Skip to main content
01 May 2024

Hotelier Edit: Bradley Lomas, Owner, Boys Hall

Hotelier Edit: Bradley Lomas, Owner, Boys Hall

The team visited the beautiful Boys Hall in Kent and experienced the hotel to the fullest with a delightful overnight stay. Boys Hall offers 9 unique bedrooms all telling their own tale ranging in size and character and set in the beautiful Kent countryside. We chatted to Bradley Lomas, Owner about the unique way him and his wife Kristie stumbled on the property, his experience within the hospitality industry, the highs and lows they have experienced whilst restoring Boys Hall and more.  

Tell us about yourself and your experience in the hospitality industry.

HeadshotI am middle-aged, ageing fast due to being in hospitality from a very young age. I suppose I fell into it in a very common way, got the bug and never left. My first job was working for a catering business, and I moved to cheffing and then front of house in pubs and bars.

What made you choose to pursue a career in hospitality?

Hospitality appealed to me as a fun, loving job that I kept gravitating back to, no matter what else I tried. I studied Information technology and business development at university, the whole time I was there I worked in hospitality and that was the part of my experience I loved the most. When I left University, I went travelling and continued working in hospitality and my experience in the industry just grew and grew and since then we haven’t been apart!

What do you think is your favourite part of your job?

People are very important, and I suppose building an environment that people want to enjoy. People make hospitality, whether that be the customers or the staff that you employ. The people for me are the bit that I just love, we work with some incredible characters, and you experience amazing highs and lows but that’s the journey of hospitality and is the bug that I suppose I am addicted to.

Tell us a bit more about the history of Boys Hall and what influenced you to take over the property.

It was slightly mental at the time, both Kristie and I were very ambitious without plans. We were both working in London, and I was running a pub group while she had a couple of bars in Kings Cross. Once we had our first child, we realised that we didn’t want to stay in London much longer and were trying to figure out a plan of our next steps. Every weekend that we had off we were escaping London and going to country manors, exploring what people were doing and concluded that it was very cool offering. When I was younger manor houses were seen as sort of stuffy and part of the elitest group but there were a few businesses and hotels that were starting to push those boundaries and create a more accessible casual experience.

Boys Hall kind of fell upon us, we had already put an offer in in North Wales near where I am from in Cheshire but that fell through. We continued viewing other places and then were back here visiting Kristie's parents and this place landed in our inbox. Neither her or her family had ever heard of it, we 1decided to view and as they say the rest is history. We fell in love with the building and had an idea of what we wanted to do and just went for it.

How different was the property when you first viewed it?

It was very different, of course the main structure and the history of the building was very much here, the functionality and useability of it was very different. A main issue was the backside of the property, the grounds were beyond repair, although it was beautiful we knew it was going to take a long time to get it to where we wanted it to be. We decided to take our time and enjoy the project, we were young and full of energy. If we knew back, then what we know now would we do it again? Probably not, but we had a lot of ambition and a dream.

What makes Boys Hall unique?

I think personality. What we work hard on here is the team and being able to create that experience of personalised, old-school hospitality. As soon as you walk through the door you are being looked after, the staff are engaging and happy to be here, so they are happy to help you. The product that we have is good, we have good food and drink, but you can go and get that elsewhere now, so I think what really sets us apart is the people and the personality you get.

How does Boys Hall bring eco conscious practices to the operations without compromising on guests?

It’s a multi layered approach, for every hotelier now it’s all about pushing and driving forward to make more decisions every day. Some of these are easily attainable and some you know you can only achieve when doing a restructure of the property. We put in a biomass boiler, so we are burning green. Every decision that we make in every element of the operations has got some form of a sustainable decision attached to it.

We are buying our milk in churns instead of plastic bottles where we can, we try and maximise the efficiency of the kitchen by minimising food waste, which is why our menu changes and is a lot smaller. I suppose there are a lot of things and in every element of operations we’re trying to make sure that we’re as sustainable as possible. We also focus on educating people that visit on how you can be greener in everyday decisions and changing those basic habits that we all have because we live such a fast-paced life now.

We are constantly focussing on how we can improve this and push forward as a small business.

How important do you think hospitality tech is to your business?

Tech is a difficult one, especially in our style property. We are a very old property and I suppose part of the charm of what we are is you feel like you go back in time. However, technology is extremely important because it’s everywhere. Something we are looking to invest in is the whole guest journey from booking to arriving to leaving. I think that is important and collecting the data and how it improves the guest journey.

2A challenge for the industry, especially operators, you can go and get an amazing platform that will do incredible things and then you can get a second one that also does great things but it’s how you tie them all together that ensures efficiency for the user. It is something that is constantly evolving and you have constantly got to be looking for the next things.

What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in the hospitality industry?

Be true to yourself if you have a love for hosting people never let that go. Some places you work you’ll find that they appreciate you for who you are, and other places probably won’t, but don’t ever let that defeat you. Keep going and just stay true to you as you are ultimately the most important.

What do you think is the greatest piece of business advice you have ever received?

I think that you have got to look after your team in this day and age. With the cost of payroll everything and in hotels and hospitality there are so many areas where you can lose money. It is impossible as an operator to have your finger on the pulse personally, so you must trust your team and you can only trust your team if they are empowered. If you look after your team, they’ll look after your business. I think that us the one thing that throughout my whole career has been the most important.

If Boys Hall had a theme song, what would it be?

Lenny Pearce, More passion, More energy.

Have you attended the Independent Hotel Show before? If so, what did you find valuable about your visit?

Yes, a few times! Listening to some of the seminars and hearing insights from people that work in various sectors is really interesting. I suppose being a hotelier outside of London you can sometimes have tunnel vision and feel jealous. Going somewhere like the Independent Hotel Show allows you to speak to the community and hear what they’re struggling with, and it makes everything a bit more relative. We really enjoyed wandering around the aisles and every seminar session we went to I took something away from.

Keep up to date with all things Independent Hotel Show including our exclusive Hotelier Edit interviews by signing up for our newsletter here

View all News Hub