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Today’s news in brief – 20/5/24

Hospitality group Heartwood Collection has purchased The Manor Inn in Godalming from Whitbread. The 16-bedroom site will be renamed “The Ragged Robin” and undergo extensive refurbishment to add three more bedrooms, a pub, and expanded dining areas. This renovation will incorporate Heartwood’s style, reflecting the site’s 18th-century origins and its location by the River Wey. Originally a tannery, the building transitioned from a private residence to a hotel in the 1930s. The Ragged Robin, Heartwood’s second pub with rooms in Surrey, is set to open in early 2025, creating 90 jobs. This acquisition is part of Heartwood’s plan to grow to over 60 sites and a £133m turnover by 2027, backed by Alchemy Partners and additional funding from OakNorth Bank.

The Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane has unveiled the Twilight Terrace at Bar Antoine, part of its Pavyllon restaurant. The terrace, designed by multi-Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno, combines Parisian elegance with Mediterranean influences, offering a retreat from 11am to midnight. Features include plush seating, draped canopies, and an outdoor bar in partnership with Moët and Chandon, mimicking the kiosks of the Champs Élysées. The terrace serves champagne, fine wines, cocktails, and gourmet bar bites, making it ideal for both daytime and evening gatherings.

Adam Byatt, chef patron of the Michelin-starred Trinity and culinary director at Brown’s Hotel, has been appointed the new chair of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA). Succeeding John Williams, who becomes president, Byatt brings a rich culinary background, influenced by his early apprenticeship at Claridge’s and subsequent work at The Square. Byatt’s career highlights include the successful launch of his first restaurant, Thyme, and the acclaimed Trinity in Clapham. Other notable changes at RACA include Lisa Goodwin-Allen and Gary Jones as co-deputy chairs, and Mark Flanagan as chair of sustainability. Byatt expressed his honour at leading an institution that has significantly impacted his career.

Generator and Freehand Hotels celebrated a “record” Q1, with EBITDA up 45% from 2023 and a 13% revenue increase. Building on their success in 2023, they attribute their continued growth to their hybrid accommodation model’s profitability. Demand from Gen Z and Millennials, especially during major events, drove an 8% increase in occupancy. Their F&B division saw a 34% profit rise. With properties in major cities worldwide, CEO Alastair Thomann anticipates another year of double-digit profitability growth, praising the company’s cost control amid inflationary pressures.

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