a
supporting statement to Martha Allardyce at by 29 July 2016.

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