Overall ranking: 44 (new entry)
Hotelier ranking: 6 (new entry)
As executive director of Iconic Luxury Hotels, Andrew Stembridge is the custodian of some of the UK's most celebrated country house hotels. Today the collection includes the five-red-AA-star, 72-bedroom Chewton Glen in New Milton, Hampshire; the five-red-AA-star, 48-bedroom Cliveden, Berkshire; the four-AA-star, 78-bedroom Lygon Arms in Broadway, Worcestershire; and the 56-bedroom 11 Cadogan Gardens in London. Iconic sits within a wider collection of more than 70 hotels owned by the £9b private investment company London & Regional Properties.
A graduate of the Scottish Hotel School at the University of Strathclyde, Stembridge entered the industry in 1993 as front-of-house manager at One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow under legendary hotelier Ken McCulloch. After stints at McCulloch's Malmaison hotel group and as assistant manager at Blantyre, a Relais & Châteaux property in Lenox, Massachusetts in the US, he joined Chewton Glen first time around in 1997 as assistant manager, moving up to operations manager before returning to Scotland for his first general manager role at the Scotsman hotel, Edinburgh. He returned to Chewton Glen as managing director in 2003 and oversaw the transition of the hotel when it was acquired by London & Regional Properties from its founders Martin and Brigitte Skan in 2006. He was awarded Hotelier of the Year in the 2010 Hotel Cateys.
What we think
The Caterer's Hoteliers' Hotels Top 100 poll in 2016, and the recipient of countless other accolades - into a different era following its sale, for a rumoured £30m, by the Skans. Specifically, he has embraced the family market with great success, creating a luxury resort where all ages are welcomed and catered for. It has seven treehouse lodges and a combined casual-dining restaurant and cookery school with celebrity chef James Martin as its public face. Next on the cards is a new children's club, catering for toddlers to teenagers, in the hotel grounds. Stembridge has proved beyond any doubt that a luxury hotel offer can be totally compatible with the requirement of family guests.
As his remit has expanded in recent years, the new additions to Iconic Luxury Hotels have benefitted from his exquisite attention to detail and exemplary service standards. He has overseen extensive renovations at Cliveden and the Lygon Arms, acquired by London & Regional Properties in 2012 and 2016 respectively, while incorporating 11 Cadogan Gardens, which it has been operating since early 2017 under a management agreement with the owner. The core behaviours Stembridge has put in place at Chewton Glen - confidence, intuition, teamwork, flexibility, respect, ownership, passion, pride and integrity - have all been transferred to the other hotels.
While Stembridge has fully taken on board the need to ensure the hotels he oversees operate in the most efficient manner, he believes that genuine hospitality -caring for both staff and guests - is what will ultimately drive their success. He is the epitome of the contemporary hotelier with his inclusive management style and creative thinking.
Stembridge is respected and liked by his peers and always happy to welcome competitors who may want to glean some of the magic created at Chewton Glen. "We've always been accessible and are very happy that hoteliers look to us as a reference," he told The Caterer last year. "We're very open, honest and friendly, and we are proud of what we do."
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