Top 100: Danny Pecorelli, Exclusive Hotel and Venues

19 April 2018 by
Top 100: Danny Pecorelli, Exclusive Hotel and Venues

Overall ranking: 65 (78 in 2012)

Hotelier ranking: 12 (16 in 2012)


Danny Pecorelli is the managing director of Exclusive Hotels and Venues, which owns and operates four country house hotels, two venues, a golf club and a pub in the south of England. The business was founded in 1981 by his father, Giuseppe Pecorelli, with the purchase of Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey.

As well as being awarded The Caterer's Hotelier of the Year 2014 and holding the current vice-chairmanship of the Master Innholders, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Essex last year and oversaw the business double its turnover to £50m in the year to 2014.

What we think

It may have been easy for Pecorelli to rest on his laurels, revelling in the success of the five-star, 123-bedroom Pennyhill Park hotel in Surrey, which sits in a 120-acre estate and was the AA Hotel of the Year in 2002. But Exclusive has gone from strength to strength under Danny Pecorelli's stewardship, a passionately committed hotel operator who regards people as the greatest strength of his business.

When appointed Hotelier of the Year in 2014 he used the platform to call on his industry colleagues to get behind hospitality colleges and training initiatives to shore up the talent pool for the future - a priority he practises as well as preaches. Pecorelli is a passionate supporter of the University of Essex's Edge Hotel School, holding masterclasses, providing scholarships and mentoring students; and Exclusive spent around £50,000 on sponsoring a suite at the school's training hotel Wivenhoe House.

In 2014 the company launched its own Chefs' Academy to attract aspiring young people to the industry and fast-track chefs to the level of chef de partie - and considering the hotel group has consistently maintained three separate Michelin-starred restaurants, with Matt Worswick at the Latymer at Pennyhill Park most recently winning back its star - the group's focus on its food is unwavering.

A £1m cookery school within the grounds of Lainston House hotel, near Winchester, Hampshire, opened in 2015 - providing an opportunity for hotel guests to access this knowledge and skill base.

And Pecorelli doesn't just pay attention to what hospitality is doing to win staff and guests, but he is also aware of what other industries are doing to keep and attract staff - a visit to Google's London office inspired a refurbished staff canteen and a relaxation area with a table-top games machine at South Lodge, for instance.

He is also a champion of industry charities such as Springboard and Hospitality Action, regularly taking part in the charity's Back to the Floor event in which leading hoteliers became waiters for the night. Additionally, he is vice-chairman of the Master Innholders.

Pecorelli's focus on moving the business forward is evident in the plans for a £7.5m spa at South Lodge, a standalone eco-friendly building in the grounds of the hotel expected to open in summer. It is hoped the spa will drive leisure guests to the property as it has done for Pennyhill Park, where the spa is responsible for 25% of the hotel's income. The spa has been funded in part by 8.5% of the group's annual turnover, which is always put aside for capital investment to constantly develop and improve the group's offering and create 'wow' experiences for guests.

Pecorelli is a truly committed hotelier who works tirelessly to continually improve Exclusive Hotels and Venues, as well as work for the wider good of the industry.

Further information

Exclusive Hotels and Venues to buy Castle Inn in Castle Combe >>

Annual Hotel Conference: hoteliers need to embrace the challenge and opportunities of change, says Danny Pecorelli >>

Honorary degrees for Sir Garry Hawkes and Danny Pecorelli >>

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