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The Caterer

Andrew Stembridge

12 May 2005
Andrew Stembridge

Overall ranking: 94

Hoteliers ranking: 25

Snapshot

Andrew Stembridge is the managing director of Chewton Glen country house hotel in New Milton, Hampshire.

Chewton Glen was a pioneer of the country house hotel style and has set benchmark standards for the industry since it was bought as an eight-bedroom property in 1966 by Martin and Brigitte Skan.

The Relais & Chateau member is now an AA top 200 hotel with 59-bedrooms (22 of them suites), a state-of-the-art spa, six function rooms and facilities for golf, tennis, swimming, croquet and putting. It has held five AA red stars since 1993 and a Michelin star since 1984.

Career guide

Stembridge, who was born in Edinburgh in 1971, started his career with a BA honours degree in hotel management and tourism from the University of Strathclyde's Scottish Hotel School. In 1988 he was awarded a scholarship to take the General Manager's Programme at Cornell University in the USA.

Stembridge started his career in Ken McCulloch's first boutique properties. From June 1993, Stembridge served as front-of-house manager at the four AA-red-star One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow and from June 1994 he was food and beverage manager at the first Malmaison hotel in Edinburgh and then its younger sibling in Glasgow.

In May 1995, Stembridge moved to the USA to become assistant manager at the five-star Relais & Chateau Blantyre hotel in Lenox, Massachusetts.

In January 1997, Stembridge served his first stint at Chewton Glen, working as operations manager under Peter Chrome. He became general manager of the brand new Scotsman hotel in Edinburgh in March 2001, before returning to Chewton Glen in October 2003 as managing director.

What we think

Stembridge is a young high-flier whose career will be tracked with some interest. Having worked at some of the UK's top hotels, he hopes eventually to manage a small chain of hotels.

He has already proved he is no slouch in attaining his targets. After studying at Cornell University, Stembridge set himself the goal of becoming a general manager by the age of thirty. He achieved this ambition when he joined the Scotsman hotel in March 2001, a month before he hit the big three-0.

The Scotsman was created by hotelier Jonathan Wix, who told Caterer in 2001, "I create pretty real estate and then someone else has to create a living hotel from it." That someone else was Stembridge, who succeeded in putting the Scotsman on the map to become one of the AA's top 200 hotels with five red stars.

At Chewton Glen, Stembridge has some dauntingly big boots to fill. Among its dozens of awards, the hotel has won the Caterer Hotelier of the Year award for both founder Skan (in 1991) and for Stembridge's predecessor Chrome (in 2000, when the hotel itself won the Caterer & Hotelkeeper Catey Independent Hotel of the Year award). Chrome's predecessor Robin Hutson went on to scoop the Hotelier of the Year award in 2003 for his subsequent creation of the Hotel du Vin boutique chain.

Stembridge is a team player who sees himself as a catalyst whose role is to motivate and empower his senior managers. To that end, he runs regular innovations sessions to stimulate creative ideas from staff and holds monthly management meetings to determine what each department has achieved for the business.

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