Hand Picked Hotels




01732 471 000


Hand Picked Hotels owns and operates a collection of individual and historic four-star country house hotels characterised by a ‘modern regency’ style. The business was founded in 1999 by financier Guy Hands and his wife Julia but the Hand Picked name was not officially launched until October 2003 after the properties had undergone a major change in culture and a £25m refurbishment programme to 700 of the 800 bedrooms.

Designer John Minshaw was drafted in to retain the hotel’s historic nature while balancing high-tech features with a homely ambience. Each hotel has its own business plan and business mix and managers run each hotel as if it were their own property.

Guy helped Japanese investment bank Nomura build up a vast pub estate and buy the Le Méridien hotel chain from Compass. Julia, a former lawyer, runs Hand Picked Hotels.

The bulk of the current estate stems from the 1999 purchase of seven properties from the Virgin Hotel Collection and 11 Arcadian hotels from Wyndham International (which were managed by Macdonald Hotels until mid-2001).

The group’s meticulous approach and innovative management initiatives have won it a number of accolades. By the time it had won the AA Group Hotel of the Year award (for the second time) in 2012, it had invested more than £100m in the estate.

“We are creating a collection, not a chain,” Julia Hands told Caterer in 2002. “We are trying to make our mark and create a premium collection of hotels in the UK. There are, of course, single five-star country house hotels, but not a collection of more than a dozen.”

Key People:

Chief executive and chairman Julia Hands
Commercial director Ken Arkley
Finance director Stewart Fairs
Operations director Douglas Waddell
Head of sales Martin Terry


Operating Data:

Hand Picked Hotels owns and operates 20 properties in the UK:

Audleys Wood hotel, Basingstoke, Hampshire
Bailbook House hotel, Bath
Brandshatch Place, Fawkham Green, Kent
Buxted Park, Uckfield, Sussex
Chilston Park, Maidstone, Kent
Crathorne Hall, North Yorkshire
Ettington Park, Stratford-upon-Avon
Fawsley Hall hotel, near Silverstone, Northamptonshire
Hendon Hall Hotel, Hendon, London
L’Horizon, St Brelade’s Bay, Jersey
New Hall Hotel & Spa, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham
Norton House, Edinburgh
Nutfield Priory, Redhill, Surrey
Priest House Hotel, Castle Donnington, near Derby
Rhinefield House, New Forest, Hampshire
Rookery Hall, Nantwich, Cheshire
Seiont Manor, Snowdonia
St Pierre Park hotel and golf resort, near St Peter Port, Guernsey
Wood Hall, Wetherby, West Yorkshire
Woodlands Park, Cobham, Surrey


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