The Independent Hotelier award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the independent hotel sector. An independently spirited pioneer, recognised for excellence, with a reputation for pushing boundaries and creating exceptional guest experiences. Above all, the winner is someone committed to the development of their team, the success of their establishment and the industry at large.
Starting his career at Hotel Du Vin in 2007, Adam then took the position of front of house manager at Hand Picked Hotels’ Nutfield Priory Hotel & Spa before moving to South Lodge Hotel in March 2011 and then Bannatyne Spa Hotel in Hastings. Since becoming general manager of Georgian House in 2015, Adam has project managed a £2 million + refurbishment, innovatively expanded its guest offering and achieved five-star status for the Grade II-listed property. A champion of the industry, Adam is a Guardian Member of Hospitality Action, Chair of the Sussex Branch of the Institute of Hospitality and a St Julian Scholar.
Thirty-four years after graduating, Claire is as passionate as ever about hospitality as a career of choice. She joined the award winning Lucknam Park as General Manager nineteen years ago and has been Managing Director for the last seven. She has driven change with the addition of innovative facilities, successfully improving the profitability of the business without compromising on the core value of service excellence. But the heart of Lucknam are its people and she loves nothing more than spending time developing her loyal team with some great success stories. Claire is a St Julian Scholar committee member since attending Cornell in 2008, is also on the board of Pride of Britain Hotels and a Master Innholder.
David and Charlotte Reilly
David and Charlotte Reilly bought Yorebridge House in 2006 renovating the Victorian school buildings into a beautiful boutique hotel/restaurant. A standing start business, the buildings had never before been used for hospitality. They achieved AA 5 star/3 rosette status on first inspection, and have since won numerous awards including VisitEngland Small Hotel of the Year England 2016 and VisitEngland Guest Accommodation of the Year 2018.
The Queensberry Hotel
Laurence began working at the age of 14 as a Housekeeping Porter at The Selsdon Park Hotel. Straight from school, Laurence joined The Savoy Group as a management trainee, eventually becoming F&B manager of the Savoy Hotel age 25, before joining Cliveden Ltd as General Manager if their London Townhouse, then transferring to Bath as GM of The Royal Crescent Hotel, and eventually becoming Operations Director for the group. For the last 15 years Laurence has been the proud owner, alongside his wife Helen, of The Queensberry Hotel and Olive Tree Restaurant. Laurence’s belief in an old-fashioned, hands on, service led culture, coupled with a constant desire to invest in the quality and character of this boutique hotel and restaurant is the reason that The Queensberry Hotel continues to be regarded as one of the West Country’s finest Independent Hotels.
Rudding Park Hotel
Peter began his career as a management trainee at The Savoy, and went on to work at St Andrew’s Old Course Hotel and the Hilton on Park Lane. In 1996 he moved to Yorkshire to open Rudding Park Hotel and in 2003 Peter, and the owner of Rudding Park, drew up plans for the development of the business and Peter was appointed Managing Director. Peter has achieved remarkable success with Rudding Park receiving numerous accolades over the years, most recently Hotel of the Year (Visit England); Best Hotel Spa in the UK (The Sunday Times) and was the only UK Hotel entered in TripAdvisors’ Inaugural Hall of Fame. One of Peter’s key strengths is his vision to quickly respond to external forces and adapt the business to ensure its continued success. A Master Innholder, Peter is innovative, firm but fair, a tremendous motivator, loved by guests and respected by his team.
Watergate Bay Hotel and Another Place, The Lake
Will worked within the hospitality industry in Kenya, Switzerland and North America before returning to Cornwall in 2000 to take over the running of the family hotel, Watergate Bay Hotel. Committed to extending his distinctive approach to hospitality, ‘active relaxation’, Will launched the Another Place collection of hotels in 2015. Another Place, The Lake opened in August 2017.