Great Fosters is a Grade One listed luxury romantic hotel set amongst 50 acres of stunning gardens and parkland in Egham, Surrey (UK). We caught up with Richard Young who has worked at the property for the past 15 years to find out more.
LM: What defines the luxurious environment of Great Fosters?
RY: I feel the word is rather overrated these days, but for me, luxury is defined by the sheer attention to detail we give to everything at Great Fosters. Whether it’s the coffee we serve, the toiletries in the bedrooms or the menu cards in The Tudor Room – great thought and careful consideration have been given to the smallest of things to ensure we have the best of everything and exceed our guests’ expectations.
LM: What are the principal elements that set the property apart from the competition in Surrey?
RY: At Great Fosters, you come across something that you don’t find anywhere else. The unique nature of the setting and of the house itself, the individual bedrooms and the impeccable service all set the property apart from our competitors. Our aim is to become as self-sufficient as possible, by growing and rearing our own produce and adding to our apiary of bees. This all makes us a very special place.
LM: Who is your typical visitor and where do they come from?
RY: I wouldn’t say we have a ‘typical’ visitor – they are all individual, discerning guests who are seeking something different, whether it’s the historical setting, the breath-taking gardens or the highest standards of service. People travel from all over the world to experience Great Fosters.
LM: What is your view of the performance of the luxury hospitality sector so far in 2013 and how do you see the economy developing going forward?
RY: I am delighted to say we are busier than ever and I feel extremely confident about the future. We continue to invest in the product and like to keep ahead of the competition. Great Fosters is constantly evolving and this year saw the opening of two new restaurants, The Estate Grill and The Tudor Room at Great Fosters, both of which have been extremely well received by guests and local residents alike.
LM: What have been your main career highlights to date?
RY: Two significant highlights of my career were winning the ‘UK Restaurant of the Year’ and achieving a Michelin star at Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter both of which were major achievements, especially in the Cotswolds. I must also mention the huge progress made at Great Fosters since my arrival and the turnaround of the property into the place it is today.
LM: Is there something special about working in a building which is steeped in history as it dates back to the 16th century?
RY: Great Fosters is a very special place to work. I feel a deep moral and personal responsibility to this scheduled historic monument and Grade One listed building. It is certainly not without its challenges though – maintaining a listed building whilst running a luxury hotel certainly throws up its fair share of problems.
LM: Which hotels do you like to visit personally to unwind?
RY: Any property with a golf course nearby is my ideal destination of choice! Thinking further afield, the Coral Reef Club on the west coast of Barbados is the epitome of West Indian elegance.
LM: What luxuries do you enjoy away from Great Fosters?
RY: Golf and wine or should that be wine and golf?? I’m looking forward to a trip to Rioja and Bilbao later this year and currently planning a holiday to Tuscany next year to celebrate a great friend’s “special” birthday………when consumption of some Super Tuscans will be obligatory!
Great Fosters – where and how?
Tel: +44 (0)1784 433822
To make a reservation or to find out more about Great Fosters, visit www.greatfosters.co.uk
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