The Caterer

Robin Sheppard heads list of honours at AA Hospitality Awards

23 September 2019 by
Robin Sheppard heads list of honours at AA Hospitality Awards

Robin Sheppard, chairman of Bespoke Hotels who is celebrating 50 years in the hospitality industry, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement accolade at the AA Hospitality Awards last night.

Held at JW Marriott's Grosvenor House hotel in London, the awards saw Sheppard lead a tally of winners, including Jason Atherton who was named Chefs' Chef for the widespread impact he has created in heading up the Social Company, comprising 18 sites worldwide.

In announcing the Lifetime Achievement Award, Simon Numphud, managing director at AA Media, referred to Sheppard's diagnosis in 2004 of Guillain-Barre Syndrome which initially resulted in paralysis from the neck down. It took two years of relentless physiotherapy to regain mobility before he went on to head the growth of Bespoke Hotels which today comprises a global portfolio of more than 200 properties.

Numphud described Sheppard's success as "an inspiration to us all, made even more remarkable given the determination to overcome those exceptional challenges and his continuing achievements", including his involvement in the creation of the Blue Badge Access Awards and appointment as chairman of the Institute of Hospitality.

Sheppard, who co-founded Bespoke Hotels with Haydn Fentum in 2000, told The Caterer that he was hugely honoured to receive the award two days after getting married. "I'm actually on cloud nine as tonight is the second night of my honeymoon and I'm sharing it with 1,000 people at Grosvenor House."

He described the hospitality industry as "the most wonderful family" that comprised "a fellowship that I cherish, but which I could never have previously anticipated".

With the widespread people shortage facing the sector, Sheppard said he would encourage young people to enter hospitality as it offers anyone with aptitude and energy to get promoted very quickly. "We as an industry need to do everything we can to ensure that hospitality is widely accepted as a career of choice."

Now 64, Sheppard said that he has no thoughts or retirement. "There is too much to do," he explained. "We are currently focused on opening three hotels in 2020: Hotel Brooklyn in February, with the Telegraph hotel in Coventry, the second Hotel Gotham (in Glasgow) and Sun Street hotel, near Liverpool Street, London, launching later in the year."


Lifetime Achievement Award • Robin Sheppard, chairman, Bespoke Hotels

Chefs' Chef

• Jason Atherton

Restaurant of the Year

• England – Fordwich Arms, Canterbury

• London – Cornerstone by Chef Tom Brown, London

• Wales – Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias, Colwyn Bay

• Scotland – Sugar Boat, Helensburgh

Hotel of the Year

• England – Chewton Glen, New Milton

• London – The Landmark, London, NW1

• Wales – The Grove, Narbeth, Pembrokeshire

• Scotland – The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder

• Northern Ireland – The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast

Pub of the Year

• England – Three Daggers, Edington, Wiltshire

• Wales – Glynne Arms, Hawarden, Flintshire

• Scotland – Meikleour Arms Public House, Perth

Spa of the Year

• Rudding Park Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Eco Hotel of the Year

• Carbis Bay Hotel, St Ives, Cornwall

Food Service Award

• The Ritz, London

Wine Award

• Overall Winner – Hampton Manor, Solihull, West Midlands

• Regional Awards: o England – Hampton Manor, Solihull, West Midlands o Wales – Penmaenuchaf Hall Hotel, Dolgellau o Scotland – Castle Terrace Restaurant, Edinburgh

Large Hotel Group of the Year

• Park Plaza Group

Small Hotel Group of the Year

• Inverlochy Castle Management International

Housekeeper of the Year

• Ankica Korzelius, St Ermins hotel, London

Wine Award

• Overall Winner – Hampton Manor, Solihull

• Regional Awards: o England – Hampton Manor, Solihull o Wales – Penmaenuchaf Hall Hotel, Dolgellau o Scotland – Castle Terrace Restaurant, Edinburgh

College Restaurant of the Year

• Academy, Cheshire Colleges South & West, Cheshire


New 5 Rosettes

• Lympstone Manor, near Exmouth, Devon

New 4 Rosettes

• Coworth Park, Ascot, Berkshire

• Grayetye Manor, East Grinstead, West Sussex

• Hipping Hall, Lancaster, Kirby Lonsdale, Lancashire

• Hrishi at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Windermere, Cumbria

• Old Downton Lodge, Ludlow, Shorposhire

• Roganic, London

• Sorrel, Dorking, Surrey

• The Angel at Hetton, Hetton, North Yorkshire

• The Greenhouse, London

• The Dining Room at Whatley Manor, Malmesbury, Wiltshire

5 Red Stars

• Foxhill Manor, Broadway, Worcestershire

• Cromlix Hotel, Kinbuck, Dunblane

• Alexander House hotel, Turners Hill, West Sussex

• Adare Manor, Adare, Limerick

• The Langham, London

• Hotel Café Royal, London

• Seaham Hall, Seaham, County Durham

• Torridon, Wester Ross, Torridon

4 Red Stars

• Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, Ballymena, County Antrim

• The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall

• The Painswick, Painswick, Gloucestershire

• St Ermins hotel, London

• The Montagu Arms hotel, Beaulieu, Hampshire

• Cavendish hotel, Baslow, Derbyshire

• Maison Talbooth, Dedham, Essex

3 Red Stars

• Bingham Riverhouse, Richmond upon Thames, Surrey

• The Pig at Combe, Honiton, Devon

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