Peter Tyrie

12 May 2005
Peter Tyrie

Overall ranking: 87

Hoteliers ranking: 23


Peter Tyrie has been a prominent figure on the luxury hotel scene both abroad and at home, where he was the founder of three upmarket hotel groups. His current venture, the Eton Group, owns and operates five luxury boutique and town house hotels in London, Leeds and Edinburgh.

Career guide

Tyrie, who was born in 1946, started his career at the age of 20 when he joined the reception staff at London's Savoy hotel. He progressed to the role of assistant manager of the capital's Carlton Tower hotel and became general manager of the Inverurie hotel in Bermuda between 1969 and 1971.

Returning to the UK, Tyrie opened the UK's first InterContinental hotel (the Portman in London) before setting up the hotel consultancy arm of PKF under Alan Hopper between 1973 and 1977.

After a stint as operations director at Penta Hotels, Tyrie founded Gleneagles Hotels in 1981. After selling on the four hotels he had developed to five-star standards, he spent the next three years based in Hong Kong as managing director for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.

He set up Balmoral International Hotels in the UK in 1990 but fell victim to the recession. He bounced back in 1999 with the newly-formed Eton Group, backed by a £52m cash injection from European Acquisition Capital.

What we think

After spending much of his career running and developing larger international luxury hotels, including such trophy properties as Gleneagles in Perthshire and the Balmoral in Edinburgh, Tyrie's third company, Eton Group, saw him become an early adopter of the boutique concept pioneered by Ken McCulloch and the Kemps at Firmdale Hotels. Eton was set up to develop smaller luxury properties with high standards of design, comfort and service in key city centres.

Tyrie is an outspoken critic of bland, formulaic hotel design and Eton hotels underline his passion for reviving the unique features of old buildings with history and heritage. For instance, the modernistic glass-walled Glasshouse uses the Gothic faÁ§ade of the now-demolished Lady Glenorchy church as an entrance. Only Threadneedles and the Colonnade have restaurants as Tyrie believes they do not normally work well in hotels.

With an eye to buying another 10 properties and extending the group into Europe, Tyrie is now looking for a new business partner. Barcelona, Madrid, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and more London sites are all on his wish list. For the future, Tyrie will abandon the town house concept in favour of the higher-notch boutique format, although plans to sell the Colonnade and Academy have been dropped.

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