Jonathan Slater, owner of Oddfellows Management Company which operates the Oddfellows Hotel Collection, has announced his decision to retire.
Slater, winner of the Outstanding Contribution Award at last year's Hotel Cateys, will pass the mantle to hotel management company Bespoke Hotels, which will take over the running of the group's two properties: Oddfellows Chester and Oddfellows on the Park.
The investors behind the collection will continue to own the hotels, which Bespoke will operate under a management contract following Slater's decision to move away from working full-time.
Slater has operated the boutique hotel brand for more than four years after stepping down from his role as managing director of the five-AA-star, 80-bedroom Chester Grosvenor having served 30 years in the position.
He masterminded the transformation of Oddfellows Chester from a four-bedroom restaurant with rooms in a Georgian townhouse to an 18-bedroom boutique hotel with apartments. In 2017 he launched Oddfellows on the Park, a 22-bedroom hotel, restaurant, bar and salon in Manchester.
He said: "Oddfellows are boutique hotels with a distinct personality and it has been a hugely rewarding creative process creating such a unique and interesting brand. I was honoured earlier this year with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Hotel Cateys and it seems a fitting time to make this decision.
Robin Sheppard, chairman of Bespoke Hotels, said: "We are delighted to be working with a distinctive and vibrant brand like Oddfellows Hotels. Our team's priority is to ensure business continues as usual, with guests continuing to enjoy the superb service they have come to expect. They are a pair of truly original boutique hotels, and we aim to celebrate this difference."
As well as being focused on his day job, Slater has for many years played an active role in the wider hospitality and tourism industries, as board member of the respective marketing organisations for Chester and Cheshire.
He has also contributed to the global hotel market as a founder director of the marketing consortium of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), sitting on the board for 21 years, including nine as chairman.
Slater began his career at Centre Hotels with the late hotel industry pioneer Henry Edwards, before moving to Lonrho in 1977 and working for its Metropole Hotels group in Birmingham and Brighton. He arrived at the Chester Grosvenor in 1983 - initially as a 28-year-old hotel manager - before being promoted to managing director 18 months later.
During his tenure, he oversaw the transformation of the hotel from a four-AA-star rating to a five-red-AA-star.Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).