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David Taylor has been in the business since he was 15 years of age, when he cheekily walked into the Hyatt Regency in Birmingham and talked himself into a work experience position.
Following several years of working at the hotel and determined to get to the top, he turned down a place to study at Oxford Polytechnic and became focused on climbing the career ladder.
Things really took off when he joined the Great Eastern, Sir Terence Conran’s exciting new hotel in the City. It was at this point that Taylor discovered not only the buzz of being involved in a hotel opening, but also the thrill of working alongside highly creative individuals – including Conran and managing director Nicholas Rettie – who want to shake up the traditional way of doing things.
Hence, he went on to play a pivotal role in the launch of the Hoxton and the London Edition, where he ensured the vision of Sinclair Beecham and Ian Schrager became a major hit with critics and guests alike.
At the Hoxton, which he has described as “a Holiday Inn on steroids”, the hotel engaged the public with its £1 flash room sales, breakfast bars filled with goodies, one hour’s worth of free phone calls at a time before mobile phones had taken over, and a lobby shop selling items at retail prices in place of mini bars.
The London Edition was equally groundbreaking, with Taylor translating Schrager’s concept into a sexy, exciting hotel, with restaurant Berner’s Tavern – created in partnership with chef Jason Atherton – at its heart.
While Taylor believes that his strength lies in being the wingman to those individuals who dream up crazy concepts, he is, of course, much more than that.
In his most recent role, as chief operating officer of Principal Hotels, Taylor, on behalf of owner Starwood Capital Group, took what was previously a disparate collection of run-down city hotels and turned them into vibrant venues with a strong connection to the locality and a solid focus on people engagement.
The hotels – in London and regional cities across the UK – have been universally praised for their energy, creative designs and locally-inspired F&B concepts.
Principal Hotels now has a new owner, French investor Convivio, with InterContinental Hotels Group appointed to manage the properties. There cannot be a more capable candidate than Taylor to ensure the continued success of these relaunched hotels.
What the judges said
“These are difficult times for our industry with Brexit looming. Strong, forward-thinking hoteliers are much needed and David is just this. He is an exciting operator and a very worthy winner.”
Gordon Campbell Gray, founder and chairman, CampbellGray Hotels, and 2002 Hotelier of the Year
“David has been at the vanguard of the new face of this industry for a number of years and is the type of inspiring leader hospitality needs in these challenging times.”
Robin Hutson, chairman and chief executive, Lime Wood Group & Home Grown Hotels, and 2003 Hotelier of the Year
“David is one of the dynamic hoteliers of the moment with a track record of innovative and award-winning openings. He is also one of the most respected hoteliers of our time and his holistic approach to creating new brands and building great teams is a formula that has earned him a loyal following.”
Andrew Stembridge, executive director, Iconic Luxury Hotels, and 2010 Hotelier of the Year