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Danny Pecorelli

21 September 2006

Overall ranking: 90 (new entrant)

Hoteliers ranking: 22

Danny Pecorelli is the managing director of Exclusive Hotels, which owns and operates four of the UK's top-tier country house hotels in the South of England.

The business was founded in 1981 by his father, Giuseppe Pecorelli, with the purchase of the jewel-in-the-crown Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey. Giuseppe had correctly identified a niche for up-market meetings and leisure facilities in luxury country house settings.

Over the next 10 years, the Pecorellis added three more country house hotels and two golf clubs.

The four hotels are all AA Top 200 properties that hold five or four red stars and three or four red restaurant rosettes. Its Mannings Heath golf club is the only golf club in the UK with a rosetted restaurant.

Exclusive now has a £34m turnover business and more than 500 staff.

It is currently giving a fifth hotel - Fanhams Hall in Ware, Hertfordshire - the Exclusive makeover.

Danny Pecorelli - Career guide
Danny Pecorelli, who was born in 1966, embarked on a four-year training programme from 1988 that saw him work in the kitchens and the restaurants of London's Savoy hotel and the Four Seasons Inn on the Park.

After graduating from Cornell University Summer School, Pecorelli spent a year working for Sheraton in the USA in sales and marketing.

In 1991, he became general manager of Exclusive's Mannings Heath Golf Club in Sussex which had on acquisition been a private members' club with a £600,000 turnover. Over the next three years, he doubled its turnover and developed a new club house and a second 18-hole championship course.

In 1994, he turned his attention to the four-star, £2.5m-turnover South Lodge hotel in Sussex where he achieved year-on-year growth, record profits and an AA red star rating.

Danny took over as managing director in 1997 when his father assumed the role of chairman.

Danny Pecorelli - What we think
The Pecorelli's vision is to provide hotels with flair and personality, great leisure facilities and technical innovation in extensive country settings.

To achieve his aim of giving guests "an exceptional experience, not a mundane event", Pecorelli benchmarks Exclusive against the best in the business - Four Seasons for the hotels, Chewton Glen for leisure, Petrus for food and the Grove for conferences.

The highly-distinctive properties include the Victorian South Lodge in Sussex, Lainston House near Winchester, and the 14th-Century Manor House in Wiltshire which boasts a Peter Allis-designed golf course along with 13 recently-refurbished cottage suites.

The newest hotel - Fanhams Hall, which Exclusive acquired in October 2005 - is a listed Jacobean property sporting a Japanese-style garden with waterfalls and an ornamental tea house.

But its most famous hotel is the five-star, 123-bedroom Pennyhill Park in Surrey which sits in a 120-acre estate and, for four years, was a training ground for the England rugby union squad. The property was the AA Hotel of the Year in 2002.

In a bid to change the business mix from 90% corporate to 50% leisure, Pecorelli unveiled a £14m state-of-the-art spa at Pennyhill Park in 2004 which had been 10 years in the planning and was the most advanced in Europe. It offered thermal and herbal saunas, steam rooms, reflexology, ice grottos, a tepidarium and laconium, experience showers, 21 treatment rooms and exclusive lines of body products.

It was voted the Best Destination Spa in the 2005 Consumer Awards and has been augmented this year with more treatments.

Danny's belief in running the business through his staff is reflected in two of the group's nine core values - to "employ, respect, develop and support the right people" and to "trust and promote personality, individuality and autonomy".

The group also has a track record of customer-influenced innovation that has seen heated floors installed in the bedrooms, TVs with waterproof remotes in the bathrooms, and outside benches fitted with broadband access.

The group's Breakfast at Tiffany campaign, aimed at female corporate events bookers, won the Best Group Marketing Campaign in the 2006 Cateys for its attention to detail and staff incentives.

Danny Pecorelli - Further information

Exclusive Hotels official website

Read more about the CatererSearch 100, the list of the most influential people here

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