Reena Patel interviews Sam Trinder, the beauty and the brain behind two of Richmond’s most upscale yet easy, happening hotspots: Bhuti wellness escape and Bingham Riverhouse Retreat.
LM: When did you set up the Bingham and what was the journey like for you?
ST: My parents bought the Bingham in 1984, when I was just seven years old. It was a dilapidated bed and breakfast back then and we lived in the annexe, so during my childhood, I got to see various aspects of the business in action.
My parents weren’t hoteliers; my mum was a nurse who came to the UK from a poor background in Kenya in 1963 and my English dad was a former property developer. They ran a nursing home business together and made the homes more like hotels, where the residents would have elevenses, afternoon tea and visit hairdressers. My school holidays were spent visiting other hotels and restaurants to get ideas for their nursing homes, so I had hospitality in my blood from an early age.
After I left university, my mother was going to sell the hotel, as it was struggling financially and asked if someone from the family would help my brother to run it. I had been working in a fine dining restaurant whilst at university and picked up the hospitality bug. So, I ditched my London job in a legal PR agency and dived into running the hotel with no previous experience, which was quite a challenge.
After a few years of turning the business around financially, we were able to re-finance and refurbish the Bingham, creating Richmond’s first boutique hotel in 2006. We then re-opened the restaurant, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2010 and we put the spot on the map, with celebrity Hollywood guests turning up to stay.
LM: What are the latest developments to Bingham Riverhouse?
ST: The Bingham’s new incarnation as a Riverhouse has been inspired by the changing needs of our guests and our bucolic location on the river. People are stressed and tired more than ever before and hospitality in a small property like ours offers an antidote to this fast-paced frenetic lifestyle. So as guests step inside the Riverhouse, they feel at home. We have always had a family feel and interior designer Nicola Harding worked with great sensitivity to the building. We wanted to offer an authentic homage to the history of the building, with an up-to-date freshness and natural flow to the use of the house. We also didn’t want to copy other interiors or those of well-known members clubs.
LM: What can guests expect when they visit Bingham Riverhouse?
ST: As part of the Riverhouse flow, there are different rooms where you can eat, drink , meet, relax or work in, without us being too prescriptive about what you do where. The look is more relaxed, and informal. We will have a series of events around, literature, art, music, food and drink re-creating how the house was used in the past by poets.
LM: You also set up Bhuti wellness centre on Richmond Hill, a short walk away from Bingham Riverhouse. Tell us more about it.
ST: I found running the hotel and restaurant very stressful when I first started and always practiced yoga and learnt meditation. This passion grew and I trained as a teacher six years ago, which completely changed my life. I was lucky enough to be able to share this passion through Bhuti, which is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘wellbeing’. I would describe it as an eco-wellbeing escape – a centre for holistic living. It offers 80 classes a week including yoga, meditation, pilates, barre and other fitness classes, organic facials, massage, and complementary therapies including colonic hydrotherapy and a vegan cafe. Guests staying overnight at Bingham Riverhouse can use the member spaces and classes for free.
LM: Where is your favourite place in the world and why?
ST: With my children on or by the sea. If I had to be really specific I would say Lamu – it is an island off the north coast of Kenya, which has a rich history being the gateway from east to west of 14th-century Portuguese/Moorish buildings. There are no cars, only donkeys, and it has empty white sandy beaches like a tropical desert island. It is a magical place.
LM: What is the one luxury item you couldn’t live without and why?
ST: My Apple iPhone. It is a beautiful and incredible piece of technology, when you think about it. We take it or granted but I can pretty much run my life though it.
LM: When you are not busy with running two businesses, what else do you do?
ST: Chanting is a new passion of mine. It is an aspect of yoga called Bhakti yoga (the yoga of devotion) and it opens the heart, clears the mind and connects you with others. I had always been afraid of my singing voice but learning to use it has given me so many benefits and it is incredibly healing and uplifting. I keep things pretty low key. The kids and I walk the dog and we are lucky to live next to the river and Richmond Park where there’s so much beautiful outdoor space. We also love catching a film at the Olympic Cinema in Barnes. I have lived in Richmond for most of my life, so I feel at home here and I know so many people. It’s a place that I am deeply connected to.
61-63 Petersham Road
Richmond TW10 6UT
50 Hill Rise
Richmond TW10 6UB