Hands-on ownership is the key to a successful hotel, according to the editors of the Good Hotel Guide 2005, out this week.
In the introduction to the guide, editors Desmond Balmer, Caroline and Adam Raphael point out: "Independent ownership, particularly by a family, is a common thread among the majority of hotels listed."
They quote two regular correspondents who summed up this year by saying: "In all the best places, the consistent hand of the owner could be felt at all times: while serving breakfast, welcoming new guests, being a presence in the restaurant in the evening, always making it look effortless and enjoyable."
Among the 115 new entries to the guide, the editors say they have detected "encouraging signs of a revival of independent hotels."
The editors add that the importance of the bond between hotel owners and their guests "is why we view hotel chains with caution".
They comment: "Good management is not enough in itself; a hotel takes its character from the personality of the owner."
The guide this year includes all six hotels in the Hotel Du Vin & Bistro chain, praising the "strong leadership of co-founder Robin Hutson."
But it claims the Malmaison boutique hotel chain "has lost its way since it was sold by its founder, Ken McCulloch."
The guide also fails to list any of several "long-standing favourites" bought by Von Essen over the past couple of years, saying: "Most of them, including the famous Sharrow Bay, at Ullswater, have been omitted because we lack positive reports of the new management."
It recommends hoteliers sleep in their own bedrooms: "If they did, they might hear those noises that keep their guests awake: banging fire doors, noisy plumbing, overactive bathroom fans, badly positioned kitchen extractors, nocturnal activities of next-door neighbours."
- The Good Hotel Guide has also announced the winners of its César Awards, named after legendary hotelier César Ritz. Click here for the full list.
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