Calum Milne is managing director of Llangoed Hall, a property he knows inside out. His first experience was from 2003 to 2007, when he managed the hotel for Sir Bernard Ashley, owner of the property with his wife Laura Ashley, who designed all the interiors in her signature style which later became the power house retail and home brand.
Von Essen took over Llangoed Hall in 2010 and following the group’s demise, the hotel battled 18 months of administration before Milne returned in 2012 to buy back his much-loved hotel, with a clear vision to build it back up to its former glory. Armed with a five-year plan, Milne hit the ground running and straight away rolled out a complete refurbishment of the hotel and its grounds.
He barely had a chance to get his feet back under the table before the newly-renovated Llangoed Hall caught the eye of the AA and the hotel bagged its first award – Hotel of the Year for Wales – within its second year since its relaunch.
More awards followed in 2015, and the hotel joined Relais and Chateaux in 2016 for more international clout. Milne is fiercely passionate about his team – “they are my family” – and the hotel’s approach to sustainability is a cut above the rest, with its Let’s Go Green initiative embedded in the culture of Llangoed Hall ever since Milne’s return. He also appointed head chef Nick Brodie, who helped the hotel achieve overwhelming recognition for its cuisine.
Milne now heads up Llangoed Limited, an expanding group of properties that alongside Llangoed Hall operates Sudbury House in Oxfordshire, Poets House in Ely, new addition Hawkstone Park, plus newly-relaunched cosy boutique inn The Swan at Hay, with the view to acquire potentially three more before the year is out. “We have no intention of standing still, as we wish to be leaders in raising the standard of hospitality in the UK.”