Wildsmith Hotels celebrated its tenth year in 2015 and as the two-strong group continued to reach new heights of business growth, owner Andrew Wildsmith decided that the time was right to bring in an operations director.
Cue Tom Lewis, armed with a CV brimming with some of the best names in the business, and Wildsmith had found his winner. From four years as general manager at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, to a stint at Gilpin Lodge Hotel and two years at Swinton Park, Lewis’s experience in luxury hospitality spans over a decade.
He took the position of operations director at Wildsmith Hotels in June 2015 to oversee the group’s two established properties Hipping Hall and The Ryebeck, while the third boutique in the portfolio, Forest Side, was nearing the end of its development and gearing up the launch. And what a splash it made into the market when it opened its doors in February 2016.
The restaurant, headed up by Kevin Tickle, picked up a Michelin star within six months of launch and was dubbed as the Lake District’s most exciting restaurant by the Telegraph, while the bedrooms, designed by James Mackie, exuded a comfort and luxury not seen in the Lakes prior; the Lewis, Wildsmith partnership clearly struck a chord. The complete transformation of Forest Side took 18 months and a total cost of £4m.
Now with Wildsmith Hotels climbing up the ladder to hotel superstardom, for Lewis, it’s all about fine tuning the business to ensure the group’s journey continues upwards.