Julia Hands to run Hand Picked Hotels from Guernsey

Julia Hands, the founder of Hand Picked Hotels, has stepped down as a director of the company following her move to join her husband Guy in Guernsey.

However, she will remain fully involved in running the 20-strong group of four-AA-star hotels after been appointed chairman and chief executive of a new company, Hand Picked Hotels Holdings (Guernsey), an umbrella vehicle for UK-based Hand Picked Hotels and other assets.

Hands told The Caterer: “This move is so that I can spend more time with my husband Guy who has been living and working in Guernsey for the past nine years. I intend to remain fully involved in Hand Picked Hotels.”

Renowned City dealmaker Guy Hands is founder and chairman of private equity company Terra Firma Capital Partners.

Hand Picked Hotels was created in 2001 from a group of properties Julia and Guy Hands acquired from the Virgin and Arcadian portfolios two years earlier.

Initially the hotels were managed by Macdonald Hotels before Hands herself took over the running of the company.

The group continued to trade under the Arcadian name until the Hand Picked Hotels brand was launched in October 2003. With Hands at the helm, the group has been built around a group of former private country houses, mostly dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, with an emphasis on informality and a relaxed, unstuffy atmosphere.

In the group’s most recent set of annual results, lodged at Companies House, for the year to 24 November 2016, like for like revenue increased by 1.8% to £61.1m, while pre-tax loss for the period increased by 52% to £3.5m and EBITDA dropped by 4.7% to £10m.

The Hand Picked Hotels portfolio includes Crathorne Hall hotel, Yarm, North Yorkshire; Ettington Park hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon; and L’Horizon Beach Hotel & Spa, Jersey.

In 2007 Hands was awarded an MBE for services to the hospitality industry.

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