At the age of 19, Serena von der Heyde inherited the Georgian House Hotel, a two-star B&B with six staff. The hotel, which had originally been built as a private house in 1851 by her great great grandfather William Chinnery Mitchell, became her passion and over time has been lovingly transformed into a five-star boutique hotel with 60 rooms, split across three stately buildings.
Heyde’s commitment to the family business is undeniable. Keen to ensure the hotel stays modern and fresh, she has implemented a continual programme of revamping rooms, staff development and new initiatives, such as the world famous themed Wizard Chambers. To say Heyde is passionate about the hotel’s community and the growth of the wider industry would be an understatement.
In 2014, she set up the SW1 Hospitality Forum, bringing together local hoteliers in Victoria, London to share experiences and promote the area as a tourism destination. The same year she also won a Master Innholder Scholarship to complete the General Manager’s Program at Cornell University in the US and is an active member of the St. Julian Scholars alumni.
To top it off, she is part of the BHA’s London Committee and is on the People 1st Hospitality Apprenticeship Board. Under her direction and working alongside general manager Adam Rowledge, Georgian House continues to grow and develop in both reputation and experience. The hotel achieved its target of five-star AA status in May 2016, shortly after the hotel finished its three-year £600k design revamp. The refurbishment included a brand new breakfast, drinks and private meeting and event space – the Pimlico Pantry and Cubitt Room – which launched in May 2016 and the unveiling of the last eight individually designed boutique bedrooms in autumn 2015.