Sue Williams, who has headed up some of the UK’s most iconic country house hotels and worked tirelessly in nurturing rising hoteliers and chefs, has been named as the 2017 Hotelier of the Year.
The general manager of Whatley Manor, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, was presented with her award at a celebratory lunch today at Northcote, Langho, Lancashire, by Janet Harmer, hotels editor of The Caterer, and Nick Appell of Casna Group, the award’s sponsor.
A judging panel – made up of past winners – praised Williams for her professionalism, constant search for excellence and commitment to young people starting out in the industry.
During a career that has spanned 36 years, Williams has been at the forefront of driving forward the business at the likes of Bemond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, the Bath Priory (where she was appointed to her first general manager role), Gidleigh Park, Cliveden House, and Whatley Manor, which she joined in September last year. At each establishment she has been instrumental in establishing a strong focus on the cuisine and most recently appointed Niall Keating as executive chef at Whatley Manor, who last month won a Michelin star for the hotel.
Most notably, in 2010 Williams co-founded the Ten out of Ten training programme for the luxury hotel sector, which offers candidates the opportunity to spend five months working in five of 10 participating properties.
Danny Pecorelli, managing director of Exclusive Hotels and Venues, and 2014 Hotelier of the Year, summed up Williams’ achievements: “Sue is one of the most professional hoteliers, and puts so much back into our industry in a quiet, selfless and unassuming way. Previously an unsung hero, it’s quite rightly her turn to shine.
Past winners of the 35-year-old Hotelier of the Year award who attended today’s lunch included Harry Murray (who won in 1986), Gordon Campbell Gray (2002) and Robin Hutson (2003).
Last year’s winner, Craig Bancroft, managing director of Northcote, hosted today’s event.
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