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23 Apr 2024

Hotelier Edit: Barnaby Pazio, General Manager, Cow Hollow Hotel

Hotelier Edit: Barnaby Pazio, General Manager, Cow Hollow Hotel

The team had a lovely visit to Cow Hollow Hotel, a restored, turn-of-the-century textile mill, now home to an inspired 16-bed boutique hotel. Each of their rooms are beautifully designed, luxurious & affordable and it was great to receive a tour! We spoke with the hotels General Manager, Barnaby Pazio about his varied experience within the hospitality industry, the Manchester hotel market and more. 

Tell us about yourself and your experience.

Cow Hollow 1I have been working in hotels for nearly 10 years, but 15 years of my experience has been in customer service. I spent 9 years of that at the hotel I worked at previously and have been the General Manager at Cow Hollow for seven months. I have worked through multiple different job roles, beginning as a waiter and then nights reception, oncierge and Guest Relations Manager and then Reception Manager. I have moved through my career at a steady pace, and I feel this was the right time for me to take on the role of General Manager.

What encouraged you to make that decision?

There was nothing in particular that ever made me think it was something I wanted to do. In my previous roles I was very front facing and always loved talking to people, I have always naturally been able to get on with people easily and build rapport with them. All my job roles have always naturally suited my personality traits and it has been a journey I have really enjoyed.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Coming in at the start of the day and interacting with people. It is different to a normal office job where you don’t have versatility or variation. Our guests all have different expectations, if they’re here for a special occasion and if you know that you can make sure to say Happy Birthday and Cow Hollow 3just make them feel valued. I enjoy the people aspect of my role.

What inspired the design of Cow Hollow?

The owners did all the design by themselves and are the ones that inspired it. They have always travelled a lot and when they would see things, they liked they would pick it up. When you walk around you will see the variation, for example from the Middle East which brings a nice, relaxed kind of Oasis feel to Manchester. There is a nice flow and energy, all the different items fit nicely and blend.

There is a boutique feel here, the name came from a district in San Francisco called Cow Hollow and it is renowned for its independence, bougie, eclectic, trendy places.

How do you think Cow Hollow Hotel differentiates itself in Manchester’s competitive hospitality seat?

As a hotel with 16 bedrooms, you can’t get much more boutique than that. We aim for the service here to be the best possible, we interact with all our guests and make sure to keep in touch with them. We offer a lot of complimentary bonusses as we don’t want to be the kind of hotel where everything costs extra once you’re here. We offer complimentary nibbles, tea and coffee with cookies and milk at nighttime and bedtime treats. There is a fruit bowl downstairs that all guests are welcome to help themselves too and we give complimentary sweets when Cow Hollow 3they arrive. We like to add these little touches such as having Netflix logged in on the TV as well as the standard so they can see we are going above and beyond.

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting a career in hospitality?

It’s not easy, it is rewarding in the way that you are always communicating with people and dealing with them. Building the mentality to always be prepared to work and sticking at it is crucial. If you put in the hours, you will be rewarded for it.

How does Cow Hollow balance modern tech?

I like to be old school and aim to do pre arrival calls with the guests if I can. Of course, other mediums help this like emails or external platforms such as or Expedia, but using their names etc. is very good to personalise the messaging. The emails we send out for check-in information are quite quirky and cute, they use humour and wit as we don’t want to stick with boring generic messaging. This is all written by the owner, which makes it personal.

What is the best piece of business advice or general advice that you have received?

It is probably from my first job, I was knocking on doors and the manager there said, make sure you always look after your people and staff as they’ll repay you twice. This always stuck with me.

What’s your approach to recruitment and retention of staff?

Retrain for as long as possible, a good rule of thumb is after two to three years you should always look at new job opportunities if the role is not available to grow into and I'll always be supportive to someone if they found a role better suited to them or if they wanted to explore a different field.

In terms of my recruitment, I don’t like to mess around and it is important to get the right match for my team. New recruits have to accompany my existing team’s strengths and weaknesses well. We use LinkedIn and Indeed to find most of our staff.

If your hotel had a theme song, what would it be?

Crazy Train by Ozzy Ozbourne.

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