Paula Ellis is group general manager of The Retreats Group, which was created by Keith Griffiths, founder of the world’s fifth largest architecture company Aedas, in 2009. The group encompasses Twr Y Felin, Wales’ first contemporary art hotel which opened in April 2015, Roch Castle and Penrhiw, all situated in the picturesque St Davids Peninsula in Pembrokeshire. With more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, Ellis has been an essential part of building the business since she joined the team in October 2014. Owner Griffiths resides full time in Hong Kong, so it’s down to Ellis to steer the ship towards success. And steer is an understatement; she’s catapulted the brand to become one of the Wales’s leading luxury boutique hotels.
Since reorganising the structure of the Retreats Group Ltd, designing and implementing systems that are now the foundation of the group, she’s created a business plan that will result a fully profitable group of luxury hotels within three years. So far in the last two years, she has helped boost the revenue of Retreats Group by 26%, with an increased occupancy across all three properties rising by 15%.
Ellis certainly isn’t all about figures however, as team development is high on her priorities. She invests in her staff and indentifies key stars and young leaders for the future. She has set up an initiative to work with the hospitality and F&B lecturers at the nearby Pembrokeshire college in a bid to inspire youngsters into a career in hospitality, while on a regional level Ellis strives at every opportunity to promote a ‘together is better’ approach among her fellow hoteliers with the aim of putting Wales, St Davids and Pembrokeshire on the map.