Mention the likes of Barnsley House or Calcot Manor to anyone with an interest in luxury hotels and you’ll be met with a sea of coos and nods of affirmation. These two boutique hotels have slowly emerged as real front runners of the market in the Cotswolds, and with a fifth property on the cusp of launch, the Calcot Collection shows no signs of abating. Richard Ball is executive chairman of the group and his first taste of Calcot Manor was when he came on board more than 30 years ago in a bid to change the fortunes of the then-struggling country house hotel. Since then he has worked tirelessly to transform the image of the hotel, as well as physically building up the hotel’s footprint to include 35 bedrooms and a luxury spa, and he has succeeded in repositioning Calcot Manor as one of the leading family-focused boutique hotels in the region.
Second property, Barnsley House was acquired in 2009 as a sister hotel to Calcot, but with just 18-bedrooms housed in a more intimate building, Richard soon realised the property was winning favour with a different market who preferred a more exclusive experience.
The Village Pub – just a short walk from Barnsley House – almost fell into the lap of Calcot Collection soon after and Lord Creme Arms was acquired on a leasehold in early 2014.
The group’s fifth hotel is the 16-bed The Painswick, and offers something different to its older siblings. Richard says: “It will be a touch unconventional, more like the ‘naughty child’ of the group, and it’ll target a younger market and hit a lower price point.”
Richard’s mindset for differentiating each property is visionary, and he is just as passionate about the industry now as he was when he started out 30 years’ ago. He has injected a new flavour into the country house hotel market, demonstrating that informality, flexibility and family can all go hand in hand with luxury.
Richard contributes to the industry through membership with Pride of Britain Hotels and as a part of the Master Innholders.
“He has injected a new flavour into the country house hotel market”