Tributes paid following death of Brown's hotel managing director Stuart Johnson

26 January 2023 by
Tributes paid following death of Brown's hotel managing director Stuart Johnson

Tributes have been paid to Stuart Johnson, managing director of Brown's hotel in London's Mayfair and the 2012 Hotelier of the Year, following his death.

Johnson had first joined the five-red-AA-star, Brown's hotel as general manager in 2005, two years after it was acquired by Rocco Forte from Raffles Hotels and oversaw a £25m refurbishment and reopening of the property.

He remained in the role for 11 years, before moving overseas for two years to oversee the development of Rocco Forte's Westbund hotel in Shanghai as well as serving as interim general manager of the Assila hotel, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Johnson returned to Brown's hotel as managing director in 2018 and had overseen the property throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sir Rocco Forte, owner of Rocco Forte Hotels, said: "Stuart Johnson was with Rocco Forte Hotels for 18 years and was instrumental in the positioning of Brown's hotel whilst contributing to the wider development of the company as an established player in the international luxury hotel scene.

"He was an extraordinary coach and mentor to his team members, an attentive and warm host to his loyal guests, a much-loved figure in the travel agent community and overall a legendary man of hospitality for the whole industry. Above all, he was a true friend who will be greatly missed."

Stuart Bowery, general manager of JW Marriott Grosvenor House, who took on the title of Hotelier of the Year from Johnson at Brown's in 2013, said: "He was the epitome of a quintessential Englishman he was immaculately turned out, suave and generous in nature.

"He was loved in the world of luxury hotelkeeping. He made Brown's rich and relevant and was a hotelier who is shoulder-to-shoulder with the other giants [of the industry] - everything he did was executed at the highest level."

Johnson had started his career as an apprentice chef at the Savoy in 1974 under Silvano Trompetto, before moving to Claridge's as assistant banqueting manager.

He would go to undertake management roles at Bishops Table hotel in Farnham, Surrey, the Connaught hotel in London and Cliveden in Buckinghamshire before returning to the Savoy as hotel manager in 1990.

His first general manager role saw him return to Cliveden in 1994 where he helped the hotel receive a host of awards including a Hotel of the Year Catey.

After five years at Cliveden he moved briefly into consultancy before taking a break from operations to undertake the role of publishing director of Condé Nast Johansens, where he remained for five years, before joining Brown's.

It was while at Brown's that Johnson was named Hotelier of the Year.

Andrew McKenzie, managing director of the Vineyard Group, and 2008 Hotelier of the Year, said in 2012: "Stuart is a hoteliers' hotelier. He is highly visible front of house, very in touch with his team and known to his regular customers.

"Over a relatively short period of time he has turned Brown's back into a London institution, which blends a classical hotel approach with a dash of modern style and a real sense of place that some other luxury properties in the capital lack."

If you would like to share your memories and tributes please email

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