Peter de Savary

12 May 2005
Peter de Savary

Overall ranking: 99

Hoteliers ranking: 26


Peter de Savary is an international entrepreneur whose interests have encompassed hospitality, oil, steel and ships. He was a millionaire by the age of 30.

De Savary currently owns Bovey Castle, the eight-bedroom White Hart hotel and the Sandy Park Inn in Devon; the London Outpost of Bovey Castle; the Cherokee Plantation in Carolina; Carnegie Abbey in Rhode Island, New York; and the Abaco Club on Winding Bay in the Bahamas.

Career guide

De Savary was born in Essex in 1944. He started out as a landscape gardener in Canada at the age of 17 and made his first fortune selling wheat to Africa.

He opened the first St James's Club in London in 1979 and built up the chain with venues in Antigua, Paris, Los Angeles, and New York.

The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle in Dornoch, Scotland, opened in 1995 and was followed by the London Outpost of the Carnegie Club, Stapleford Park hotel in Leicestershire, the Cherokee Plantation, and Carnegie Abbey.

In 2004, de Savary opened Bovey Castle in April and the Abaco Club in December. This year, he added the grade II-listed Sandy Park Inn in Chagford to his Devon estates.

What we think

De Savary is now into his third wave of exclusive properties that take the form of private members' clubs. On route, his restoration projects have won him many tourism and architectural awards.

His perception of a gap in the market for small, personal hotels with the facilities of grander properties led to the creation of the St James' Clubs from 1979.

After selling the chain in the late 1980s for more than £56.6m, he set about restoring Skibo Castle in Scotland. This became the first Carnegie Club property (complete with championship golf courses) when it reopened in 1995 after a five-year, £15.5m revamp.

De Savary sold the Carnegie Club to a group of members for £27m in 2003, two years after he sold Stapleford Park hotel. By now he was absorbed in the £12m revamp of the Manor Hotel near Dartmoor National Park which he bought from Le Méridien in 2002. The art deco-styled hotel reopened in 2004 as the five-star, 65-bedroom Bovey Castle resort with 22 lodge houses for founding members to buy.

His next opening, the Abaco Club, went a step further. The luxury golfing resort not only offers townhouses for members to buy but is selling 69 lots for them to design and build their own homes on. De Savary's newest project is a resort and club that will open in Tuscany in 2006.

In the mid-1980s, de Savary won a clutch of tourism awards for the restoration of hotels in Berkshire and Cornwall. They included Littlecote House hotel near Hungerford, which he sold in 1996, along with a project to revive the area around the Land's End hotel in Cornwall. He sold it in 1991 along with the John O'Groats hotel in Scotland where he had secured planning permission for a tourism development.

De Savary is involved in many charities and founded the Victory Trust in 1983 to help underprivileged and handicapped children.

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